METHODS of imparting education have evolved, and that too at a quick pace thanks to the rapid and robust developments in the field of technology. Educational institutions in Pakistan are doing their best to match the international standards and follow the best practices. But it is only the private institutions that are putting up a fight. Most of the public-sector institutions have not probably realised yet what has hit them.
In Pakistan, the concept of employing technological means for imparting education is still a novel one. Not many institutions have become accustomed to this idea. There are two main reasons hindering the implementation of technological methods in educational process. First is the lack of resources because the technology does come at a price, while the second is the stubbornness of people tasked to implement it. The inability and lack of skill level of teachers also play their due role in all this.
Zia Khan, a software expert who has now become an educationist, said that the level of education imparted at even top-notch institutions is not up to the industry standards. “Our universities are not employing latest techniques to teach and train their IT graduates according to the developments and industry needs. These graduates have a very basic knowledge about things … only two out of a hundred have the aptitude to make it to the top level.” To bridge this gap, he has taken it upon himself to train the software engineers according to the latest market standards.
Sadia Khalil, a microbiologist and lecturer at a public-sector university, said that her institution greatly lacked the latest and up-to-date techniques and technologies when it comes to imparting scientific education to the students. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has been trying to implement advanced teaching and learning management processes at all the universities across the country, but the response to this from public-sector universities has not quite been overwhelming, she said.
According to her, the HEC did arrange training sessions for some lecturers and the others were expected to catch on, but unfortunately, that didn’t turn out to be the case. Most of the lecturers still continue to follow the same old practices and methods, and are not willing to adapt and evolve.
Technology, for some, is a difficult thing to adopt when the fact is that it makes a lot of processes easier. A very basic upgradation for class rooms and lecture halls is to equip them to support audio-visual content. This way the teachers are able to make the content more interactive and creative. In addition, it also gives the leverage to include quality content from other universities — whether local or international — so that students have an idea of what their peers are up to. A strong and stable internet connection has become a must for educational institutions as the latest management systems require both teachers and students to connect to their respective portals in order to attain or deliver relevant information. This new system is called the Learning Management System (LMS) which has been implemented in many private and semi-government institutions.
Khushbo Rafiq, a lecturer at one such institution, teaches Media Studies. Her university, she insists, has successfully implemented the LMS which enables teachers and students to stay informed. “All our lectures are available online, so students can always access them. We also have a process of giving feedback where both students and teachers can comment on each other’s performance,” she said. Besides, all classrooms at the institution are equipped with audio-visual support and the internet is functional.
These are the kind of steps that every public-sector university needs to take since it is their task to produce the major share of human resource for the job market. An evolution towards technology in public-sector institutions will definitely benefit the country in the longer run.