Document Type

Conference Paper

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

This paper will outline a number of issues faced by Government Primary Schools in Pakistan. Specifically, it will identify a research agenda that needs to be addressed if these schools are to progress. Pakistan's educational system is faced with many problems and dilemmas and each dilemma justifies a reason, but perhaps no problem is as grave as the low quality, the poor morale and the dejected professional status of the teachers. I say that because I believe that schools are only as good as their teachers, regardless of how high their standards, how up-to-date their technology, or how innovative their programs. As Ingvarson (1997, p. 31) so rightly states, "To have the best schools, we must have the best teachers. What teachers know and can do is the most important influence on what students learn". With large number of under-educated, under-trained, under-paid and, most important of all, undervalued teachers in Pakistan, what can we expect the students to learn? Whether we want children to be the enlightened and the informed citizens of tomorrow or ignorant members of society will depend on teacher knowledge, teacher education and above all teacher professionalism. Yes, teachers do matter the most. But what is being done for this section of the society which matters so much? Are efforts being taken to find out what teachers need to achieve their professional goals? Are the teachers given adequate opportunities to learn, to improve and to become effective? How can the teachers meet the ever-increasing demands placed upon them? How will the teachers successfully lead the students into the twenty-first century? Do the teachers believe that they can successfully lead children into the 21st century? Are the school reforms geared towards enhancing teacher professionalism? This paper considers these questions. In this paper I outline some of the measures that have been taken at the government, at the non-government and at the school sector level to restructure and reform primary government schools in Pakistan. The paper goes on to argue that it is important to identify the impact of these reforms on teachers' efficacy, leadership and collaborative efforts for enhanced teacher professionalism. Thus, the paper argues that research is required which addresses the question of "What it actually means to be a professional in Pakistani Primary Schools and what model of school reforms can actually develop teacher learning for improved teacher professionalism?

Publication

Re-visioning Learning: AARE 2000 Conference, University of Sydney