EDUCATION

 

PROFILE A. RASHID IBRAHIM
COLUMN FOR THE RECORD
POLITICS & POLICY 1- ELECTION 2002
2-
REDUCING POVERTY
EDUCATION  GUIDING COLLEGE STUDENT TO BETTER EDUCATION
SOCIETY  HUMAN RESOURCE: A KEY TO ORGANIZATIONAL SUCCESS

 

GUIDING COLLEGE STUDENTS TO BETTER EDUCATION

 

Education is the means through which the economic development gap can be bridged in a shorter period

 

By Muhammad Bashir Chaudhry
Sep 23 - 29, 2002

Admissions to Karachi colleges are in progress. The Sindh government colleges are pursuing Central Admission Policy and therefore the process would be completed in over a month's time. Classes are expected to start from the middle of October 2002. The private colleges are in a position to finalize the admissions quickly and start classes without much loss of time. Same is the case with the federal government colleges. The students of Sindh government colleges most probably will not be doing any studies until the admissions are finalized and regular classes start in their colleges. It can be said that about two months of the students' time has not been utilized very properly. The Central Admissions Committee and other authorities associated with the admission process are conscious of the issue but they appear overwhelmed by the extensive admissions work. There is need to drastically reduce the time taken by the admissions. Better planning, coordination, use of computers, etc are steps that could help. In addition, certain guidelines might be released to the students to make better use of the intervening time up to start of regular classes.

Guidelines might also familiarize the students with the prevailing resource constraints and the measure with which the students can improve their academic performance and thus enhance their chances for higher education or better employment opportunities. The parents and the teachers may also motivate the student. This article is an attempt to outline the Guidelines initiative. Senior educationists may also contribute to assist our students for making the most of the college days.

DEVELOPING PROFICIENCY/SKILLS FOR LIFE

There are certain college subjects that are studied even otherwise as well. The sound base developed by the students in early years or during high school, can serve them well when they take the same subjects in colleges. Most of the students will be able to master these subjects easily and they shall have ample time for other difficult subjects. The following topics fall in this category:

Languages Proficiency: Communication- both verbal and written- is basic requirement in higher studies as well as in the practical life in whatever capacity. Urdu and mostly English are used in everywhere. The students must realize the importance of proficiency in both these languages and try developing it through consistent effort. There is no short cut to language proficiency, for which the students can use their spare time. Extensive reading of quality books can help improve vocabulary, and correct use of words. Writing skills- be it Urdu or English- can only be developed by sustained practice. The students shall have to make a habit of improving proficiency. Sindhi is the sweet language of the people of the province of Sindh and must be learnt. Proficiency or basic knowledge of other provinces languages may also be useful.

Religious Education and National History: These are usually covered in the colleges as compulsory or optional subjects. Every adult man or woman is expected to possess certain proficiency in these matters. Proficiency developed in early life and improved during holidays can be a big help. If the students have already studied these subjects extensively, they may allocate minimal time to fully prepare these subjects. Time saved this way will be available for improving other subjects that are difficult or simply need more time, as the syllabus is long.

General Knowledge: Together with common sense, general knowledge is God's gift and must be developed and improved through conscious and continued efforts. This will particularly help the students in many areas and situations for success and prosperity in practical life.

Useful Skills: In developed countries it is generally understood that all persons possess driving license and are fully conversant in the use of computers. In Pakistan, now most employers expect all employees to be in possession of these skills. Many college students in the country have these skills, yet there are large numbers that lack either or both. It is largely due to family circumstances. Given the financial means, every student should try to acquire these skills as early as possible.

STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE

Intelligence is God given no doubt, but regularity in studies and hard work can help improve final grades in different subjects. The students who top in the final examinations are in most cases ordinary student. However, they follow the study schedule systematically and consistently. Others can also do it. Following approach may help:

Overall Study Plan: Organisation and planning are important in life; these are also essential for college studies. Extents of syllabus for each subject, likely dates for the final examination, actual college study days, etc are the factor used to plan the study load for each day. Contingency for holidays, religious festivals, sickness, interim examinations, family trips or visits and the time for revisions need to be excluded from the days available. Each student may determine his study schedule accordingly and actually start the study from day one. Regularity in the studies is a must.

Preparing for Class Lectures: Preparation is that the student reviews at home the topic to be covered the next day. Difficult points are particularly noted for seeking clarifications from the teachers or other fellow students. Prior study helps in better understanding of the lecture and the important points are better assimilated. The lecture notes during class will also be better. The students should develop the habit of taking notes in clear and legible handwriting with sufficient blank space left for subsequent addition of allied points later by the students after reference to the prescribed books. These notes should be the final notes. These notes are better not lent to friends, misplaced or lost, particularly near final examinations. The college students must realize that the college teachers would only guide them on major points; they will not be teaching the students comprehensively as is done by the school teachers.

Consulting Teachers and Using Library: The classes mostly are overcrowded. All students might not get the opportunity to seek clarification from teachers on complex points. In such situations, the students must respectively approach the teachers during free periods and seek clarifications. The teachers would normally help and guide the students. The teachers can also guide the students by pointing out to particular library books that relate to the topic and would further clarify. The students on their own should form the habit of making best use of the library for studies or general knowledge.

Attendance: In order to appear in the final examination, minimum75 % attendance is required. Each student must comply it. The students must come on time to the class, attentively listen the teacher and leave the class only after the teacher has left. Each day the students have to make sure that the teachers have recorded their attendance. The students better be careful with their health and outings also. Moreover, if the students skip the classes, it would not be easy for them to learn the topics covered by the teachers in their absence. They must not miss the opportunity of guidance by the teachers.

Bonus Hours: Every one has day-night of 24 hours, but there are some who manage to stretch their hours beyond that. The students can easily do it. For example they can read or revise the lessons while traveling to college or while lying on the bed before sleep catches on. Each student can discover such opportunities according to his or her life style. Time given to TV or Films may be curtailed to give more time to studies.

Examinations: Performance of students is gauged through internal or external written examinations. Academically better-prepared students can write clearly legible answers and organize their time well and are expected to get better grades in the examinations. Students must review question papers first and decide on questions that they can attempt well and in what order. Fewer questions done well may yield more marks than sloppy answers of more questions. The students are advised to prepare the subject well and then go to the examination hall with confidence.

CHARACTER BUILDING

Colleges provide big opportunities to the students to get glimpses of real life situations. They meet different people who come with different social or ethnic backgrounds. They study; play and while away the time together. They learn many things from the teachers, from student senior to them as well as their classmates and the juniors. This interaction helps mold the personality of the students. The following areas are of particular interest:

Good Traits: Honesty, truth, discipline, respect for elders, love to children, etc are the traits that make a person noble in the eyes of people and before Allah Almighty. The employers consider these traits as positive and give preference to such employees. The students might adopt these traits for life.

Relationships: The students develop in the college develop friendship with certain students while others remain acquaintance throughout. Some friendships last lifetime while others go in the background as time passes. Basis of friendship should be common interest in the good causes. Friendship should not be gangster style, and the students may well stay away from such associations.

Team Spirit: Life is teamwork, be it in house, in office or in any other field. The basis is working for achieving lawful common objective. In the team, every one cannot be the leader. Only one student shall lead and the others will support him in different functions and in specific capacities. This is true for team games, debating societies, drama clubs, bringing out college magazine, etc. These are healthy activities and each student must participate in at least one such activity. These activities prepare the students for the role they shall be playing in real life in future. Sometimes dirty politics creeps in such activities and the students form different factions. If such is the case, better stay away from active participation.

ROLE OF THE TEACHERS AND PARENTS

The students when join colleges are mostly of tender age. Their bodies and mental capabilities are in formative stage and they readily accept impressions. The teachers and the parents can help the students do well in studies and acquire good personality traits to serve them in future life. Expected role of the teachers, parents and those closely associated with them is briefly discussed below:

The Teachers: Teachers are the role models for the students. The teachers in old days taught selflessly. The present day teachers can also do that and bridge the knowledge gap that Pakistan presently suffers with the developed countries. The teachers in those lands are better equipped, qualified and motivated financially. Pakistan can pay them modestly in money terms but they will earn respect from the students and parents, that is more valuable and long lasting. The teachers should come to class better prepared; take the students along for better grasp and appreciation of the topics discussed; make up for the shortfall in quality of course books through personal study of the books in the advanced countries and help instill in the students good traits for character buildings. There is perhaps still time to improved quality of education of the college students. We should all work for that. There may not be a second chance.

College Principals: Through better planning, organization and administrative measures, the college principals and the administrators can help improve quality of education and enhance the actual days of study. They can provide facilities, particularly through the college libraries and computer labs, to the college teachers to try to bring the syllabus to the modern levels and to deliver lectures in better atmosphere. The students would learn better if the conditions in the colleges were conducive. Funds are always short with the college administrators. The Principals can help the students by first ensuring provision of the essentials. They must get good value for the money spent. Wastage and pilferage must be eliminated. Where considered appropriate in the interest of the college and the students, they may seek assistance from welfare organizations, the parents and the general public. In my opinion they have the pivotal role for improving the standard of education as well as the facilities in the colleges for welfare, both the teachers and the taught.

The Parents: They have the major role and in their own interest they must find time to see that the colleges provide better educations and that the students actually benefit from it. They have to do much more than meeting educational and other expenses of their sons and daughters. Like a teacher in the college, they have to take keen interest in the studies as well as extra-curricular activities of their children. Occasionally they should meet the teachers, the principal, other parents and other students, to assess the progress their children are making. This will also provide them opportunities to learn many things from others. It must also be realized that in the times to come, the college fees and other related charges will increase as the government alone might not be able to provide quality education to the children. They will also come to know if the college needs any material or moral help to overcome certain situations.

Relatives and Friends: They can also help the students by giving timely advice. The may assist the colleges by providing certain material or books or computers free of cost, as per their capacity. This will be a demonstration of their kindness not only to that student related to them but also the other students who may not be that fortunate to have such resourceful friends or relatives. Allah Almighty will reward their actions for provision of better education to the students. They owe it to their country.

Concluding Remarks: At present the quality matters most in every thing. This is very true for education. Developing countries badly lag behind the developed countries in most fields including education. Unless we improve our standards particularly of education, we shall be left behind to join the poorest countries and will be treated accordingly. To avoid such a fate, it is essential that we individually as well as collectively put in real hard work to improve our education standards and thus reduce the gap with the developed world. Education is the means through which the economic development gap can be bridged in a shorter period. The challenge is, in my opinion, worth taking and we should rise to the occasion.