Aao Parhao – The forever existing struggle for education

Published: April 19, 2015
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Teaching is a profession which plays a crucial role in making children successful in their future. PHOTO: AFP

Half of my life I’ve been taught by people who never wanted to become teachers, but were forced to do so.

Teaching is often considered a last resort by many, when they have tried their luck with everything else. And this, in turn, reflects the quality of their work. Many take this profession lightly, not understanding the colossal role this profession has to undertake.

After all,

“How hard can teaching little children be?”

Right?

Why there is a need to recruit well-educated and willing teachers

The relationship between a student and a teacher is crucial. It either makes or breaks us. Throughout my student life, I came across teachers who were feared and talked about behind their backs. While that’s a shameful thing to do, it also showed how unwilling the teachers were to change their ways. They knew they were not respected, but they couldn’t care less.

It is imperative for any school to hire qualified teachers. Why? Because teachers interact with students at a time when their minds are very fragile and susceptible to change, and if not dealt with care, a bad teacher can have adverse affects on his/her students.

Teachers need to have the skill to interact positively with their students and help them indulge in meaningful activities. For this, there are many institutions in Pakistan who not only aim at making a connection with young learners, but also trainer individuals to effectively take up their teaching avatars.

The need for Pakistan to promote social inclusion

There is this social enterprise in Islamabad named Lettuce Bee Kids (LBK). I’m sure most of you would know about them. What you don’t know probably, is how it was formed.

The story of Sarah Adeel’s LBK began when she met four street children who did not know what painting was. They did not know how people painted, nor were they ever told about it. It was apparent that these children were being socially ignored.

This story behind the conception of LBK is not decades old. It happened just a few years ago. And I’m sure there are many more children that have no idea what painting is even today, let alone how a Smartphone works, or what a personal computer is. And somehow, it is largely because of the negligence of their school teachers that they are unaware of these things.

Most street children often study at government schools for the first few years of their lives, after which they are taken out of schools and made to work and earn for the family. However, even in those initial years, the children learn little because the teachers who are present in our public schools lack experience and professionalism.

The role of a teacher

Each summer, LBK organises an internship program where street children from Islamabad are provided a three-month course on basic developmental activities. LBK monitors and scores each child’s progress in four key areas – aptitude, attitude, energy and manner. The last summer internship was very successful. Report cards for each of the children can be viewed here.

Initiatives like these can be great for children. The summer interns were willing to help the kids. And I think that is needed for the education sector; to hire teachers not only on their ability to understand, but also on their ability to deliver.

This brings in a very crucial question, one which has been lingering since the beginning of this blog: How can an unwilling teacher educate children when he/she is only there to earn a living?

That is where our schools need to work. We need motivated teachers who are willing to give their utmost best and help students in whatever way they can. Let’s not play with the future of our children anymore.

The right way forward – empowering the powerless

If we educate a child today, we educate an entire generation. That child will become a teacher one day and will continue to fight illiteracy. That child’s offspring will be an integral part of tomorrow’s society. Teachers and educational institutes will have to play a crucial role in the right upbringing of these children.

Teaching is a profession which plays a crucial role in making children successful in their future. There is a need to implement strict selection criterion for teachers. How can an unwilling teacher educate children when he/she is only there to earn a living? Let’s not play with the future of our children anymore.

This blog is part of an interactive campaign called Aao Parhao – Jo Seekha Hai Wo Sekhao (Come Teach – Teach All That You Have Learnt); a Call-to-Action to help change the future of Pakistani children, launched by the Express Media Group in collaboration with Ilm Ideas.

So join us, by reading, watching and telling us what you think. To be part of the Aao Parhao movement, please visit our website, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter at to get regular updates about all our activities, learn about teaching opportunities and share the stories of inspirational teachers.

Shahroze Naeem

Shahroze Naeem

A freelance writer, a blogger, and an excogitator. He blogs at daddylization.weebly.com/ and tweets @shrznn (twitter.com/shrznn).

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.