Education for all

Editorial Board
Friday, May 26, 2023

Sindh’s education sector is riddled with inefficiencies. The surge of privately-run schools led to a tragic downfall of public schools in the province to the extent that most people refuse to send their children to a state-owned school if they fail to afford the high fees of private schools. In Karachi, the mushroom growth of private schools provides good alternatives to the majority or well-off families, but in other parts of Sindh, especially in small cities, students have to rely on untrained teachers for at least their high school graduation. Because of the government’s inefficiency, under-privileged students fail to compete with their peers and often obtain low grades in crucial examinations that make or break their careers. It seems that the Sindh government has finally taken notice of the issues plaguing the province’s education sector and is now adamant to rectify past mistakes. Under the recently approved teaching licence policy, the provincial government aims at providing some level of security to teachers and ensuring that all teachers pass a rigorous licensing test before choosing teaching as a full-time profession.

Many independent documentaries in the past have shown the dismal performance of public teachers. The problem is so severe that economists and former ministers have even advised launching a voucher scheme for deserving parents to enable them to send their children to private schools instead of strengthening public schools. Under the licencing policy, Bachelor of Education (BEd) graduates will be able to take a licencing exam, which will test a teacher’s knowledge related to content and teaching methods. According to PPP leader Murtaza Wahab, the policy will be applicable to both public and private sectors. Issues in the country’s education system are countless, and it will require years and concerted efforts on the part of the government to fix them. But so far, the policy looks a step in the right direction. For a long time, teaching has been treated as a low-priority profession by many professionals. The lenient policies adopted by the private sector have allowed underqualified teachers to land a teaching job.

With this new policy, we expect to see well-trained, qualified and competent teachers. This will also allow students from less privileged backgrounds to have a chance at acquiring quality education and becoming an integral part of the workforce. There are thousands of degree-holders who are unemployed mostly because the education they received was subpar. The financial background of a child’s family should not have any effects on his/her right to quality education. Now the provincial government should ensure that the policy is implemented amicably, and that the existing teachers are providing ample training opportunities to help them pass the licencing test. A nation cannot progress without education, and it is extremely important for all stakeholders involved to work for providing affordable education to all citizens.