What matters – teaching qualification or subject matter knowledge? : Comparing classroom practices of teachers with and without pre-service professional qualification in primary public schools of district Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Teachers are key players to ensure quality education and school improvement. One argument support that the effectiveness of teachers is mainly dependent on the preparation of professional teaching force through pre-service teacher’s education programmes. The opponents of teacher education argue that teacher success is related to mastery of general academic abilities and direct on-job engagement. Favouring the later, the induction policy 2017 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa eliminated the requirement of professional qualification from the teachers’ recruitment criteria at school level. The policy assumes that pre-service teacher education programmes could not prepare teachers as per the need of schools. In order to investigate whether the rationale behind induction policy 2017 is justified, this study explored the differences in the classroom practices of teachers with and without pre-service professional qualification. It also explored teachers’ perceptions about their classroom practices and the influence of previously acquired qualifications on their current classroom practices.
An emergent mixed method approach was used in this study. Initially planned cross-sectional quantitative design was modified due to COVID-19 disruption by adding qualitative multiple case study design to understand the research problem holistically. The quantitative data was collected from 16 teachers (eight each with and without pre-service professional qualification) until lockdown and closure of schools through random sampling utilising structured-observation tool, and later semi-structured interviews were conducted with same participants to enrich data. With limited quantitative data, only descriptive analysis was carried out and supported with field-notes. The qualitative data was analysed thematically using within and cross-case techniques.
Analysis of findings showed that both teachers’ classrooms were untidy, overcrowded, with inappropriate displays, used whole-class management strategy and lecture teaching methods. The teachers without professional qualification deal students in a supportive manner, ask exploratory questions, use harsh punishment techniques and questioning strategy as compared to teachers with professional qualification who restrict interaction, lax in discipline and ask factual questions. However, the findings are not generalisable due to sampling limitations. The qualitative results further showed that the factors that influence the classroom practices of teachers were poor working conditions, low status of teachers, lack of parental involvement, traditional beliefs, and low-quality preparation. As a consequence, most teachers appeared dissatisfied and ready to leave teaching profession. It is therefore recommended that teachers salary scale should be raised along with incentives to retain teachers. Support from higher authorities needs to be strengthened to improve teachers’ performance. In order to improve the quality of pre-service programmes, education institutes need to be strongly monitored for quality assurance. Again, this study is still not generalisable and urge researchers to extend this research in Pakistani context to accumulate further evidence to settle the debate about teachers’ effectiveness with and without pre-service professional qualifications in Pakistan.

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