Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

The standard of education of a country profoundly depends on the quality of its teachers. The better the teachers, the better the quality of education. It implies, to reform the quality of education, we must concentrate on teacher education. Unfortunately, the quality of teacher education in Pakistan has long been suffering due to the lack of political commitment, no resource allocation and unsophisticated institutions.  The school education is a sector where a majority of people fall by accident or just for a job security. Sadly, the ratio of passionate teachers is meagre in the system. Well, how people fall in the field isn’t a big concern, but how does the system turn these unskilled and unmotivated people into passionate and resourceful teachers, is to be born upon. The issue of turning laypeople into teachers is indeed a perilous enterprise and crowning it up. There are insufficient quality teacher education institutes which would support the government if it is obliged to train teachers.

 According to Pakistan Education Statistics (2016-2017), there are 213 teacher training institutes for around 730,000, teachers, of which 157 are public sector, and 56 are in the private sector. This indicates that each institute gets 3427 teachers to share per year. The public managed teacher training institutes get their annual budget from their respective provincial governments, in contrast, the private sector always strives for its survival. Most of the public sector institutes teach defined courses such as M. Ed & B. Ed to the in-service and preservice teachers.  Teachers opt for the courses to get incentified, yet, it hardly gauges the effectiveness, efficiency and the relevance of these courses. In the education sector, it is believed that teaching methods do not change, neither the content. As a result, traditional approaches are ligimtized. Similarly, the absence of backstopping and follow-up mechanism after training, do not make the training effective.

 To grab the issue of effectiveness, some provincial governments found a middle ground by a choosing a public-private partnership. Intervening in such difficult situation, where individual participation of the reform process is on voluntary bases. Most of the staff know that the partner organization cannot make them work if they do not want to.

There is a prevailing misleading perception that professional development of teachers is n one-time event. A teacher ceases to learn, also ceases to be a teacher.   Teacher education a continuous process by which a teacher should keep updating his/her knowledge, attitude and skills till the time a teacher is in the profession. Analogically, the carpenter knows the rule of productivity, so he spends some time of the day in sharpening his saw. The same rule applies to all other professions then why teaching is an exception?  Teachers have to keep on sharpening their tool to make themselves relevant to teaching the students of 21st-century children.   Is not it interesting that the PTI government introduced one curriculum with the informed consent of the provincial government but the teachers are oriented on it. When will our education gurus understand that curriculums are not merely made to develop textbooks, rather it is an essential tool of an individual teacher.

However, here are some exceptional quality teacher education institutes which include but not limited to; The Aga Khan University-Institute for Educational Development, Ali Institute, Directorate of Staff Development (DSD) Notradam, Hamdard, IBA-Sukkhur, and SIPD-Rashidabad, which believes in quality by sharing contemporary pedagogy with the teachers. Such institutions employ updated and quality resources, uphold excellence but are not in the reach of every motivated teacher. It is also a fact that graduated university students, in-service teachers do not pay from their pockets to get an educational degree or go through a refresher course to upgrade their competencies. Therefore, this sector needs to be subsidized by the respective federal and provincial governments.

If we want to improve the quality of education in the country we need to produce quality teachers. To do so, we need better teacher education institutions. There should be a regulatory authority under the Higher Education Commission (HEC) that keeps a close eye on the quality of these institutes. There should be a backstopping mechanism for all the course that is long or short. Once in a while, all courses including M.Ed and B.Ed should be studied for its effectiveness and course corrections should be done. All teacher education institutions irrespective their affiliation to the public and private should be subsidized. It should be made sure that all teachers go through some kind of mandatory teacher education courses at least once a year. Orienting teachers on curriculum is at the heart of all teacher education endeavor so all teachers should be taken through the one curriculum documents.

By Shagufta Shazadi

The writer is Editor zeroperiod and Specialist to Educational Assessment Monitoring & Evaluation. She can be reached at shagu.skm@gmail.com

4 thoughts on “Are we catching up with the requirement of producing teachers for 21st-century children?”
  1. Some allocation from the subsidy for follow up as well. As we know, no follow and overseeing made teacher education programs less effective. Further, there should be Coordination among teacher training institutions for learning from one another..

  2. Yes, we need to work on both resource allocation for Countinous professional development and develop a quality mechinsim for it.

    1. Absolutely agreed with your all points.
      There must be a regulatory authority that closely monitor teachers training and their performance throughout the year.

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