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August 2, 2015

Call for much-needed intervention to train schoolteachers


August 2, 2015

Eminent educationist Mehtab Akbar Rashidi had heard the chief minister say in his budget speech that English-medium schools will be established in Sindh.
However, she failed to understand what he meant since one could hardly find teachers in the impoverished province who could speak English with the correct pronunciation. She said a lot of intervention was required from the education department to bring about a change in society.
Rashidi made the observation at a seminar organised by a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation (NGO) Management and Development Foundation (MDF) on Thursday afternoon.
She said MDF’s endeavour was to unleash the potential and creativity of students and bring about a change in teaching methods. She pointed out that in English-medium schools, students were already aware of the teaching methods and concepts but it went to the credit of MDF to impart such concepts in public schools through rigorous methods.
She said the question arose over the capabilities of teachers imparting knowledge to ordinary students in public schools. “How do we ensure continuity of standard education since more than often, well-educated teachers move to other organisations and more lucrative jobs,” she said. “If the education department is serious, it can do a great deal regarding capacity building of teachers and preparing master trainers.”
Referring to the MDF’s aim of reaching 42,000 schools in Sindh and a large number of teachers, she said it was a lofty task.
Referring to the documentary that was screened earlier she commented she saw students in shabby dresses while the teachers were nicely dressed.
Another eminent educationist, Dr Suleman Sheikh, said education needed to be defined and we should be aware of what was being delivered as compared to what were the expectations from the child. He said the mother tongue was the best medium for imparting education at elementary level, if we were really

interested in improving literacy rate.
He recalled that when he was a student, text books of the Bombay (now Mumbai) Text Book Board used to recommended and Sindhi and Arabic were also taught as languages, besides science and mathematics.
“We have been experimenting in the domain of education for the past 20 years and have yet to evolve a proper workable module,” he regretted. “If you do not give the students a level playing field, I see a bleak future for them in the country.”
Shafqat Jamote said the standard of education in Sindh had deteriorated to the extent that even graduates failed to get a job.
Mustafa Rajpar lauded the initiative of MDF and said it was encouraging to see a teachers’ manual. He said students who failed to learn at the elementary level fell behind in all other areas of cognitive development.
He explained that the goal of MDF was to promote better teaching, learning and reading skills at elementary level through interactive and participatory learning resource material.
He said 81 teachers have received training about the teaching methodology and the teachers’ manuals of MDF for English and Mathematics were in accordance with National Curriculum Policy of 2006 and Sindh Textbook Board Syllabus 2014. He said manuals have been translated in Sindhi and Urdu so the teachers in rural and urban Sindh also understand them properly.

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