The ustaad enjoys an honoured position in our society. Across the country, Pakistanis young and old will tell you about the exceptional teachers who inspired them, opened their minds and transformed their lives.
But we know very little about the professional life of the average Pakistani teacher, the challenges they face and the support they require. We know even less about what drives these men and women to become teachers, and to remain in the profession despite the many difficulties involved. We know least of all about what Pakistani teachers think, their opinion of the problems plaguing the profession, and the strategies they employ every day to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.
The Voice of Teachers aims to change that.
Our new study is based on an extensive nationwide survey of over 1,250 teachers and head teachers in more than 600 primary, elementary and high schools across the country’s four provinces, covering government and private schools in urban and rural areas. We employ survey instruments as well as in-depth interviews to develop a profile of Pakistani teachers and the environment in which they work, and to document their key concerns.
The teacher is at the heart of the education system and also, importantly, at the centre of efforts for education reform. Our study shows that the majority of Pakistan’s teachers are dedicated professionals, aware of their own shortcomings and eager to improve their performance. What they require is training, textbooks of high quality, a curriculum that is based on the learning needs of children, and a language policy that takes into account the cultural and linguistic diversity that constitutes the fabric of Pakistani society. They need mentoring and guidance, evaluation and feedback, and a clean and safe environment in which to work. But perhaps most of all, Pakistan’s teachers need to be heard.
Much has been said and written about the men and women who educate our children. It is now time to listen.
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