Pakistani public education facing multiple problems
Islamabad, The CEO and founding director Children’s Global Network Pakistan and member Pakistan Education Task Force (PETF) hosted a dinner in honor of Unicef’s child friendly schools experts, Sheldon Shaeffer; Inspector General, Ministry of Education Thailand, Benjalug Namfa; Managing Director Braillo, Norway, Terje Watterdal and Program Officer and Budi Hermawan, Resource Teacher, Bandung Resource Centre for Inclusive and Special Needs Education, Indonesia.
This group of international experts was in Pakistan to share successful intervention in their respective countries. The Pakistani public education system is overwhelmed by multiple issues such as failure, teacher absenteeism, and low learning outcomes. The only way ahead is to have more child friendly schools on principles of inclusiveness, child-centeredness and democratic participation.
The dinner was attended by men and women associated with education in some way or another, Senior Social Development Adviser, Department for International Development, UK AID, Helen Appleton; Counselor Development and Head of Aid, CIDA, Rhonda Gossen-Ehsani; MNA and Chairperson Task Force on Female Teacher Training, Punjab, Saira Afzal Tarrar; Secretary Education Balochistan, Mohammad Saqib Aziz; Advisor to World Bank, John Wall; Representative Federal Ministry of Education, Shaigan Shareef; Director Unesco Pakistan, Warren Mellor and Deputy Representative Unicef Pakistan Karen B Allen.
It was an interesting gathering of like-minded persons and conversation was mostly about the ups and downs in the education sector and the steps being taken by the government to make an all round improvement in this important area for the development of the country.
It was learnt that Thailand has achieved remarkable success under the guidance of Benjalug Namfa, a woman whose vision for ‘child friendly schools’ has seen a big change in the manner children are handled. Speaking on the subject she said it was important in this age of technology, when so much information was available from many sources, for the teachers to also interact with their students instead of sitting back and letting them acquire knowledge by themselves. Admitting that the needs of the children from rural areas were different she said both urban and rural children were taken into consideration while forming policies for improved education.
Saira Tarrar voiced her concerns about how entrenched the negative systems were in all areas of education but was hopeful that slowly but surely a change will come about as the government was trying hard to improve the situation.
The general opinion was that teacher training should take place on a priority to make schools more children friendly and this process should start from the beginning when a child first enters school. This will give the child an incentive to come to school happily instead of being forced as sometimes happens. Cultural differences and other matters such as the curriculum relating to education in different countries, especially Asia, were also discussed and though the task appears formidable there is hope that a positive change will come about sooner than later.
Children’s Global Network Pakistan is a national organisation, pioneer in interactive teaching and learning methodologies for the most marginalized. The organisation is active in the education sector for the last decade.