Document Type

Article

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

The public education system of Pakistan mostly offers children a prescriptive catalogue of knowledge what Freire (1972) calls it a 'banking concept' in education. Hawes and Stephens (1990) argue that today's schools and children are invariably the victim of yesterday's system. During the last three decades, the quality of education has become a serious concern among the policy makers and donor agencies. In general terms, quality is defined in term of efficiency in achieving the desired students learning outcomes predetermined in the policies. In Pakistan, three types of education reforms namely efficiency; quality; curricularbased (Riddell, 1998) were launched but these seemed to have failed to achieve their desired targets. This can be exemplified from a general estimate that half of the children who complete primary schooling cannot read, write and do basic arithmetic which presents a dismal scenario of elementary education in Pakistan. I agree with Riddell (1998) that the quality of colonial educational system is undoubtedly inappropriate for a post-colonial system since the focus is now more on creating a leadership. In order to understand the issue of quality education, Adams (1993) suggests six elements of quality education namely quality as reputation; quality as resources and inputs; quality as process; quality as content; quality as outputs and outcomes; and quality as value added. However, 1 would like to add another element of quality as effective and reflective school community leadership for ensuring accountability, which may lead to a sustainable improvement in quality education. In the early 90's, the Government of Pakistan brought about a change in the organizational and management structure through Social Action Programme (I &II) in order to mobilize community participation in the school anagement affairs. This paradigm shift led to develop a participatory decision-making strategy embedded in the decentralized model of educational management. This provides community with a real 'voice and choice' in the self-school management affairs. Research indicates that a positive relationship between schools and community is considered a prerequisite for the success of any educational programme (Hicks, 1956, Sinah, 1976, Ansarf 1988, Shah and Shaukat, 1990, Kumar 1996, and Memon, M. et aI. 1999). Therefore, the transformation of the schools is only possible by involving community actively in the process of decision-making, which will eventually lead to enhance community capabilities and empowerment. In order to improve the quality of elementary education in Pakistan, a vibrant model for improving quality of elementary education has been developed which encompasses school management and leadership, community participation, and accountability, teachers' professional development, curriculum and instructional strategies, school supervision and monitoring, and students learning outcomes. This model is guided by school vision, policy, research and practice that will enhance community capabilities for sustainable quality improvement of elementary education in Pakistan.

Publication

Education 2000

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