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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Re-thinking teaching and schooling in Pakistan

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I still remember, how anxiety provoking and bored were those days…… we were forced to read, write and remember, which we were never interested. Boredom was a common condition in our school, some times I was thinking that why I become so bored in school, while I do not fed up in watching cartoons or listening stories for hours.

Most of the time I used to fly out of school to orchids near our village exploring the nature in picking flowers and running behind butter flies, trying to catch little birds and searching their eggs. I climbed the trees and played with grass some times I was going to waterway and jump to go for a dip and take bath. At this stage of my development I can say how much I learned in enjoyment through that experience of interacting with nature.

Now when I recall my schooling experience, I am capable to analyze that whole the system of our school was designed to think, do, listen and obey such things which were irrelevant to our needs and interest and personal experiences. Our “individual learning needs”, “learning styles” and “multiple intelligences” were also ignored by unipollarly emphasizing the designed pieces of “developmentally inappropriate” knowledge and in oppressing learning environment. Teachers mostly confused the authority of knowledge with their own professional authority and they practiced the deposition of knowledge rather than the effective communication for cognitive feed back. I can link up these reasons that why could remember and understand other things like stories, games, cartoons and movies quickly and with ease and interest but we needed reinforcement and pressure to remember and understand text books etc.

When I see school vans and busses filled with sleepy children going to their schools early in morning, I take pity on them and I imagine if they are transported to detentions, not schools for them; these vans return back with energy less faded up children. when I visit schools in rural areas and see students “shouting” lesson after a teacher, I smile in my lips and I fell as they reject and protest against sense less and disinterested information. Many students seem to be happy in schools; they participate in classrooms with interest and attention but with mere motivation of grades and praise. It is very rare in schools that students are instinctly motivated to “know”—in other words they do “learn to learn”.

Any how, I crossed safely through each step of my schooling with out loosing my senses—I will say—but my mind was filled with criticism of our existing institutionalized education system. I was in a conscious balloon that these ideas in my mind were unique and odd. I decided to find my career in the field of education. I joined Sindh Education Foundation in its research cell where a study on “criticized schooling practices” was under the process of its conceptualization, as I was already interested in that topic so I got the responsibility to review literature for that study, as for as I was going deep in those contradictory ideas against schooling systems my conscious balloon was flouting and the questions in my mind were becoming satisfied to find the similar criticism of schooling system, but with clear explanations. During that process I obsessively reviewed the books papers and scholarly articles of renowned educational philosophers like Freire, Ivan Illich, John Dewy and Rauso, Russell etc.

I was surprise to find that most of these above mentioned philosophers have highlighted and linked the contribution of many formal schooling practices and teaching strategies with the domination, oppression and containment of the students which distress the independent thinking, critical approach and creativity among students. When I reviewed fraerie’s most popular book “Pedagogy of oppressed” my ideas became clearer, that how our existing schooling systems is related with the procedure of “mass production” in factories. In this book Frarie has elucidate so as to, how children in our schools are regarded as raw materials to be efficiently processed by technical workers (the teachers) to reach the end product, which is ready to work in desired setups. Many educational philosophers has concluded that this factory model have affected the design of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in our schools, similarly I became aware of an other critique of schooling systems—the banking model—in which the philosophers of education have explained how the role of teacher is determined as a source of filling knowledge in “empty!” minds of the students where students’ prior knowledge is also neglected.

During the literature review of our study I read the work of an other educational philosopher Ivan Illich the author of “De-Schooling society” Illich has identified explained and critically evaluated the effects, consequences and motives of setting selective curriculum, implementing particular methods of teaching and adopting programmed ways of “thinking and doing” in which we participate as educators or as students. Illich is of the views that educationists mostly discuss surface issues of education and suggest or address reform for the “misrouted” system of education. They ignore to discuss and work on root issues of education that’s’ why the aims objectives and goals of our education has became commercialized. He has also elucidated that how Power relations and fastidious environments of teaching and learning affect the critical thinking ability and creativity of students in our schooling system.

We often confuse schooling with education, success and intellectual development; we forget that most of philosophers, revolutionists, great scholars, founders of knowledge and all of the prophets of religions who changed the world were unschooled but not uneducated! certainly, someone educated them, but they were not the products of a schooling system, so it is a childish conclusion that schools are the only source of knowledge and development of man and one who does not cross through that system is oblivious and ill-mannered and undignified; today there are 2 million homschoolars only in America who have never attended school or followed the programmed syllabus but they are not oblivious and ill-mannered or unaware, however it is very true that schools are the best source for designed trainings with specific hidden objectives.

By criticizing the schooling systems critics do not mean that schools can not educate hence they need to be shuttled down, but most of them conclude that this schooling system calls for transformation at its very grass root level, means, its philosophical foundations must be transformed instead mere reformation with in miss-rooted system. The research on the process of learning suggest that people learn most part of their knowledge, understanding and wisdom by informal ways, however they also need to acquire formal education to acquire many of competencies quickly and certainly with in a process and framework.

However, In the light of literary criticism of the schooling system and modern researches on the process of learning and education the schooling systems in the world are experiencing reformations in the design of texts and learning environments; but still there is a gap between research on learning and practice in classrooms. Yet, most of the schooling systems in the world are designed with tight control, Forced discipline, strict classroom timetables, unhealthy competition that provoke jealousy, “Fail—pass” exams, rewards—punishments mechanics that humiliate human curiosity and willingness to learn and with developmentally inappropriate—mile long and an inch deep—curriculum that minutely consider the students’ and communities’ needs.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Mujahid,
    Hope you are fine there with the best state of your health.I guess your article is great work,which is experienced based and should be read carefully.
    wish you best of luck to bring some changes through your writings.

    Regards
    Atiq Raja
    Hyderabad(Pak)

  2. i read ur article on education n our schooling system,i m science graduate with math,economics,currently,a student of icmap,i think the basic problem with us id that we r impressed by the europeans system for nothing,n so we think that if we criticise our own system,we may gain fame n may become modern,actually,we r nt capable of creating any thing,so we cant gain fame with our capabilities,so its an easy way,criticise pakistan,islam n our education system n gain fame,

  3. Nice write-up

    Child-friendly learning environment has verily yielded best results and creativity among the students. Rest of, conventional schooling only produces Primary & Secondary Puppets.

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