Can Teachers’ Training Track our Education System?

By Deepak Kumar
Teaching profession has always been a prestigious profession around the globe. Teachers have gained immense importance from the religious perspective, too. Religion has exalted them to the status where they are valued as a pupil’s spiritual parents after father and mother. Islamic scholars consider it the profession of prophets while other major religions like Hinduism and Buddhism value teacher like gods of knowledge. One can get Nirvana following the footsteps of a real teacher in life. The teacher has been a dominant figure in the pure development and nourishment of the pupil in different eras.
Teaching communities across the world have excelled in the field of their schooling systems. They have introduced various important creative ideas in classroom management and teaching strategies putting themselves forth in the new adventurous period of time which is the need of the hour. The 21st Century demands magnificent changes in academia and professional setups. In the United Kingdom and the United States, the teachers are trained professionally every year before the term starts and it is the responsibility of the states to keep their teaching community updated with the latest teaching models of the teaching-learning process.
Pakistan is counted among the countries where teachers from their initial appointment to retirement usually get a chance to be trained only once, or sometimes twice. There are even teachers who do not get any professional development chances in their entire careers. Observed closely, the classes in our academic setup resemble a scenario seen during the 1900s. Education, today, is akin to getting the syllabus completed and filling the class with the overwhelming practice of parroting the subjects while chasing full-attendance goals. The teachers are incompetent and reluctant to teach something out-of-the-box and the success story is usually a child who is chained by the rote-learning system and cannot think on his own. Logical and creative thinking is never considered important because educators in schools don’t know one bit about creative teaching.
The story and level of teachers’ competency are different among the provinces of Pakistan. The literacy level and the overview of classroom education are not the same everywhere. The institution that provides training and designs professional development courses for in-service teachers is the Provincial Institute of Teacher Education (PITE). It was developed in 1996 with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank and till 2007 it continued functioning under the Bureau of Curriculum. In 2008, the institute started working independently under the order of the working Secretary Education Department of government of Balochistan. PITE works under the supervision of a director-cum-principal and three deputy directors of various operations; administration, planning and training, and some other staff. It works in collaboration with multiple national and international organisations that fund the professional growth of the teaching staff of the province.
PITE is currently on a mission to provide 12-day induction training to teachers, in collaboration with Project Management Unit, School Education Department through Balochistan Human Capital Investment Project. It aims to train the teachers who entered the service after 2015.
On the other hand, many professional development courses are offered free of cost for the teaching community of Pakistan by the Regional English Language Office at U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. The RELO office is also providing a number of small grants in their alumni circle under the umbrella of numerous programmes like OPEN, Alumni small grant, and TEA small grant for the professional development of English language teachers across Pakistan.
There are many opportunities for teachers to be trained, equipped, and updated with the 21st-century teaching methodology and classroom management skills. But, is our teaching community prepared to work out and come up with the will to learn something new and bring change to our learning system? It is not to dim anyone’s enthusiasm but in recent studies, it has surfaced that the teaching community is not ready and does not have the will to bring newness to their teaching ideas. Their typical ideas do not allow their teaching style to be modified in accordance with the latest study.
It is significant to mull over the root cause behind the failure and incompetence of the teachers. Is it the opportunities in actual they are not provided with for a long time or their mindset which needs to be addressed first? The attitude of our educators should be challenged and then provided with accurate basic knowledge of modern teaching skills. Else, the governmental and non-governmental organisations will keep paying their best to raise the quality of our schooling system through teachers but all in vain, receiving no fruits.
The Writer is an educationalist from Quetta, Balochistan.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the writer and Balochistan Voices does not necessarily agree with them.
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