A teacher is a vehicle of learning and delivery, said Syeda Arfa Zahra – who has been a teacher for more than 40 years – while paying tribute to educationist Anita Ghulam Ali.
Zahra was addressing a session in a large classroom with a projector, where teachers from different schools of Karachi were being trained in order to improve their output. Zahra shared her views on ‘Sculpturing the Mind’ on the second day of the 30th Spelt International Conference held at the Bahria College on Saturday.
Zahra encouraged the 20 teachers in the room to reflect upon Anita Ghulam Ali’s life. “I don’t want you to observe a moment of silence for her, but rather live out a life that reflects her goals.”
Emphasising on the importance of a teacher for developing an educated nation, the professor said, “If you are teaching 50 students, then you are shaping 50 minds.”
Criticising the system
In Pakistan, education has no value, it is just a good business, claimed Zahra . “They are just building dozens of schools, charging high fees and ignoring the quality of education,” criticised the trainer. “Only profits and the bottom line matter to these people, as it is not about educating the nation for them.”
For Zahra, the divide in quality of education is worrying. “We should create bridges, not erect walls,” she said.
What the teachers should do
Zahra wanted teachers to produce creative minds and critical thinkers. “Challenge the students so that they are forced to visit libraries or search the topic online.”
To build a healthy relation with student, teachers should relate to them and their situation. “For almost an hour, you are the king of the classroom,” she said. “[In that time], you can deliver the right message.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2014.