SCHOOL TEACHING ENVIRONMENT SHOULD BE COMFORTABLE AND RESPECTFUL
Teachers play a vital role in the development of any nation. The teacher is the heart of any educational system. Teaching is an honorable profession in the world and they must have their first priority to teach and educate the students. Environment plays an important role in any profession. So, the environment should be comfortable and respectful. But sadly, I have to say that in our country our teachers don’t have such an environment in which they can work from the core of their heart. On the other hand, Finland with 5.5 million population is among the top 5 countries which have great educational systems. According to the research by Kantar public agency (commissioned by Google), one factor of her best performance in the educational system is respect, trust and autonomy given to their teachers. In Finland, a bulk of graduates want to become a teacher. But in our country, teaching is considered a profession which is chosen by chance rather than choice. What is the reason behind this mentality? Why teachers are switching off their field? Why they are looking for other departments like police, lectureship or administration etc. instead of being committed to this profession?
1-There is no respect of teachers which they deserve. All the teachers are disrespected due to some cases of misconduct by few teachers. Teachers have no power to do their work on their own. Today, students are threatening their teachers that they will not come to school even they know very well that teacher will be punished by their absent. Any higher authority can give disrespectful remarks to the teachers in front of students. In the current scenario, the teacher is no more a role model because authorities have eliminated the element through which the teacher become a role model for students and the community.
“I have wanted to be the teacher all my life. I can remember in 3rd grade just looking up to my teacher, and I’d be like oh, I want to do that someday” (a student of teacher training school Finland said this-google report 2016).
But nowadays in our country, how many students have the dream to be a teacher?
2-Workload and the uncomfortable environment is also a reason for the dissatisfaction of teachers. I am talking about new teachers (educators) who are entering in education department with enthusiasm but a lot of factors become hurdles through which they fail to achieve their goals. Overcrowded classrooms are difficult to manage. Teachers cannot use the student-centered method of teaching in such type of classes. They face difficulties to treat every student according to his mental level. Teachers are bound to complete the syllabus within the given time period. They have the pressure of assessment of students and the accountability of their work by MEA, AEO or any other higher authority.
The 3-School environment is not attractive for students and teachers as well. Mostly public schools are not equipped as compared to private school. It is widely acknowledged that education plays an overarching role and has a cross-cutting impact on all aspects of human life. It is a vivacious investment for human development. But Pakistan is being so poor in spending on the education sector. Even Bhutan and Nepal are spending 7.4% and 3.6% of their GDP on their education sector. On the other hand, we are just investing 2.6% in our education sector which is nothing as compared to others. (UNESCO report) Due to lack of resources, teachers are unable to perform effectively. If we want that our teachers perform enthusiastically then we must follow the education system of Finland, Singapore and Japan which are standing at the top in OECD ranking.
“In Finland, teachers are “TRUSTED”. There is a very little supervision of teachers, we don’t compare our schools, don’t compare each other and this has very much to do with teacher appreciation” (special advisor OAJ Finland).
4-Average STR (student-teacher ratio) in Pakistan is 48:1 which is alarming. A teacher is teaching 48 students in the class. While in the other countries teachers are teaching 13, 25 or 35 students in a class. Average STR according to OECD is 14:1. Education ministry of Pakistan must cater to this problem by reducing this ratio. So that teacher can teach the students efficiently.
Teachers are not enjoying their profession because they are heavily controlled, tested and punished. If we want to get the better result, 1-we should improve our school environment, give respect to our teachers and change our behavior towards the education department. 2-There must be some chapters in the syllabus of the primary classes through which students will get to know about the contribution of the teacher in human development.3- The curriculum should only be a guideline and teachers must have autonomy to select syllabus, teaching method and assessment schedule. And it will be done by actions rather than words and sayings.
At last but not least, if state fixes a reasonable amount in the budget for the education sector, society cooperates with schools, teachers do their work with zeal and zest then learning environment would become attractive, comfortable and supportive.