WE often talk about engaging students, enabling them to become lifelong learners, and helping them improve academically. We focus much less on engaging faculty in schools and colleges. As a result, understanding of their motivation and performance is generally lacking when formulating education policy and goals.
The commitment of the direction of education alone cannot sweep our soil. In fact, every role at every level requires leadership for collective change. Teachers are not just instructors, they are nurturers, facilitators and investors in intellectual capital. In educational institutions, they are the guardians of quality, with access to the realities of students and a direct view of their progress. The quality of education involves much more than obtaining a diploma or a certificate. Quality assurance in schools and colleges depends on strategic public investment in teacher opportunities, resources and capacity building, which requires continuous professional development to improve skills and methods. The value of teachers comes not only from helping students achieve academic goals, but also from being able to drive institutional goals.
Factors that have plagued our school system in recent decades include high teacher turnover as young teachers, especially women, change jobs, leave the workforce after marriage or decide to be mothers in foyer. Older and more experienced teachers tend to use deeply rooted traditional methods. Those with a doctorate hold contingent or tenured positions in higher education institutions, where faculty commitment is not necessarily more pronounced.
Most higher education institutions lack built-in mechanisms to encourage engagement beyond necessary academic goals. Public policy measures should pay particular attention to teachers who complain of being overworked and underpaid, especially those who remain loyal to their posts, are open to growth and demonstrate an ethic of hard work and strong commitment. They are the integral part of the solution to our education crisis.
Motivated teachers find ways to improve their skills.
Most teachers who are motivated and open to professional development opportunities find ad hoc ways to improve their skills. A structured and continuous approach involving reflection, assessments and action plans would lead to implementation and impact. It is hoped that the soon-to-be-appointed HEC president will prioritize training programs that can transform universities from ghost towns into thriving centers of teaching and learning.
A commitment to updating the curriculum and improving the skills of teachers holds a world of promise when we look at the statistics of young scholars in Pakistan. Student enrollment in colleges and universities is nearly five million and growing at an average rate of six percent. As the government commits to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals – particularly SDG 4 – by 2030, closing the gap between enrollment and commitment and faculty may be crucial. can provide the necessary bridge.
Our public spending on education is among the lowest in the world, just over 3% of GDP. When we look at the teacher engagement strategies that have changed the face of higher education around the world, there is a common thread. At the heart of teacher engagement is impactful professional development, in-depth knowledge of the institution’s strategic priorities, and the ability to engage teachers in developing a set of relevant skills to empower students to find concrete solutions. Teachers must also be able to self-regulate, monitor and report progress independently.
Two-way communication between management and faculty helps faculty be part of evolving strategic goals. Innovation in teaching and learning comes from collaborative methods that are used effectively to meet the context and requirements of long-term goals. It also implies that we will have to let go of frameworks that don’t work, re-evaluate the commitment of faculty members, and hire for competence and potential those who have their eye on the ball – those who work not only for their own professional success. , but also for the growth of the establishment.
As Steve Jobs said, “We hire smart people, so they can tell us what to do.” Micromanagement and constant monitoring are a thing of the past, especially in today’s hybrid work culture where competence and commitment are judged by productivity and results, not the number of hours spent in the workplace. This new modus operandi requires internal learning management systems that can accelerate student and faculty learning. Those with a half-baked commitment are weeded out in a demanding work environment where course completion is only part of the job, not the same as student success.
Posted in Dawn, May 29, 2022