Karim Mohammad Khan
Gilgit-Baltistan Education Department has introduced different structural reforms in schools. The first and most important change was the GB Government inducted new school teachers through NTS and FPSC. This was essential in order to strengthen institutions as best school system and also focus to hire highly competent human resources on merit; change them into highly efficient professionals through training programmes and get the best out of them for the attainment of organizational goal.
Teachers training and refresher courses have been conducted during winter and summer vacations across GB and it has been ensured by the department to continue in future which is crucial for developing teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge.
Proper and systematic enrolment campaigns were conducted through door to door campaign and advertisement in print and electronic media with close coordination of school management committees before the inception of academic sessions. The purpose was no child left behind from getting the birth right of education and this resulted as increase in enrolment in schools.
Biometric staff attendance system has also been introduced in all High Schools and is reported to the high authority on daily basis while cellular attendance report of teachers and students from all schools on daily basis is also shared with concerned authority. Due to this initiative, teachers and students’ attendance have improved to a greater extent.
A complain cell has been established in each District Education Office for any type of complain from anyone from within the system or from outside, This will help to addresses injustices and loopholes in the system.
In addition, 4 times observation of a teacher’s lesson in a month has been made mandatory in all state-run schools of GB. The formation of lesson observation tool is under process and when it gets refined, it will be made operational. However, to be well informed regarding classroom dynamics and teacher’s performance appraisal mechanism, headteachers’ capacity need to be developed through trainings on need basis.
According to the competent authority, 50% classroom processes and procedures in the lesson delivery of a teacher is to be included while 50% annual or semester exam result will be reflected in teacher’s annual confidential report. In this manner, teachers will be held accountable for what they perform throughout the year. High performing teachers will be rewarded and low performing will be engaged in trainings for improvement and that would ultimately improve students’ learning outcomes.
Moreover, improvement in monitoring and evaluation of schools are being experienced as District Education Officer and the team members now inspect schools, visit classrooms and share feedbacks for further improvements frequently. Monthly meeting with DDO is convened at District Education Office where previous set targets are reviewed and future plans are shared.
Monthly Review Meeting is also held in every region where Deputy Director Education with all head teachers, Incharges and Chairpersons of all SMC of the regions are invited. Curricular, co-curricular and development works and activities are shared by every school head and it’s SMC Chair. It provides good opportunity to learn from each other about the best practices carried out in different schools and improve the weaknesses left in any school during the month.
Infrastructural advancement in different schools have also been initiated by upgrading schools, constructing and raising boundary walls, erecting big sign boards having names of schools with distance , decorating schools premises with education related slogans and quotations.
Education conferences and seminars are also held annually at District level in which key note speakers and educationists from within the system and outside the department are invited to shed lights on the importance, challenges and opportunities in education. Recently, an education seminar was convened on 13th May 2017 in the district headquarter school of Ghizer where all the government teachers of the district (nearly seven hundred) participated and speakers shared their precious views on various perspective of education.
In short, many initiatives have been taken by GB Government and Department of Education and are indeed a commendable effort. However, introducing change is easy but sustaining it is somehow difficult. Therefore, proper monitoring and follow up programmes of each school needs to be in place and all these improvement initiatives should be given legal cover through legislations to ensure sustainability.