This is a policy brief on education. The document is an orphan of a much larger 75 page policy paper that we are not ready to put out to the public yet. A review of this unavailable paper is given here.
|“In an international standardized measurement in 2001 and since, Finnish children came top or very close to the top for science, reading and mathematics. In addition to beating countries like the US, Finns easily beats countries with a similar demographic”|
Education Policy Ideas
Some Reform Points to Consider
25th August, 2012
Author: Meinhaj Hussain, Asad Khan
Straight to the Points
PTI will use all recovered assets of corruption cases for educating the youth of Pakistan.
- Some of the Governor houses, PM house, and other symbols of pomp and glory will be turned into education institutions.
- Excessive land and property owned by the military will also be utilized to start new colleges and universities
- All schools and madrassahs, public or private, must follow a new standard national curriculum.
- Foreign qualifications like O Levels and A Levels will be rationalized, localized and progressively brought to the national curriculum.
- Scholarships and stipend schemes for poor students will be instituted to fund students rather than schools
- PTI will benchmark the Pakistani education system with the highly successful Finnish education system. Best practices will be adopted from a careful study, and localized to the Pakistani environment# (See a short description here: http://www.businessinsider.com/finland-education-school-2011-12#finnish-children-dont-start-school-until-they-are-7-1)
- E-book reader production started at PAC Kamra will be taken to a new level by PTI, mass producing e-book readers for Pakistani students.
- PTI will champion a world-class online library and ebook archive, the latter will be modeled on Project Gutenberg, and will include Urdu language books. This online library and e-book archive will be available free of cost.
- PTI will establish a public-private partnership to create an Amazon.com-like online book store and will revamp the post-office to ensure effective book delivery throughout Pakistan. This will provide entire Pakistan access to books, no matter how remotely located the household.
- PTI will set up a national institution with the sole purpose of translating major journals and published materials, particularly those related to science and technology to Urdu.#
- A focus on technical education, science and engineering to provide employable skills for students. Technical education to also focus on developing manpower skills for export and on the needs of industry.
- PTI will emphasize practical and hands-on technical education; that can provide skills and meaningful employment to people.
- Develop Research & Development centers to utilize talented Pakistani engineers and scientists for the benefit of the country and to stall brain drain. Existing R&D institutions will be revamped and restructured for maximum effectiveness#
- The PTI government will emphasize scientific innovation through extensive local, regional and national science and technology fairs, where the government will provide rich monetary incentives to bring forward that talent of the people.
- Establish literacy centers throughout the country with specific focus on addressing literacy of women, but more broadly for everyone
- Establish internship opportunities from school age onwards, with a greater emphasis on opportunities towards engineering and sciences
- Allow for the development of technical colleges which focus on key skills of specific regions i.e. agricultural, textiles, manufacturing etc – but also have an education that allows for literacy, reasoning and articulation
- Allow for a number of scholarships towards higher education for the most able of students, with greater emphasis towards engineering/social sciences
- Double number of girls schools in 5 years
- All other new schools built will be co-educational institutions. Conversion of gender segregated schools to co-education where possible.
- Beating students, shouting at them, or using excessive language or punishments will be forbidden and teachers engaging in such behaviour will be removed.#
- Teachers will be given the same status and respect as lawyers, engineers, scientists, bureaucrats and other professionals. Teachers will be selected from the top 10% of graduates. Teacher development courses including master’s degrees will be subsidized by the state, to fully facilitate their professional growth.
- A National Examination Monitoring Authority (NEMA) will be setup that monitors all national examinations and examinations in national schools, colleges and universities to ensure that there are no repetitive patterns that could create the basis for the perpetuation of the rote-learning culture. If an education institution is found to show such repetitive patterns, they may face heavy penalties from NEMA. NEMA may also check the quality of examination through spot checks and quality analysis of examination marking.
- PTI will change the national curriculum focus from rote-learning to understanding and creative thinking. PTI will focus on eradicating the blind rote-learning culture, and instead, encourage creativity in all work, particularly academic work
- The PTI government will emphasize an education where students are taught to love education rather than trained to hate it.
- PTI will ensure all schools and madrassas teach Islam properly, with a unified non-sectarian religious education. This education will be formulated in-line with Allama Iqbal’s general approach and will also take its methodology from the Bayyinah Institute and its founder, Nouman Ali Khan. Brother Nouman Ali Khan is a Pakistani-American whose approach has helped unite the Muslim community there, and his courses provide a non-sectarian and unifying approach to understanding the Quran#. Minorities may opt out of such religious education.
- Under PTI, schools will teach children the manner and etiquettes of how to discuss, argue, cooperate and work in groups and teams.
- Establish a dawah training program for secondary and tertiary education, based on, and in consultation with, Dr. Zakir Naik and his Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). (Such a proposal will be popular with the Islamic crowd, particularly the Tableghi Jama’at)
- PTI will establish national, regional and international exchange programs for students from different districts and provinces to live and experience a different part of Pakistan to foster stronger national identity and mutual understanding. This will also help widen the horizon of students.
- All elected officials will spend a minimum of 2 hours every week teaching literacy classes to the people, providing real and immediate benefit to the people. This may also be teaching specific subjects or logic.
- A national effort will be made to convert Pakistan’s major universities to research universities and to double the annual PhD graduates from about 50 today to a hundred, in the space of the next 5 years.
- PTI will look to revitalize the Human Sciences to make their education more practical and effective, and to Islamize un-Islamic aspects. A fundamental rethink of the Human Sciences will be initiated under PTI which will bring in an Islamic understanding and syntheses for the Human Sciences to not only match the West but to look beyond.#
- Basic education should establish a skills base that will encourage learning (literacy, logic and rhetoric/articulation are recommended) prior to students attending mandatory education. Suitable literature should be produced/reproduced to help brief parents on these issues)
- Establish the teaching of formal logic, this should combine elements from both the greek/western traditions as well as Muntiq/Islamic Logic
- Develop opportunities toward mandatory public speaking to help develop attributes towards articulation
- Mandatory physical education, particularly of martial arts and team sports
- Put a greater focus on mastering different subjects first before progression – i.e. not to teach maths/English/science/etc in parallel but to teach one of them to a sufficiently high level, then move to another subject – the continuity and the mastery in this form would be far superior, even if in fewer subjects and examinations could be taken after the completion period of each subject#
- Need to create a publicly accessible information library in every municipality of supplementary information – key literature/tools/ideas toward the teaching of core skills – freely accessible
- Development of materials with real-life educative potential i.e. have ‘competitions’ of sorts, aimed at real life problems (overcrowding, food-shortages, building designs etc) with potential towards scholarships, using case studies of past projects within a municipality#
- Encourage parallel forms of schooling and equivalency amongst these forms i.e. homeschooling in tribal areas (though the parliamentarian for the region would need to offer services towards teaching) due to their nomadic nature
- Eliminate age stratification in classes and allow students to mix with all ages – the bests schools do this
- Allow impromptu opportunities for students to pursue learning experience outside of the classroom – i.e. allow students to pursue an active interest in cricket# (even if this classes with classroom teaching time) but create an education opportunity from it (write a report about techniques of bowling, batting, opinions of rules, team/batting formations when chasing a high school, etc) – again this is more creative and has more application in real life
- Encourage entrepreneurship and encourage challenging the status quo – with the caveat within reasonable limits – but do not discourage this from happening, if students challenge pre-suppositions of anything they learn, encourage not discourage.
- Have mandatory courses on ‘financial education’ and other aspects of the law that can encourage entrepreneurship and once again, use case studies such as establishing a company, preparing relevant documents, attracting capital#
- Allow for re-enfranchisement plans for people who would like to re-enter education
- Do not impose age limits on education opportunities at any level
- Allow for the creation of Online schools (Mentioned in other document in some more detail)
- Have cross-curricular projects for significant parts of the education process, i.e have a full term dedicated toward a project where students will need to develop solutions, ideas etc to a given project under different constraints (so-called functional skills)
- Allow for non-exam equivalencies to matriculation – i.e. a confirmation of competency through an equivalency project, job-styled interview with case studies
- The education paradigm for the tribal areas is proving to be the toughest part, but I don’t want it to be that they become forced towards city centres for an education. Possibly have something like Engineers Without Borders where there are small teams going into villages for periods of time to give an education – but this would need to focus on things more specific to tribal areas, but also allow for those that may want to move away from it to pursue more standard education model. Again, main focus should be on literacy, reasoning and rhetoric.