Shamim Noor Ali
In Hunza, like most other places, all parents wish to give quality education to their children. Towards this end, majority of parents, whether they belong to under privileged or privileged financial background, send their children to private English-medium schools. In quest of quality education often some financially strong parents change their children’s school every year with the arrival of the new school in the area. Is this quest for quality fruitful?
The analysis stated here is the outcome of my 15 years of teaching and leadership experience and observation ranging from ECD to Elementary section (Reception to class 7th). All these private schools in Hunza, comparatively, perform either good or better in some aspects, but still there is a great gap in the teaching-learning process. The private schools need to overcome these issues to satisfy their clients and provide quality education, which is a great need of the time, and for which parents and families invest their hard earned wealth.
It is said that good teachers make a good school. Hence, only a competent principal or management cannot ensure the quality education without a good team of teachers. Therefore, the teachers who are appointed must have relevant educational and professional qualification. Also they must have good command over English, including its four areas which are reading, writing, listening and speaking. It must be necessary for the teachers to teach in English medium schools otherwise there is no point in sending kids to the English Medium Schools. The eligible teachers must be hired on attractive salaries to keep them motivated. However some emerging schools have been trying their level best to cater all the above stated areas but still there is a great room of improvement for all schools.
The observation and experience which identifies the gaps which needs to be addressed almost in all English medium schools are briefly discussed below.
- There must be curriculum and assessment alignment …. Assess what is taught. It is very important otherwise students’ performance decline and parents disappoint too. Uneducated parents do not know this and they despair about their kids’ future.
- In the name of revision preparing kids for the exam paper must be avoided. This is not beneficial for kids’ future.
- The teachers must avoid over explanation of the questions to give hints or tell directly the answers to the children during assessment. It will help them to obtain good marks but not a successful future. On the other hand teachers are the role models for the students, and a role model must discourage such unappreciated habit of cheating.
- Blind checking is greatly prevalent. Teachers must be careful otherwise children learn the wrong and remain with the wrong until their parents or tutors correct them.
- Often parents are asked to buy workbooks but these mostly remain blank throughout the year. Then what is the point for buying workbooks? Teachers must not make excuses for this. Publishers develop books and workbooks considering age level, class wise curriculum and student learning outcomes recommended by the ministry of education.
- Notebooks must be timely checked.
- Assessment for learning (help teachers as well as parents to guide students for learning through identifying their areas of improvement ) must be a continuous process that prepares students for the assessment of learning (assessment of what they have learned in a complete term or in an academic year)
- There must be balance in giving home assignments. Either children are greatly burdened with home work or not enough home work is given.
- Home work diaries are a good source of updating parents with daily task and sharing concerns with parents. But often it is not properly dictated and checked by the teachers.
- Traditional copy pencil work and board work is still in practice. Children must be practically engaged in learning activities at least especially in Science, Math and language subjects.
- Schools must have Computer and Science Labs. Some schools have got these facilities but are not effectively used for teaching and learning purpose.
- Effective teaching and learning is the outcome of the triangular efforts of “teacher-student-parent” But unfortunately various issues occur by each important part of the triangle.
- In some cases some educated and conscious parents have to take the responsibility of the teachers at home due to lack of some teachers’ dedication in teaching. In such situation if parents are uneducated or unable to spare time for their kids, the child does not receive due attention neither at school nor at home. Consequently performance declines. Whereas in fewer cases both parent and teachers fulfill their responsibilities but children do not pay attention towards studies. Very rare triangular efforts are observed, due to which child academic performance reaches the outstanding level.
- Every school has its own teaching and assessment standards due to which a child performs better in one school often fails or scores very low when given admission in another school. These private English medium schools must have a standardized assessment system.
In developed countries, their governments have established school monitoring and evaluation departments which are strictly responsible for ensuring quality education. The school registration is cancelled if it is unable to fulfill the set criteria by their ministry of education. Such functional department in our region and country is also greatly needed. Otherwise the quest of quality education in the area will be continued and schools’ business will be flourished at the cost of future of our nation builders.