TRANSFORMING SCHOOLS INTO PRESTIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING

BSS is raising a burning question of outdated systems and practices at schools around the world

By TAJUMMUL HUSSAIN
Nov 14 - 20, 2005

Educationists around the world have been struggling to bring about a much-needed transformation in the structure of the conventional school that has hardly been touched by the all-encompassing scientific and technological developments. While the rest of the world raced into the cyber age, schools maintained their status quo in structure and model.

These observations were made by CEO Beaconhouse School Systems (BSS) Kasim Kasuri and the system's consultant from the UK, Jude Heaton at a recent meeting organized by BSS to educate journalists and educationists about their 30th anniversary in November and the three-day international conferences in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore to mark the occasion.

BSS is raising a burning question of outdated systems and practices at schools around the world on behalf of renowned educationists and various schools of thought. The conferences in November are aimed at projecting a softer image of Pakistan as a center for global education concern. The event is expected to be the most progressive educational convention ever in Pakistan.

Educationists, visionaries and world leaders are expected to grace the seminar and put their visions and perspectives on the anvil to trigger a revolution in the structure and methodology applied at modern-day schools. Presently, a growing number of people are beginning to realize that schools are not delivering education in a way that applies to practical life in the real world.

The seminar and its speakers will deliberate the role of schools and teachers and how they need to adapt to the demands of the times, the evolution of a classroom into a practical, integrated unit, focusing on developing the critical and analytical faculties of students, and the elimination of the forces that ensure the status quo in the fundamentals of schooling and education to maintain their hegemony.

Furthermore, speakers will also delve into the curriculum, its significance to the student, and how it can be tailor-made to maximize students' potential, the question of whether or not examinations are the most valid procedure to monitor and assess a child's skills and learning capacity, and other radical ideas that set the wheels of change in motion. The medressahs in Pakistan will also be in the spotlight since they constitute an integral part of our education system and are classified as schools.

Another issue that will be addressed, although relatively alien to Pakistan, is the concept of home schooling which is rapidly reshaping the way children choose to be educated as parents and their off-springs speculate if schools really deliver education that suits the needs of their children and develop their mental and physical faculties.

Some of the speakers at the seminar include Shahnaz Wazir Ali, former Federal Education Minister, Claude Alvares from India who is a leading critic of the thoughtless way in which the developing world has followed blindly on the education system imposed by the West, internationally recognized educationists Pervez Hoodboy, Manish Jain, Steve Lloyd, Wasif Rizvi, Susan Waltham, Tony Wright and Naom Chomsky among others.

Although the seminar is not expected to change the modus operandi of schools around the world, it is the first of its kind and is meant to act as a starting point for a revolution in the medieval tradition of contemporary schooling.

TOTAL NUMBER OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS BY PROVINCES 2000-01

 

Mosque

Primary

+Primary

Middle

High

HighSec

Punjab

8,082

44,068

52,150

6,227

4,430

312

Sindh

-

39,049

39,049

2,084

1,460

138

NWFP

3,210

19,165

22,375

1,970

1,383

181

Balochistan

813

9,000

9,813

690

479

-

*ICT

18

232

250

50

82

32

**FATA

231

3,164

3,395

308

202

8

***FANA

-

1,142

1,142

152

119

-

****AJK

-

1,409

2,948

4,357

992

543

Pakistan

13,763

1,18,768

1,32,531

12,473

8,698

711

*Islamabad Capital Territory
**Federally Administered Tribal Areas
***Federally Administered Northern Areas
****Azad Jammu and Kashmir

Source: Pakistan School Education Statistics 2000-2001, Academy of Educational Planning and Management, Ministry of Education, Islamabad.