Education plays a crucial part in the nourishment and development of any society. Seeking education is not only important for our society but is mandated on us by our religion.
The Holy Prophet PBUH said “Seek Knowledge even in China,”. This hadith emphasizes the importance that education should have in our lives, we should leave no place untouched to satisfy our quench for knowledge.
The condition of education in Pakistan is quite poor. A country riddle with political and societal problems, education is needed for reform. However, the education which is provided is of low quality. Education is being delivered however just for the sake of degrees; the result is people who have learned nothing except how to memorize effectively. Our people are left without skills and knowledge. The education system of Pakistan has failed the very people which it was supposed to serve.
The responsibility of providing education falls on the Government. According to article 25A of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan:
“Right to education – The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such as may be determined by law.”
A few decades ago, there were only a handful of private schools. They were none for their prestige and their high quality of education. These were proper institutes where children should go to hone their skills and gain knowledge. The main reasons for the shift to private schools for parents were the wide range of facilities for students, a clean environment, and responsive, well-trained and attentive teachers. However, when the Government has neglected its own responsibilities for providing education and indirectly promoted private schools, the amount private schools increased drastically.
There has been an abundance of private schools as of late. Private schools have started popping up everywhere. Previously there were a few houses on every street where children would go for tuition. Now these same houses have been converted to private schools. They’ve been churning out low quality students just the same as public schools. Some food for thought is that, are there enough well-trained and intelligent teachers to properly serve these newly-established schools.
A Research which was conducted in the city of Faisalabad to identify academic activities at the school, to find out facilities/infrastructure available at the schools, determine the extra/co-curriculum activities followed at the school and to pass on recommendations for the improvement of private secondary schools.
The research shows that the age of most schools is less than 10 years, meaning that they have been established quite recently. An increase of 50% in the number of private schools is really remarkable and it is quite evident for the public. Few schools in this research which were not registered to be teaching secondary students. These schools were working outside the boundaries of law.
If we look at the average class size it falls with an acceptance range of maximum 10 students per class, this is due to the numerous numbers of private schools that have been opening up. The time for recess is insufficient in over 84% of private schools. Students need more than 30 minutes of recess to properly the new information learned and they also need time for eating and healthy activities. Fifty two percent of private schools are such that they only have 4 or less teachers who are properly qualified teachers for Grade 9 and 10 and to top it off most of these teachers don’t have professional degrees that would match their respective subjects. These teachers are asked to teach science and mathematics. The qualification for most of the non-science teachers is Bachelors at most and for science teachers Masters. The first thing that we are taught at any institute is that we’re taught how to perform how a task, however, Master students are so confident in their prowess over their subjects that they feel the need of a professional degree superfluous.
The most common teaching method is the old tried method of lecturing without incorporating the use of multimedia and student engagement activities. Due to these methods most of the students are unable to understand most of what the teacher has taught in the lesson. Students’ understanding is at an all time low. The teachers are unable to properly tailor their courses according to wide and diverse range of students they cater to. The teachers use the same methods for all students no matter their personal preferences or talents.
The change in technology is evident by the widespread use of white boards instead of previously used outdated black boards. However, the current landscape of technology has advanced further and most international classrooms are equipped with multimedia facilities. These facilities would help students to better grasp the content of the lesson and better understand the concept which is being taught. It provides a way for the students to visualize the study matter.
How can we plan schools to properly cater to students when over 60% of schools are being used both as a home and also serve part time as a school? These schools have small, congested and poorly lit class rooms. These classrooms should not be used for classes with more than 10 students. Classrooms should be a nourishing environment in comparison to what we see in offices and factories. They should be surrounded by beautiful and pleasant scenery, gardens and plants.
It is the responsibility of the Government to keep checks and balances on these private schools; however, over 52% of private schools have not been visited by an inspector in the calendar year. This can lead to a rapid decline in the quality of education and oversight is healthy for growth and development.
The color green plays a very important part in providing us with mental peace and a study in Spain has conducted that the color green was connected to enhanced brain development in students. The majority of schools surveyed did not have gardens and the few that did have gardens were very small and not properly maintained. In addition, 68% of schools don’t have playgrounds, how can we expect students to properly thrive in these conditions? 64% of schools are equipped with libraries but these libraries are not open to the students and most of times the libraries are based in the house’s kitchen. Only 18% of schools had extra and co-curricular activities, they also don’t have academic and sports teams. These activities are necessary for the proper development of students; they should be well versed in practical matters.
Private schools are not able to deliver on the promises that they make to the parents and students. Their quality has been declining as the number of schools has increased. These schools were previously renowned for their high quality of education but today there are only a handful of schools that we can say do justice to their students. What we need to focus on is the quality of education not the quantity of schools.
Analysis by Muhammad Arslan Sohail and Dr. Shoukat Ali (University Of Agriculture Faisalabad)
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