As the government begins preparations to change the medium of instruction in public schools from Urdu to English in the upcoming academic session, teachers complain they remain unfamiliar with the fresh courses despite trainings.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has announced that from April onwards grade one Mathematics, General Science and Pakistan Studies will be taught in English and with the passage of time the change would be extended to grade 10.
The education department conducted a training session for teachers to enable them to teach the specified subjects in English, however, a number of teachers complain it was difficult for them to meet the requirements even after receiving training.
“We have been teaching the subjects in Urdu for many years and the syllabus is at our fingertips, but the new medium is alien to us,” a teacher from Government High School, Arhat Baba Sherkera, in a village bordering Frontier Region Peshawar, told The Express Tribune.
Requesting anonymity, he said it was good for students to receive education in a language spoken globally. However, he expressed doubts about the existing teachers’ ability to teach under the new format.
“How can I start delivering my lecture in a language I’m not familiar with myself,” he questioned, adding the government should train teachers for longer periods instead of training them for one or two months.
A teacher from Government Primary School, Sherkera said they were never taught one, two, three – instead, they studied aik, doh, teen. “Changing the medium is not a big deal, but along with students, teachers should also be provided the same environment like that of private schools,” he said.
“We will have to follow the directions but the students will be at a loss this way because [they] will neither be able to learn one, two, three nor aik, doh, teen,” he claimed.
The teacher added the training period for teachers of government schools should be at least six months long.
Officials of the education department could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts.
The K-P government has been making several efforts to enhance the province’s literacy rate. Apart from increasing the education sector’s budget, the government also conducted an enrolment drive in which 5 million children were reportedly enrolled in schools.
Before coming into power, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had made promises of a uniform education system for the people of the province as well as rooting out discrimination by ensuring that the same medium of instruction is followed in both public and private schools.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2014.