EDUCATION at primary and secondary levels is riddled with many ills and this is an open secret. To provide one example out of myriads, in some cases teachers at primary level are appointed merely by producing a piece of paper called intermediate and/or BA/BS certificate.
These certificates are obtained by them by using proxies in examinations. It means the qualification is not even earned by the candidate. Subsequently, they get appointed on a political push and perform duties at their sweet will.
Education officers at district levels are in no different situation. There are hardly any sane elements in the education department which can deliberate on reforms in the education sector at lower level.
Consequently, the ultimate sufferers are children from humble backgrounds whose parents are unable to afford the fees of private schools.
This time the newly-elected government at the federal level seems determined to gear up change in the overall condition of the common man. It is hoped that education, in general, and lower education, in particular, will figure prominently on their agenda.
The government needs to make a legislation which can put an end to the political interference in the education sector. Like the Higher Education Commission, an autonomous and powerful Lower Education Commission (LEC) needs to be established.
The LEC may need to hire professionals in education who can work in letter and in spirit at district levels to inject freshness in the sick education system.
A commission, similar to provincial public service commissions, needs to be established at district headquarters for the appointment of teachers at primary and secondary levels.
The goal of the LEC should be to update and revise curriculum of schools, provide training to the existing and prospective work force and improve infrastructure which can conform to the modern needs.
Countries like Malaysia send their teachers at primary and secondary levels for doing master’s and acquire PhD degrees from the universities of the UK and the US. Our teachers may also be trained first at local and national levels and then they may be given scholarships to get training from abroad. This may win the confidence of teachers to show commitment towards the profession.
If the new government takes these steps, we may see light at the end of the tunnel.
DR RAFIQUE A. MEMON Professor, Institute of English Language and Literature University of Sindh Jamshoro