How Teachers Can Re-gain Respect In Pakistan?
In recent months frequent posts come on Face book glorifying teachers and lamenting on low social status of teachers in Pakistan. The posts compare status of teachers in Pakistan with rest of the world. Having worked long time with teachers AID identified that status of teachers in Pakistan was not so a few decades back. Teacher was a symbol of respect in villages and local communities. Decay started with spread of materialism that teachers too could not with-stand. A few bullets we can mention here that caused respect of teachers drop down:
- Tuition Centers: With advent of concept of tuition teachers started getting casual at educational institutions where they used to take salary from so that the students are forced to join tuition centers established by teachers, after school time. They started imparting real education at tuition centers instead of Schools/Colleges.
- Teacher Absenteeism: In many schools, colleges and public sector universities teachers are found frequently absent. They charge monthly salary without doing anything. In most cases they are found involved in other income earning ventures.
- Ghost Teachers: Initially found in Sindh ghost teachers are widespread found in other parts of Pakistan including Lahore, the heart of Punjab.
- Teacher Truancy: Some of the high schools in Punjab have introduced bio-metric system for teacher attendance. A few months back in vicinity of Lahore, teachers of many high schools were found jumping out of school walls in order to prepare fodder for cattle and come back within school time via same route.
- Sexual Harassment by Teachers: Found ubiquitous in education institutions of all levels. Universities are also no exception. In almost all cases male teachers are involved in harassment.
There must be many other reasons, the point we need to ponder before claiming respect for teachers is that Pakistani society is not inherently anti-teacher. It is driven here where it is today with continuous negative role of teacher. The above points are not to prove teachers as inferior rather that are to open the reasons which undermined respect of a sacred profession with a hope to proper diagnose and address. For improvement a few steps can be incredibly beneficial.
- A brief training course for all teachers on basic human rights
- Strict actions against sexual harassment, absenteeism and truancy matters.
- Department of education must be set free from political influence and formalities of bureaucratic system.
- At school level, role of school council need to be widened. Membership of school council must have some criteria and education level.
- Induction training must include shell breaking sessions. A shell around personality
- hinders overcoming gap between teachers and students.