A multi-million-rupee initiative meant to increase the skills of primary school teachers in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is failing to achieve its objectives because of mismanagement, the teachers participating in the programme told.
In July last year, the K-P Elementary and Secondary Education Department had signed an memorandum of understanding with the British Council to improve the teaching quality in the province’s primary schools. It was decided that the British Council would assist the department in training 83,000 primary school teachers in 25 districts of the province till April this year.
The K-P government bore 70 per cent of the Rs568 million project’s cost, while the British Council covered the rest and trained the teachers using modern techniques and technology including manuals, cell phones and computers.
The elementary education department and the Directorate of Curriculum and Teacher Education (DCTE) were assigned the task of supervising the project.
In the first phase of the programme, the department provided a list of 1,500 teachers to the British Council, which selected 500 teachers for master training after an assessment. These individuals went through a rigorous training in Islamabad last year, completed tests and received certificates from the British Council.
Overhaul: MoU signed to raise teaching standards at primary schools Their task now was to go to their respective districts and teach what they had learnt to the teachers there so that teaching practices could be improved in schools. However, several master trainers complained that there was a lack of coordination between the stakeholders concerned and the consequent mismanagement was preventing them from achieving that goal.
A teacher from Battagram district who received a master trainer certificate said teachers were supposed to be trained in 25 districts by this month, but so far training sessions had been conducted 11 districts only. Besides, training sessions have been postponed in three districts including Mansehra and Battagram because training material and equipment were unavailable there. The teacher requested not to be named fearing the education department’s retribution.
He said the first phase of training 500 master trainers went well but the problem came when they had to visit the field and teach their peers. ‘Setting up a training venue and providing the necessary material was the DCTE’s responsibility but instead of facilitating us, they kept telling us to pick up training material from our respective district education offices and conduct training sessions on our own expense,’ he added.
Incentive programme: K-P govt to honour best teachers, schools The teacher said there was no coordination between the DCTE and the district education offices.
Female trainers were most affected by this, he added, because they had to use poor transport facilities to visit remote areas and they eventually gave up. Another master trainer complained of the same issues. He said as the DCTE and district education offices had not provided them with the required facilities, they could not work.
‘It’s not our job to collect training equipment and take it to venues,’ he added. DCTE Assistant Director Teachers Training Zuhra Khatoon conceded that because of a shortage of funds, they were unable to provide transport facilities to the trainers.