Thu. Nov 26th, 2020

Building Schools

Khayam Muhammad Baig

Khayyam Muhammad Baig

Whenever I dream about a school, a famous quote always clicks into my mind, “he, who opens a school door, closes a prison.’’

So eventually I get filled with energy of love for knowledge, envisioning the mountain people of the great Gilgit –Baltistan, building schools for the transformation of communities through education. These virtual images take my hopes high above the clouds but suddenly I get surrounded by dark clouds of ignorance, poor teaching, lack of resources, structural problems, sectarian issues, unethical attitude of government institutions and ineffective education policies.

In between these thoughts, my mind gets seized and doesn’t allow me to budge forward. I start to sort out the very basic root causes!

Now I am in a conflict between my fantasy and reality. My fantasy drives me to see an excellent educational system of Gilgit-Baltistan, but the reality invades me with hard arguments. The debate then starts again with a new pace!

When we were kids, we had a very few options. Either we had to go to public schools, army public or Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, but with the recent establishment of private schools in the last 8 years, things have changed. People of my land are blessed now with many options which is a plus point but what alarming is the quality of education is not up to the mark. These schools give you the charm to enjoy life, but make you a mere degree holder.

Last year in June, I availed a chance to teach in a well-known private school in Gilgit, I was curious in getting a tremendous experience, unfortunately that did not happen; instead I was saddened by the first impression of the school. It was no school, rather a play-land where you can have good chit chat with your friends, enjoying lunch with a good cup of tea from canteen. The condition gets even worse when you assess the students of these schools, they lack basic knowledge. Apart from their studies, you would find them bunking classes, sharing cigarettes at Chai Shops in school uniform. The term discipline is unknown to both students and school administration. That’s one of the reasons behind students’ poor performance in board exams.

Today, schools are being established for business purposes in order to achieve a good profit margin from the initial investment, this trend is running so high. While writing my latest article, I talked with many professionals in the field of education; they seem worried about the standards of education. They believe in the establishment of new schools that could create a good fortune if it gets start with a proper plan of actions, thus it will impact on a first-class, educational, competitive environment but the matter of concern is, the business race is too dangerous. No attention has been made in this sector; people are building schools with undeveloped infrastructure. No labs, no library, no playground and no permanent teaching staff. The interesting point is they don’t even have a permanent address. They are being operated in rented houses. Every month, you would find a new ad offering different degree programs.

 Above all, the role of Directorate of education is so disappointing, there’s no check and balance from their side. They are busy in their own politics of transferring teachers from one school to another by getting the directions from political pressure groups.

This area needs a serious attention. The rest depends on the respected authorities of the region to formulate a policy regarding the private schools which could bring about a positive change in the educational environment of GB.

12 thoughts on “Building Schools

  1. Nice. This land needs energetic youth like you who could alter thoughts of mass from destrction to construction.

    Though I am a rare visitor on Pamirtimes but a couple of such passages quite inspired me to change my habbit. keep it up

  2. Khayam sab well elaboration: It is right Alma matter has its significant role in development of an individual that becomes a global leaders and change the future of nation. It is well said that “knowledge grows people and people grow organizations”.
    As far as education system or schooling system is concern that needs to be restructure or reorganize even from private to Govt. schools.The things that is in control of our leaders and management can do easily.

    * In private sector:

    1.Not having regulatory authority in education system every individual is free to run the schools or colleges in rented buildings or in shops either it is need of area or not. The directorate should do mapping before approving any institution in certain area.For example when we had intervened in our village at that time only lower primary an English medium school was exist while in that village more than 30 educational institutions have been opened and authority has approved all those institutions. Without mapping this approval duplicate the resources and becomes the mess in education.That is why people ignore the Govt. schools and prefer private schools.

    2. Need to bring harmony in fee, uniform, curriculum, medium of instruction, exam system , recruitment and benefits through a regulatory body comprising on Govt and private sector professionals.

    3. Govt should share the resources with private schools as well as they are producing fruitful product for society.Future leaders are produced from these private institutions.

    Public sector:

    1. Recruitments needs to be made on merit through selective board comprising professionals from public and private both sectors.

    2. Medium of instruction should be same for all schools.

    3. Slow going Govt. schools or showing results below acceptable level can be handed over to communities/ VECS/ CBOS/ LDOS with resources to ensure its maximum output/ results for certain duration i.e 5 years as experimental bases.Close mentoring can improve the school situation or academic standard.

    If we would reflect on our education system in view of 20 improved education systems in the world. we need to identify our place that where are we stand.

    20 Improved Education systems at world level have five categories.

    Poor to Fair

    Fair to good

    good to great

    great to excellent

    To get every step there needs to be certain interventions in academics as well as in management.This intervention demands constant in put in changing behaviour of all stake holders specially head and staff and students as well.

    Actually all we are not reflecting on our own actions that is why we are loosing huge resources.

    1. you are very much right mehr Sahb.. The govement must take some serious steps in making a regulatory terms and condiotios for the establishment of new schools

  3. Khyyam a very mature piece of writing, you have highlighted some major concerns. which need immediate attention. keep your struggle to convey to highlight the problems using power of your pen.

  4. Thank you Mr Khayam you have really addressed one of the very important issues of our great home land Gilgit Baltistan through your observations and experiences. However, I would like to add some missed underlying root causes of failure in meeting standard edcation in the region. Besides, the factors you mentioned above, it is the administrators and educator of those schools as well who are responsible to improve the quality and standards of education. Yes the can definitely improve it within limited resources. That is the attitude of educators who are educating their novices and developing the behaviors and attitudes.

    They can achieive their goals in meeting standards of education if they (faculty) continue their own education learn new and innovations

  5. Mr Khayam baig you have tried to highlight those issues which are intensly harm us. keep going and InshaAllah the high Authorities will wake up nearly.

  6. Good Analysis Mr Khayam Baig,
    The overgrowing state of sub standard Private Schools and Low performing Govt Schools and
    Their duplication i.e For 50-100 students there will be one Govt and Two Private schools, is a mere waste of effort and resources.
    This require a major consideration from Education sector Authorities as well as Local stake Holders.
    In such cases coordination must be made to use Govt school structure and resources by Private School , by combining both and making a uniform standard for both students and combining efforts of Govt and private teaching staff.
    Another aspect is We Greatly claim our Literacy rate getting to 100% but in reality our Education standards are very low .we need to focus on the quality of education as well as Extra curricular Activities to make our children not just paper tigers but to involve in a better life by exposing them to all different fields.

  7. Whatever has been written above- depicts the very essence of our educational organizations, either governmental or private. Though there are more priorities given to make the private schools more and more lucrative and business oriented yet these private schools are far better than those run by government. there is very rare check and balance of these government schools especially those situated in far-flung areas. The situation is getting worse day by day and thus needs some drastic changes in this sector to curtail further degradation of our societies…

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