For a country that has been able to increase its literacy rate from a mere 16.4% in 1961 to around 60% in the current year, one would imagine that Pakistan is headed towards success. However, this idea vanishes as soon as we look at the state of schools and the quality of the education being delivered.
Granted that a larger population is now able to read and write as compared to the figures in 1961, but what use is this literacy if it cannot be put to use in not only making us better people but contributing to the success of our country. Nothing substantial, really.
The question remains; when all is said and done, what are some things that when implemented can make our education system better. What we need now are ideas, especially those that stem from the research done by educators, psychologists and other professionals that have dedicated their careers to figuring out the most effective way to teach students. To not only groom their personality but nourish their creativity and cognitive skills to a level that is able to help them give back this knowledge in a practical, useful manner.
Jean Piaget, an influential psychologist, came up with the idea of a student-centered approach to learning rather than designing a curriculum for one school term and expecting all students to learn the same way.
If we’re able to devise a test that divides students into different sections, each based on their learning style rather than randomly allocating them to sections, we might see a change in the way students think from an early age. If activities are designed and held once every week, allowing students of different aptitudes and learning styles to work together and explore their strengths, we will not only be catering to their individual styles but also helping them gain the confidence needed later on.
Another valuable way of fostering creativity in students is to abolish the examination system up till secondary school; many children in primary schools are more concerned about achieving high grades in their exams and cannot learn and appreciate knowledge in such a stressful environment. Abolishing exams for children will not only give them the freedom to explore the world as they wish but will also help them question the way this universe works rather than learning facts for the sake of one exam.
Bridging the gap between private and public schools is also an excellent way of not only exchanging knowledge but also promoting diversity of opinion. To improve the condition of public schools in Pakistan, students from private educational institutes should be made to teach at a public school as an internship of a sort and this policy should be made mandatory.
While many schools have the resources for transmitting knowledge effectively, they are either misused by educators who are unaware of how to use modern technology or not used at all and simply used to gain more publicity for the school. This hoarding by school administrations has to be stopped and educated, trusted officials from each community should be appointed to oversee that these resources are used most effectively.
Group and coordinated learning, especially at primary school level are one of the easiest ways to not only help children navigate social situations and gain valuable experience but also develops an interdependence necessary for effective learning. Abolishing competitive learning and instead, making children understand that a task is best accomplished when everyone in a group contributes according to their ability is the easiest way to instill the importance of civic duty, even at this level. Learning circles, according to Carl Rogers, a leading psychologist, are not only important in the sense that they teach children social values but makes them appreciate the process of gaining knowledge.
A true revolution in the sector can only be brought about when all of us come up with ideas that are not only student-centered and practical but also can be implemented at the earliest age in order to instill these values from a young age.
Only in this way can we not only make learning a truly enjoyable experience for all but truly move forward as a nation of leading thinkers, innovators and motivated citizens who contribute effectively to our society!