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Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Ebbing Standard of Education in Pakistan

Do you wonder why we cannot manage to create noble laureates, prominent economists, computer scientists, etc who can work for the prosperity of the country as Israel and some other countries have managed to create all of them? To answer, it is the poor quality of our education that is generating incapable and unskilled masses that cannot contribute to the well-being of the country.

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While other countries are working on technology, innovation, and different modern projects, making their country progressive with modern technologies, Pakistan is still generating graduates with a low level of creativity and low chances of getting employed which does not guarantee them a job or they are incapable to engineer any project that can earn them their living etc. Resultantly, they cannot become financially self-sufficient and they cannot contribute to the well-being of the country. Besides, Pakistan’s literacy rate is 62.3 which means that about 60 million population in the country is illiterate due to lack of education

An estimated 22.8 million children aged between 5 and 16 are out-of-school, despite article 25A of the constitution of Pakistan obliging the government to provide free and compulsory education to children of age 5 to 16 years. However, the students, who are getting an education, are not getting that standard education. Consequently, we do not have any prominent local graduated economists, computer scientists, political scientists, scientists, etc who can outsmart our international counterparts.

Read more: Major Issues in Education Today and How to Solve Them

Understanding the matter better

With 2.83 percent of the world population, we have only two noble laureates (Dr. Abdus Salam in Physics and Malala Yousafzai in Peace), and no other noble laureate in any field be it chemistry, physics, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. On the other side, Israel with 0.2 per cent population of the world has 20 percent of the noble laureates in different fields. She has advanced in modern technology. She uses modern machinery for agriculture, and for executing different works.

Do you wonder why we cannot manage to create noble laureates, prominent economists, computer scientists etc who can work for the prosperity of country as Israel and some other countries have managed to create all of them? To answer, it is poor quality of our education that is generating incapable and unskilled masses that cannot contribute to the well-being of the country.

Since the inception of Pakistan, we do not have quality education to run in the race of the global community.

There are some reasons behind this poor educational quality

Low budget for the education sector is discussed widely and it is indubitably a matter of great concern that government must pay heed to but there are several other reasons that I am going to highlight in this article.

Firstly, it is an outdated syllabus. We have always remained deprived of the up-to-date syllabus that must match the trend of the developing world. Presently, when the world knows the significance of technology in each and every field and chasing it, we have overlooked modern technology. If universities are providing degrees in technology, regretfully, the quality of education that is being provided is so low that the students cannot have innovative ideas regarding their mastering field. If some students succeed in coming up some innovative ideas, they lack the resources to accomplish them. Apart from this, our school and college syllabuses are outdated too, similarly, they do not match international standards so they remain far behind in the international arena of educational contests. Most of our syllabus is based on theory.

Luckily, we have some practical work but about 60 to 70 percent of educational institutes do not have access to types of equipment for performing practicals. Sorrowfully, we do not prefer logical thinking, critical thinking, advanced mathematics, advanced science, etc at the secondary education level as Israel has preferred, and Israelis by reaching university outmatch their American counterparts because their syllabus is updated as per the need of the hour.

Read more: Pakistani Ulema in Kabul to discuss peace and education cooperation

Secondly, unskilled and untrained teachers, possess old and traditional teaching methods. A teacher plays a key role in the learning process of a student. But, in Pakistan, hardly, our teachers apply modern methods for teaching. Roughly 60 per cent of institutes have traditional teaching methods where teachers write answers of questions on the board and students copy. They are not encouraged to search out the answers from the textbook so that they can develop their reading skills, writing skills and presentation skills.

Besides, teachers’ behavior is found rude or inappropriate due to some reasons such as incompetence, communication gap and incapability to create a learning environment. Incompetent in terms of knowledge or teaching style, who cannot assimilate the mental capacities of students so become inapt to educate them. Also, the communication gap between teachers and students is a matter of concern. Sometimes teachers cannot communicate appropriately with the students and the rest of the time students. And, they remain unable to create a learning environment due to reasons like too much strength of students in one classroom whereas according to America’s National Education Association the ideal classroom strength is 15 students.

A size of 30-40 students in a classroom is also considered a normal size

But, in our schools, the strength exceeds 100 or 50 at least, which is impossible for a teacher to pay one-on-one attention to students. Consequently, they cannot learn attentively, only students with much strive to manage to learn somewhat. Also, old and traditional teaching methods jade students to learn without any creative or fun-based activity.

For these reasons, students’ learning capabilities are adversely impacted. They are discovered to be unmotivated to study. Herbart verbalised that a student’s interests influence their learning outcomes. In the case of an unmotivated and jaded student, they cannot perform extraordinarily and will remain dull and uncreative. As a consequence, they experience stress as well. For stress, a study was conducted to gauge what kind of students can tackle this properly. The study showed that students with the big five personality traits managed to control stress well and secure better grades. The big five personality trait models consist of agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, openness to experience, and emotional stability.

Thirdly, poor supervision also contributes to the ebbing standard of education. Supervision can be of parents, institute administration, and teachers. Institute administration and teachers are rarely held accountable for their performance at the institute, and they are sometimes unsupportive of students. Aside from that, a large number of parents pay little or no attention to their children’s performance and rarely visit the school to inquire about their children’s performance. However, Lev Vygotsky, in his theory of the zone of proximal development, mentions that students with support and cooperation can perform better in comparison with students who are not supported or aided.

Read more: Google team visits Pakistan to revolutionize education

Lastly, a faulty examination system is a contributor to declining standard too. In Pakistan, the purpose behind examination is to assess the memory of students rather than their intelligence. So, crammers secure good marks and intelligent students cannot perform well in memorizing long answers. In last crammers’ knowledge do not contribute to their well-being even. Also, we have a school-based examination system which does not pave way for better results. And, a professor in South Africa had well said that “Collapsing any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long-range missiles. It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations.” In interiors of the country, especially in Sindh and Balochistan copy in board examinations is common.

To counter educational issues, not only schools but also parents have to contribute. To make a practical and applied syllabus, the government should compare it to the international level and train teachers as per international standards. Also, parents must train their children for the big race. Government and parents can follow Jean Piaget’s stages of cognitive development model to train children from its childhood. The model comprises of four stages: 1) Sensorimotor, which lasts from birth to 2 years, in this stage a child learn through seeing, touching etc. 2) preoperational, which lasts from 3 years to 7 years, at this stage a child engages in symbols and manipulate symbols. So, they should be taught through symbols at this stage. 3) Concrete operational, which lasts from 8 to 11 years, at this stage child thinks logically.

So, the syllabus must contain some lessons in which a child can learn logically. 4) Formal operational, which lasts from 12 to adult, at this stage a child formulate a hypothesis and systematically arrives at the answer to a question. Thereby, the syllabus should contain some lessons accordingly. However, some psychologists differ in opinion saying that each child has a different mental capacity over time, that’s why the government should ascertain a middle way to make a syllabus but the addition of logical and critical thinking starting in 6 or 7 grade is a must.

The government should focus on modern teaching methods for teachers and should conduct workshops for teachers.

Teachers’ training is equally significant for ameliorating the education system

Besides, as per John Dewey’s words, schools should focus on students rather than on subjects. Schools should teach as per the learning capacity of a student, not as per the subject constraints. Similarly, parents should set expectations based on the student’s ability and continue to encourage them so that they can find the motivation to learn.

Read more: Reforming the higher education of Balochistan

The government should also pay attention to the examination standards of the schools. Exam papers should be free of errors and encouraging for students. Teachers must be taught regarding preparing question papers and additional checking is essential by the examination head. The government should take constructive measures to control copying in examinations.

To encapsulate, the government should take concrete measures to resolve issues of démodé syllabus, untrained teachers, poor supervision, and the cheapo examination system so that our students can take an active part in the international arena of education and can successfully outsmart their counterparts.



The writer is a freelance columnist based in Karachi. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space