Conflating academic achievement with education is an age-old and global dilemma. Pakistan is no different. While students of the masses are relegated to whatever education is available (or not), the education of the elite brings its own set of challenges, particularly around academics.
Challenges of Education in Pakistan
Toxic Academic Competition
To justify their existence, private schools create and promote a culture of toxic academic competition and put the onus of learning on the student, not the school. Any complaints about the quality of teaching or academic performance are met with comparisons to “other students” in the class who get it (and for good measure, behave better, come to school cleaner, have more attention at home etc. - everything an anxious parent doesn’t really want to hear).
Underqualified Teachers and Education Entrepreneurs
Almost all teachers at these educational businesses are underqualified, and most have never studied the subject they are hired to teach. This perfect recipe for disaster is often met by that coveted “name brand teacher” who these schools beg to join them, in the hopes of attracting their “following” and thereby higher admission numbers.
This name-brand teacher is another education entrepreneur who has successfully identified and monetized the pain point of the market. Usually, s/he only works at a school to sustain a steady flow of students to their evening tuition academy classes. After completing paltry fractions of the syllabus, this tutor unabashedly asks students to come to the tuition centres AT EXTRA CHARGE to finish the complete syllabus, or for exam practice, or for those coveted notes that the tutor will only reveal a few days before the exam to their “select students”. The schools, already under pressure from these name-brand teachers to drive their own, never raise an eyebrow at this conduct.
It would be acceptable if the loss were only financial. However, today, at the most elite schools in Pakistan that are purportedly training the future leadership of this country, disengaged students are sleeping, or playing around in classes. Their common refrain is, “We will study this at the tuition center -- don’t bother us right now.” What does a teacher say to that? What does a parent do? What can a school principal do?
It is time to put an end to this and give young children in this country their lives back. Students need 3-4 hours of efficiently and effectively delivered teaching at most every day. The rest of their day should be spent getting the right exercise, socialization, sleep and food. Out-Class’ founding team welcomes conversations with parents, or parent groups, who are eager to find ways to make their educational experiences, more wholesome ones.