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How Education can change the world?

Samra Shaukat Ali

“Education is a matter of life and death for Pakistan.” It is the quote known to all as is said by our beloved Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the greatest leader! The question arises, how could education be a matter of life and death?  Is it food? Is it oxygen? Is it water? We cannot survive without food, water and oxygen, but the quote says, ‘it’s the education that is mongering death or life upon us! Let’s see HOW?

Provincial boards’ school, LACAS, Grammar, City, Beacon, Ibne Sina, Learning Lines, PakTurk, Qurban Lines, The lyceum, Defence school, Dare Arqam, Allied, Garrison, Danish, the list of private school systems is endless! Each school is teaching its own syllabi, providing facilities to students, training and coaching the young generation. All these systems are really good in educating their students, but on the other hand division is unknowingly made as different mind sets are evolving from it. Roads are littered with this kind of different mind sets.

Everyone is bragging and raising the slogan “I AM THE BEST!” I am eye witness to the painted words on cars stating, ‘We are Ravians, Punjabians, Aitchisonian, Garrisonians, Lahorians…’ to be good is good, but to whom you are looking down upon or telling that you are better or best? Obviously the other system, the other students!

Taking pride in ones’ schooling should never be labelled as a sense of ownership or ‘Aww our students love their schools so and so much that they have never forgotten it!’  The ‘beloveds’ often get into fights over ‘my school is better than yours.’ Biasness/ prejudice is what erupted out of such education. This virtue is a plague which eats and erodes away entire nations! It’s always the ‘small’ things that get ‘bigger’ with the passage of time. Who should stop it? Teachers?  Parents?  Or administration?

 All the educational systems are just small pieces of a land called Pakistan! Why we are a complete failure in raising our children as Pakistanis? Why we are sticking like a lizard to our own portions of wall, when the entire home is ours? I am not against different syllabus, but there should be something common in all the systems, and that ‘something’ should be ‘ Pakistaniat( culture, religion, folk literature)’ as one educational course leads to one mind set and then to making of one nation. United we stand, divided we fall! Again the question arises, can teachers make any change in the syllabus? Or the parents? Or the students?

The Triangle: Parent— Student—Teacher is well-known in almost all the good educational systems. The teachers are trained on it every year. Teacher is a Role Model, a facilitator, a psychologist, a writer, a reader, a listener, a speaker, a problem solver, a checker, a policy maker, a counselor, an event organizer. A teacher is a MAKER, in short. Teachers can do wonders, they can make a difference, and they can teach their students magic; just air the wand and bring change in the society! This is what is expected of teachers.

Undoubtedly, teachers and good teachers are capable of doing more than the magic and can make a difference, but is it the sole responsibility of the teachers to shoulder the whole burden of ‘change?’ or is it humanly possible? Where has gone the Triangle then? What is the responsibility of parents and students? In reality, teacher is chunked out from this triangle and in isolation is raised to such high pedestal that when they reach and stuck there, they face shouts, aggression, warning letters, suspensions, terminations, plotting, laughs, mockery, be littleness, abuses by the parents, students and administration and yet teachers are highly respected by all!

Teachers, often digest such attitudes and behaviors as are loyal to their students or are bound to digest such attitudes, but they seldom vomit the eaten aggression on the students, in return. I am talking about ‘professional teachers’ and not just ‘teachers’ who teach students as a job. Please be mindful of this difference.

Let’s dissect the Triangle! Teacher or parent alone can never bring any change to the student, but together they can bring transformation to the child! Teachers are getting trainings, but are parents getting any training? The answer is No! The Triangle eventually fails!

Being a teacher, a professional teacher, is it possible for me to train the parents in my school premises? Obviously no, as I had to take permission from the administration for doing so. Now, could a triangle be workable without adding administrative staff? A flat NO, once again is the answer. What is the solution then? How could a student be truly made a learner? The triangle fails, again!

Teachers are bound to obey the rules and regulations of their educational setups, as they are subordinates in a work frame. Annoyed/ mighty parents directly approach the principal or chairman for any complaint, as they think it’s a waste of time to talk to the teacher at first hand. Having seen the set pattern, the students also take pride in going straight to the office of principal filing a complaint against teacher or their own personal issues. Students do plot against the teachers whom they dislike.

A strict teacher is mostly victimized. Parents and students go against the teacher and put their trust in administration. Teacher in, both the cases, is unaware and is called in the office for ‘inquiry.’ Teacher is dictated to solve the issue at the earliest. Where is the Triangle? Are parents cooperating with teachers? Are the student body obedient?

 These are just few examples of what happens to teachers. It is sad to know that this so called learned society takes pride in insulting the teachers and then asking them to teach their children values, high self-esteem, and great confidence, but a jug can only pour in the glass what is put in it! A low self-esteemed teacher can never raise high self-esteem in his students. The Triangle is a good thing if each character is mindful of his/her duties and limits.

Teachers are bound so, inclusion of administration/ government is pivotal. As administrative staff is important for both the parents and the teachers, its wise role can make a significant difference in student’s performance. Its role should be of a mediator and a facilitator. It should ease out the things for both strands: teachers and parents, and not just avoiding the fights and managing the financial or policy affairs. It should manage the relationship between the Triangles.

Having said, the triangle is no more workable. For a solution, I suggest, a square window: Parent—student—Teacher—Administration.  The key part is administration, a trained administration can train all the other three components. The pearl of ‘Pakistaniat’ in the strings of different educational system can root up to one nation. No one would then brag ‘My’ instead it would be replaced by ‘Our.’ It is only through education that Pakistan be made a living nation or a dead one. Different and separate educational systems are like torn pieces of a page and everyone is wise enough to envisage what happens to ‘pieces?’  It is always the ‘third party’ who pick up the ‘pieces’ and complete their jigsaw puzzle with intellect. Beware and be aware!

The writer is a well reputed teacher and can be reached at
samra.shaukat.ali1@gmail.com

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