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It’s The Time to Redesign Education in Pakistan in Global Context

It’s The Time to Redesign Education in Pakistan in Global Context
It’s The Time to Redesign Education in Pakistan in Global Context

Every morning, we rise to the new face of the world. The stunning advancement in technology and its integration into our lives have completely changed the way we used to look at the life and the ways to live it!

 Gone are the days when the Kings of the era used to travel at the back of the elephants and take pride in experiencing the most magnificent ride of the time. Quite contrary to that, a common man these days can book a luxurious vehicle for as less as PRs .200/only and enjoy a shock less and weather- friendly ride.

Machines and robots have taken and are taking over the world. Countless professions have gone obsolete and many are on the way. 

Our homes have been revamped with machines instead of hands-on tools. Offices have gotten updated with the machines, laptops, token operators, and so on. Almost everything and every department has changed and has got a new model of operation. If not, the education is the thing that didn’t or couldn’t be changed as per the need of the hour. Or to be more precise, we can say that it failed to adapt to the 21st century challenges. Especially in Pakistan, 21st century classrooms are no more different than 18th century classrooms. The same hard and fast classroom rules, the same soldier- like discipline, the same robotic appearance of the teacher. Replacement of a chalkboard with a marker one does not denote any change neither does its functionality. Exactly like the ones in centuries-back classrooms, they are being used to write the content for the students to copy in their notebooks and rote learn!!

When the sun of the new century has dawned with an unpredictable face when an epidemic like COVID-19 has introduced to quite a new face of the life, why we are reluctant to align our education with 21st– century needs?

Here are the Top 10 Recommendations to redesign the education system in Pakistan in the global contest.

1. The Classroom:

The word “classroom” seems to be extinct from the face of the earth in near future. The word “classroom” is being replicated in the world with a firm and doubtless belief that LEARNING can happen “anywhere” and at “anytime”. Instead of huge buildings that are hard to manage when it comes to the financial implications, we should launch several of mini learning stations. They should be launched at the easy access of the learners and the facilitators.

2. Teachers into Facilitators:

Terms have a great impact on our set of beliefs. A simple switch from “Teachers” to “Facilitators” will make a psychological change in the behavior of the teachers. They will start seeing themselves in the role of the “facilitators” instead of the “teachers” which is more linked to the authoritative role. They should understand that they are not the only source of information and that the transmission of knowledge is not their only responsibility now. Guiding students to exploit, utilize, validate, interpret, and implement information is way more important.

3. Notebooks:

Having subject-wise notebooks and keeping on filling them with the copied material is the practice that should be buried at its earliest. Common writing journals supported with lots of lots graphic organizers to track and retain learning should be introduced and the students should be provoked to write on their own at different stages of the instruction. The current practice of the use of notebooks and creating pressure of keeping them complete is a big hurdle to students’ opportunities to learn creative writing or the power of self-expression.

4. Medium of Instruction:

We have done too much of the practical on the medium of instruction and have succeeded none. Why? We have learners from a variety of social set up, environments and exposure. Why don’t we leave this decision up to the school leadership or the SMC?  They not only better understand the level and the need of the learners but also know the language proficiency of the available teachers and customize the medium of Instruction accordingly.

There is no point in forcing a student residing in Islamabad to get instructions in Urdu while he is more comfortable with and exposed to English.

5. School Leadership:

Forward-thinking and up-to-date leadership should be taken on board so that the school leaders can envision the emerging need for change in our approaches to teaching and learning. Making myself even bolder and clearer will go like this: “The old-fashioned and the traditional school leaders would never accept the mobility and the learning noise of a student-centered classroom.” He/ She would rather prefer a quiet classroom even though it’s a dead classroom when it comes to the students’ engagement in the process of learning.

6. Approaches to Learning:

It’s high time to rethink education when it comes to our approaches to teaching and learning. The whole of our education system stands on the bottom line of learning i.e. reproducing the same lines of information when asked. The question is that what is the functionality of that knowledge when it’s never seen in action in the real life? Starting from the lessons taken in an Islamic Studies class to the ones delivered in the Mathematics class, no real-life connection is found!! Students are not being offered with the situations where they can get back to the classroom lessons and connect them to real life.  Instead of consuming time in note-taking and memorizing, the learners should be engaged in the inquiry process and finding facts for themselves. This will help them with anticipating the problems, suggesting & devising recommendations, and coming up with solutions. This learning process will turn them into effective Communicators, responsible citizens, and successful individuals.

7. Content:

Most of the content being taught at our schools is just outdated and no more needed or it’s being handled just the wrong way!

What’s the point in making students write letters for certain occasions and memorize thus wasting their energies and time? No one in this century is found writing letters nor does the need seem to be.

Think about the way we are teaching and assessing Computer Studies. The computer should be all about learning its usage. Instead of memorizing the history and the developments in computers, the students should be taught and assessed through project-based learning. They should be trained to plan and execute successful projects and should be assessed against the same skill. 

8. Inclusion in Schools:

A large number of individual talents is going waste because of the unavailability of “inclusive schools” when we need more of them. Students with minor deficiencies like some problems in hearing, sight, physical disabilities, speech/auditory problems, autism, etc. are either kept home or sent to special schools. Both of the practices result in the waste of those individuals who can equally excel in the mainstream. If not inclusive schools, at least inclusive departments should be launched in every school. The private sector should also be convinced to start inclusive departments so that more students can get admitted to the mainstream schools.

9. Accept and Value the Existence of Private Schools:

Referring back to Point#1, where it has been discussed that we need more and more learning stations, private schools can also be seen in that scenario. The private sector is doing and has done a lot when it comes to its role in promoting education in Pakistan. Instead of creating a hate and competition environment against the private schools, Govt. should conduct a survey to spot potential schools and the school principals/owners. They should start getting special support from the Govt. in terms of continuous professional development of the staff (CPD), sharing the large grounds of the Govt. schools for sports gala, participation in the Govt. organized competitions, and permission to use the labs for practical. Due to limited resources, private schools generally fail to provide their students with these facilities.

Quite a handsome number of private school owners and directors/principals have a large scale exposure in the field of education. Taking them on board at the times of policy making, research & development, assessment design, marking system, and professional development can add an undeniable value to the education system.

10. Skill Development Right from the School Age:

Information or content is no more an issue in this era. A single click will bring plenty of information to your table. But utilizing that information and interpreting it for problem-solving is something of a great value. Instead of wasting our talent in cramming and marks scoring, we should be introducing skill-based curriculum right from the school age. Making “freelancing” a part of the curriculum will not be insane. Top most of the 21st century skills:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication Skill

should be incorporated into the curriculum so that we get the individuals who are ready to face the challenges of the ever-changing world.

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