Call to modernise teachers training

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LAHORE:The lack of facilities and training human resource for teachers needs to be compensated by use of technology through real-time teleconferencing followed by an effective evaluation system which conditions promotions and increments based on the their results.
Learning might be a science but teaching is definitely an art. That every well-qualified person can not necessarily be a good teacher highlights the importance of training the art of teaching.
These views were expressed by the guests at the Jang Forum on ìGetting the Teachers in Tune with Modern Waysî. The forum was hosted by eminent journalist Iftikhar Ahmed and the guest at the forum included Punjab University professor Dr Mumtaz Salik, University of Education professor Saima Ali, Raheela Tanvir, former head of Ali Institute Dr Abdul Hamid Nayyar and LUMS professor Dr Anees Aalam.

Opening the discussion, Dr Abdul Hamid Nayyar said that the teacher fraternity decided the direction of any nation or society. Therefore, the optimum knowledge and method of teaching of these teachers was of pivotal importance. He said the fact that over 90 percent of the teachers promoted non-progressive cramming culture, was leading to a generation with little or no innovative approach.

He said the government should establish tele-conference rooms in one of the schools in an area, which should be used to impart training. Internet should be used for evaluation of these programs, he said and added that it would not only be cost effective but also quite manageable.

Prof Dr Mumtaz Salik said that the most shocking fact was that, out of the 2.5 percent of GDP being given to the education sector, only 1.8 percent was utilized. If the education department did not have the ability to utilize the meager amount, how it could be termed competent, he added. The education ministry and bureaucracy, he maintained, should only have educationists as their heads, instead of people who knew little about the sector and tried to bully the educationists around.

Prof Saima Ali stressed the need for micro-management, saying capacity building of the training resource was of pivotal importance so that a larger number of teachers could benefit in the shortest possible time. The University of Education could provide a significant pool of trainers in this regard as well, she added. She said that the primary education was of most importance and a primary class of no more than 30 students should be given at least two teachers who not only should have academic relevance but also have the behavioral and psychological knowledge on how to treat such tender minds. The lack of this combination was one of the major reason of dropouts in Pakistan, she said.

Prof. Dr Anees Aalam said that only one third of the total requirements of the teachers for the country were serving right now which was one indication as to where we stood in the educations sector. The major reason for almost 50 percent drop outs from grade 1 to 5 was the rugged, raw and unconditioned attitude of the teachers who did not give any attention to the child psychology as they were not equipped with this information.

He proposed that all teaching should be activity based and, to accomplish the task, the training of these teachers should also be activity-based. It would discourage the culture of cramming and create grounds for progressive and innovative culture of research-oriented education.

Raheela Tanvir said that the best way to get positive results out of training at any level or by any means would be to condition the promotion and increments of the teachers with better results of the evaluations. The MNA and MPA quota of hiring teachers was another menace polluting the meritocracy in the education department and involving more and more politics in this sector.The news