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Tuesday February 27, 2024

A neglected sector

April 25, 2023

Education is a fundamental human right that plays a critical role in personal and societal development. It is essential for individuals to reach their full potential and for societies to thrive and grow.

At the personal level, education helps individuals acquire knowledge and skills that are essential for their individual development. It provides opportunities to learn about different fields of study, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and develop a better understanding of the world around them.

It also helps individuals learn about different cultures and perspectives, and develop a greater appreciation for diversity. Education empowers individuals by providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their lives. This can lead to greater personal autonomy and a sense of control over one’s destiny.

Education is also linked to improved health outcomes. Individuals with higher levels of education are more likely to adopt healthy behaviours, access healthcare services, and have healthier lives. Teaching institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities are the basic units for providing education, and they play a crucial role in providing education by designing and delivering curriculums, facilitating learning, assessing progress, providing student support, and promoting professional development.

What are the reasons that teaching institutions in Pakistan are not performing as well as they should?

If one needs to rank the reasons, the lack of funding for teaching institutions in Pakistan stands first, which makes it difficult for them to provide the resources and facilities necessary for effective learning. Many teaching institutions also lack the infrastructure necessary to support quality education and suffer from inadequate classrooms, outdated equipment, and insufficient technology.

The curriculum taught in these institutes may not be on par with international standards, which results in a subpar education for students. The lack of qualified and experienced faculty members can lead to poor quality of education, low motivation among students, and poor academic results. Teachers often earn low salaries leading to a lack of motivation and dedication in the classroom.

Political instability in Pakistan also impacts the education system, making it difficult for teaching institutions to function properly. Administrative interference is another factor that negatively impacts the quality of education provided by these institutions, limits their autonomy, and leads to mismanagement and budget cuts. Addressing these issues requires a coordinated effort from all stakeholders, including management, faculty, students, parents, and the community.

At the governmental level, a strong commitment to supporting the independence of teaching institutions and prioritizing teaching goals over political interests is the need of the hour.

What is needed to be done? Although improving teaching institutions in Pakistan is a challenging task that requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders. The government should increase funding for education and allocate more resources to improve infrastructure, recruit more qualified teachers, and provide better learning materials.

Authorities should design teacher training programmes to help teachers improve their skills and knowledge in teaching methods, subject matter, and classroom management. Promoting digital literacy among students and teachers is crucial to improving teaching institutions. Now is the time to encourage the use of digital technology as it can enhance the quality of education in institutes.

Teaching institutions should focus on developing a student-centred curriculum that promotes critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity. In order to encourage more students to attend school and pursue higher education, scholarships and financial aid programmes should be made available to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Teaching institutions should provide students with safe and comfortable learning environments, including well-equipped classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and other facilities.

Investing in teaching institutions can bring many benefits to the country. It can lead to a more educated workforce, which can contribute to economic growth and development in the country. It can help reduce poverty by increasing opportunities for employment and income generation, as well as promoting social mobility.

It can also promote social cohesion and reduce inequality by promoting tolerance, respect for diversity, and understanding of different cultures and beliefs. It can stimulate innovation and technological advancement by producing a skilled workforce capable of developing new ideas and practices.

Improvements in this sector are essential for Pakistan as they can contribute to the overall development of the country. The demand for increasing the budget for teaching institutions in Pakistan is growing as experts recognize the critical role that education plays in the country’s development. Increasing the budget for teaching institutions is essential for improving the quality of education, attracting qualified teachers, enhancing technology, providing financial aid, and promoting research and development.

The writer is an assistant professor at the Institute of Public Health,

Lahore. He can be reached at: uzair@hsa.edu.pk