Re-schooling of schools in Pakistan — myth and reality

Students attend a class at a government-run school in Lahore, Pakistan.–File photo

It is a herculean task indeed to write about the system you are a product of. I tried myself to persuade myself to pen down my personal thoughts for years and today is the first day, at last I am taking the plunge. The gods might get angry as I am going to swim against the current.

In education, they say, there are four important elements that are Teacher, student, syllabi and school (system of education). At first I will share my views about the teacher. In the olden days, teachers were considered the torch bearers of the nation. Those days are faded and now they are considered as managers, facilitators and so on. There used to be the days when teachers’ premium responsibility was to be a role model and we, the generation of early 80s to late 90s, still nourish the memories of such shining characters. Albeit, nowadays, teachers are behaving like mere traders who consider their students mere consumers or customers and we all know traders worry about their profits rather than prophets.

I still remember my teachers at a government school. They used to take zero periods and all students were bound to attend these classes, which were not part of the official timetables. Such classes were an extra burden on teachers; nonetheless, they willingly used to take such classes for the sole benefit of their pupils. High school students of my generation, who mostly studied at government schools, had many such teachers. One of my colleagues usually tells many stories of his teachers who used to teach him extra classes at his home without taking any financial benefits.

I still remember, our high school teachers who used to teach students just a night before the final board exams. They used to teach the students for the whole night and students used to come back after the exam to discuss the answers they had written in the exam. One of my teachers, when I had almost left my studies for I had joined an institute as a teacher, came to me and forcefully made me study to be prepared for the final university exam. Today, I am able to do what I am doing only because of such teachers.

Such teachers can be found even today. They are definitely there but unfortunately they were overshadowed by the McDonald system we have implemented in our schools especially. I believe all my class fellows still remember names of their primary schoolteachers.

Why do we still have them in our minds? Why are we not able to get rid of their memories and selfless attitude?

The answer is simple because they were our teachers then and they are teaching us now in a way. They did not let us go away; they are guiding us even today. They taught us in the classrooms and they are teaching us now in our lives how to solve the riddles of life. Teachers don’t leave their students. If they leave you, they are not teachers. If you forget your teachers, you have never been their students at all. And if teachers forget you, means they were pseuds.

The crux of the matter is we are lacking such personalities in our schools at present and as a result we are not producing good human beings for our society. Rather, we are producing hollow men as T. S. Eliot rightly called us.

Honestly, we need to question our attitude towards our teachers. What are our intentions? What do we want to have for our future generation? Bondmen or Masters?

Take care of your teachers; they will take care of the entire society. How can we have such teachers? The answer is simple. Find learned people who have passion to teach. Give them liberty to teach to reach certain prescribed objectives. Take care of their bellies so that they can take care of the future brains of the society. Last but not least, give them the due respect, you will be respected in the world.

You cannot have Churchill, if you don’t have Mr. Somervell.

I give the example of a teacher of a society that we feel proud of following (by the way, their own system is on ventilator now). Islamic educational history, if you like to know, is surfeit of such teachers.

The writer is an educationist and teaches at a public sector university in Oman.

19 thoughts on “Re-schooling of schools in Pakistan — myth and reality

  1. As a teacher I myself see the same scenario in current education system. But again the govt has to take initiatives to provide teachers with basis necessities and give them confidence. So they can educate and train our future generation in positive way.

  2. Excellent portrait of current educational system. I’m pretty agree with your concern on reputation and dignity of teachers being overlayed by the system. I think the major cause is having various syllabi, multi school system and so called “class status”.
    Again, thank you for writing such an amazing eye-opening article.
    Stay blessed.
    ANNU

  3. The post is nothing but a past reality which is true reflection.
    May ALLAH bless all such teachers in this world and the world herein after.

  4. Fully agree with all points mentioned…
    I would like to request you to pen about strategies how to revise/implement same system now.

  5. Dear editor,
    The article ‘Re-schooling of schools in Pakistan — myth and reality’ is an eye-opener in these times when education is no more the noble profession that it used to be. I highly appreciate the writer for this bold writing.

  6. All u hv written is 💯 right… Teacher is the golden asset of our society…bt sadly if u noticed the government institution ,all those teachers r teaching who don’t even know about current syllabus ..I wish ,new generation should get a chance to evaluate their skills bt In our country like pakistan ,it is not easy to get a job nd if v talk about govt teaching job,thn u hv to wait for a whole life ….may ALMIGHTY bless us nd our country…

  7. 2nd Aijz Mohid Khan
    The article ‘Re-schooling of schools in Pakistan — myth and reality’ is an eye-opener in these times when education is no more the noble profession that it used to be. I highly appreciate the writer for this bold writing.

  8. I would like to add a point here. teachers are given a target to complete the syllabus no matter what. If you see all the schools have the same common target “to complete the syllabus” . The end result is that children do not get time to absorb the knowledge as a result parents have to hire a private teacher for their wards. Many a times the private teacher is the same teacher whose sole goal is to complete the syllabus in the school but when it is private teaching, he takes a personal interest. Irony!

  9. Excellent piece of writing about teachers. Infact, a
    bold step to spread the truth of current situation in our schools. Who should be responsible for this gap? Who should take the step to bring back the status of teachers?. I think we all are equally responsible.
    I like the way you pointed out the issue as well as proposed a solution which can be implemented easily, if authorities want.
    Stay blessed.

  10. It is reality that my brother Yasir Ahmad has deep thought about every aspect of students and educaton. I stongly apreciate his artical.

  11. I can’t be more agree that the influence and impact of good teachers can’t be erased.
    We all know it takes a village to raise a child. So, the importance of a teacher simply can’t be neglected. As that kind of laxity will eventually reap multiplied negligence and egocentric behaviors in society in return. Teachers role in social and spirtual behavior development even in cognitive development as well simply can’t be replaced keeping just material profits propensity upfront. I must end with quote “Students don’t care how much a teacher knows until  they know how much he/she cares.”

  12. I agree that the influence and impact of good teachers can’t be erased.
    We all know it takes a village to raise a child. So, the importance of a teacher simply can’t be neglected. As that kind of laxity will eventually reap multiplied negligence and egocentric behaviors in society in return. Teachers role in social and spirtual behavior development even in cognitive development as well simply can’t be replaced keeping just material profits propensity upfront. I must end with quote “Students don’t care how much a teacher knows until  they know how much he/she cares.”

  13. Yep, the influence and impact of good teachers can’t be erased.
    So, the importance of a teacher simply can’t be neglected. As that kind of societal laxity eventually reaps egocentric behaviors in return. Teachers role in social and spirtual behavior development even in cognitive development as well simply must not be neglected. I must end with quote “Students don’t care how much a teacher knows until  they know how much he/she cares.”

  14. Thanks, the influence and impact of good teachers can’t be erased.
    So, the importance of a teacher simply can’t be neglected. As that kind of societal laxity eventually reaps egocentric behaviors in return. Teachers role in social and spirtual behavior development even in cognitive development as well simply must not be neglected. I must end with quote “Students don’t care how much a teacher knows until  they know how much he/she cares.”

  15. p, the influence and impact of good teachers can’t be erased.
    So, the importance of a teacher simply can’t be neglected. As that kind of societal laxness eventually would develop egocentric behaviors among students in return. Teachers role in social and spirtual behavior development even in cognitive development as well simply must not be neglected. I must end with quote “Students don’t care how much a teacher knows until  they know how much he/she cares.”

  16. In current times, one of the best businesses in our nation is investing in education sector unfortunately. Since sole purpose of investor is ROI, other things are irrelevant for him. This is what exactly is happening. Lucrative huge buildings, irrelevant extracurricular activities and adherence to Wester system is what has become a benchmark of institutions. Youth’s future is not a priority and is at stake now. I really appreciate how beautifully writer has portrayed the true picture of our system. It must be a voice of every person who, like writer, has witnessed an era of 80’s and 90’s himself. Moreover, writer is part of modern system as well. Thankfully someone has addressed this rather ignored but most vital issue directly connected with prosperity of our nation. Teachers with passion to teach is a need of an hour and only a good teacher can understand it. Good luck. Keep raising voice like this.

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