The persistence of outdated teaching methods in science in Pakistan’s classrooms, coupled with a lack of emphasis on developing qualified science teachers, is holding back the country’s potential to excel in science and technology, according to public and private sector experts speaking at a policy dialogue at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development.
The policy dialogue brought together a panel of experts from Alif Ailaan, the Sindh Curriculum Bureau, the Institute of Business Administration as well as science teachers from schools and universities to discuss how to transform education practices so that today’s students can become tomorrow’s innovators.
“Innovation in science and technology begins by inspiring students about the possibilities of science. Too many classrooms across the country have teachers using rote learning methods that fail to involve students and limit their ability to apply their knowledge to the world around them,” said Professor Nelofer Halai from the Institute of Educational Development.
On the reasons why rote learning methods remain prevalent in schools, experts noted that there are serious gaps in the content knowledge of teachers at all levels of the education system.
Specialist teachers for science are only present at college level; even though all students from primary to secondary to higher education should have access to knowledgeable, trained teachers. Since many of today’s teachers lack confidence in their understanding of the subject, they focus on telling students how to pass exams instead of teaching them how to think for themselves, the panel noted.