TEACHERS AT SECONDARY AND COLLEGE LEVEL IN PUNJAB

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The importance of education for the revival of a society cannot be denied. According to Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, "the training of a human mind is incomplete without education, as education contributes a lot in making man a right thinker." (Khan, 2010) While making decisions for the need of teachers, the policy makers and educational administrators considers several factors. The total number of teachers required in a district or city or village depends upon the enrollment of students in schools and colleges, the rate of teachers' retirement and turn over and the desired teacher-student ratios required in that area. According to Yasin, "factors such as high immigration rates within a population or policies on reducing class size also contribute to the demand for new teachers." (Yasin, 1998)

The present research is about the demand and supply of teachers at secondary school and college level in Punjab. The research analyzes that whether the education department of Punjab has been able to provide quality education and fulfilled the requirement of teachers in schools and colleges especially in rural areas. The present research also analyzes the initiative of the present government for converting Urdu Medium schools into English Medium and its relation to the demand and supply of teachers.

Statement of the Problem

Meeting the demand of supplying competent teachers to secondary schools and college level in Punjab is essential for improving the quality of education in these schools and colleges. These schools and colleges especially the government institutions depend upon the education department for improving the quality of education and for the provision of professional and qualified teachers. The rural areas need special attention from the education department to improve the quality of education. The rural areas often lack competent teachers due to the location, low salary and fewer facilities. Teachers hesitate from teaching in such areas. The present government's initiative of converting Urdu Medium schools to English Medium has posed a new challenge for these schools. This research analyzes the demand and supply of teachers in schools and colleges of Punjab and provides viable solution for creating balance between demand and supply of teachers in Punjab.

1.2 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to explore the balance between demand and supply of teachers in the secondary schools and college level in Punjab. The research analyzes various reasons which lead to the demand of teachers in schools and colleges. The research provides a viable solution for solving the problem of quality education and filling the vacancies of qualified teachers in schools and colleges of Pakistan. The paper also assesses that whether the conversion of Urdu Medium schools into English Medium has posed the need for requirement of the competent teachers.

Scope of the Research

The present research is an extensive study on the demand and supply of qualified teachers at secondary and college level in Punjab. The research covers the needs and demands of the schools and colleges in rural and urban areas for filling the gap of quality education and problems faced by schools and colleges in the employment of competent teachers. The research also analyzes the demand and supply of teachers in the Urdu Medium schools which have been converted to English Medium schools.

1.4 Importance of the Research

This research would prove to be an extensive study on solutions required for creating balance between the demand and supply of teachers at secondary and college level in Punjab. It has analyzed the demands of the schools and colleges especially that of rural areas in providing competent teachers to them. The research has also emphasized the requirement of competent teachers in the Urdu Medium schools which have been converted to English Medium.

1.5 Justification of the Research

The topic of the research is appropriate, as conducting research on the demand and supply of teachers has revealed useful facts related to the provision of quality education to students at secondary and college level. This research would be useful in long run as it has provided solutions for overcoming the supply of competent teachers in Punjab.

Hypothesis

Rural and poor communities in Pakistan face the greatest need for teachers. They face additional challenges such as retaining of teachers, who may be attracted to the higher salaries which are offered to them in cities. The supply of teachers has greatly grown over the past ten years. Keeping in view the demand for teachers, the supply of teachers must continue to increase. The demand for new teachers may differ by district or village and it depends upon the local population growth, teachers' retirements and turn over, immigration rates and salaries offered to them. With the conversion of all Urdu Medium schools to English Medium schools in Punjab, the demand for qualified and professional teachers in these schools have increased.

Literature Review

Academic Reviews

According to Goel, "A man becomes a rational animal when he becomes educated." (Goel, 2007) Education is essential for the moral and learning developments of humans. It contributes to the national economic growth and poverty reduction. The population of Punjab accounts for 60% population of Pakistan. (Sayed, 2007) There are about 64,000 educational institutes in Punjab, out of which 44,000 are primary schools. (Sayed, 2005) There are over 500,000 employees in these institutes, out of which 350,000 are teachers. (Sayed, 2005) There are approximately 11 million enrolments in these institutes. (Sayed, 2005) According to John Wall, Country Director of World Bank; "Improvements in education outcomes in Punjab have the potential for country-wide impact." (McCutcheon, 2007) Reduction in poverty can be achieved by addressing the root cause of poverty, that is; lack of education and skills.

According to a World Bank report, the quality of education provided by the public sector in Pakistan is very low. This is due to "low competency of teachers, lack of quality textbooks and learning materials, lack of classroom-based support for teachers, lack of the assessment of students, poor supervision and poor sector governance and management." (World Bank, "Third Punjab Education" 2006). In rural areas, there is lack of qualified teachers, as they hesitate to work due to numerous reasons such as lack of motivation, low salaries, lack of facilities in schools and poor working conditions.

In 2003, the Punjab Education Sector Reform Program (PESRP) was launched for the purpose of improving quality, access and governance in the education sector of Punjab. This program comprised of supply-side initiatives including upgrading of schools and filling vacancies of teachers. A number of reforms involving teachers' recruitment, professional development of teachers, production of textbooks and improvement in the examination system were implemented. (UNESCO, 2007) With the support of UNICEF and the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), PESRP has given high priority to teachers in its new reform programme. (McCutcheon, 2007) In order to meet the surging demand of teachers, approximately 50,000 teachers have been hired since 2003. About 100,000 teachers have been trained through refresher courses in "child-centered teaching practices." (McCutcheon, 2007)

The government has taken effective measures to improve the quality of education in Punjab. The EFA (Education for All) National Plan of Action (NPA) 2015 figures out numerous issues regarding teacher supply, training and Supervision. (UNESCO, 2007) The NPA emphasizes the need for 118,000 teachers up to 2015 in order to meet the Universal Primary Education targets. (UNESCO, 2007) There is lack of teachers in schools and colleges of Punjab due to slow replacement of retired teachers, less number of teachers in primary schools and fewer teachers are recruited on permanent basis. The EFA NPA has suggested relaxation of qualifications for teachers in rural areas and for providing specific incentives to them in order to fill the gap of teachers. (UNESCO, 2007) By providing in-service training to teachers, the quality of education will greatly improve in these schools and colleges. The government is establishing Professional Development centers for the quality training of teachers.

The government of Pakistan has converted all Urdu Medium schools in Punjab to English Medium schools. With this initiative, the distinction between two classes of education has been removed. This initiative has mainly being taken for competing with the globalized world in the field of knowledge. (The News, 2010) The teachers of these schools have been provided training through English Language courses. The training programs aims at improving teaching and English language skills of the teachers. The teachers have also been offered heavy salary packages. (The News, 2010) The conversion of schools has raised more demand for the supply of professional and competent teachers.

The academic review has shown that the supply of teachers has grown over the past ten years, but due to the continuous increase in demand of teachers especially in rural areas, the supply of teachers must continue to increase for the next decade.

1.8 Methodology

1.8.1 Approach

The research comprises of both Qualitative and Quantitative analysis. The research has gathered information with regard, but not restricted to the following;

Analysis of the demand and supply of teachers in schools and colleges in Punjab.

Problems faced by the education department in supplying competent teachers to schools and colleges in Punjab.

Problems faced by schools and colleges especially in rural areas to fill the gap of quality education and to recruit competent teachers.

Possible solutions for coping with the demand of teachers in schools and colleges in Punjab.

The Qualitative methodology in the present research involves both primary as well as secondary sources. Primary source involves survey of Pakistan Education Assessment System (PEAS). Unstructured interview was conducted from 9 top managers of PEAS. Unstructured Interviews are useful for in-depth survey, as "questions can be changed or adapted in order to meet the respondent's intelligence, understanding or belief." (The Psychology Wiki, 2010) Burns and Grove defines qualitative research as; "The reasoning process used in qualitative research involves perceptually putting pieces together to make wholes. From this process, meaning is produced. However, because perception varies with the individual, many different meanings are possible." (Burns, Grove, 1993). Data is usually gathered through less structured research instruments in qualitative research. Secondary source in the present research comprises of review of books, journals, articles, periodicals, current event news, web material, etc.

Quantitative research has been used by the researcher for gaining firsthand knowledge about the demand and supply of teachers at secondary schools and college level in Punjab. According to Andrew Sanchez, "Quantitative research generates statistics through the use of large-scale survey research, using methods such as questionnaires or interviews". (Sanchez, 2005) Purposive Sampling method had been used for selecting the sample. It uses a specific pre-defined group and does not involve random sampling. Purposive Sampling method is a non-probability sampling method which is chosen "with a purpose in mind." (William, 2006). The sample of the selection of 9 top managers from PEAS is quite appropriate for obtaining information about the demand and supply of teachers at secondary school level and colleges in Punjab.

Keeping in view the above mentioned definitions and explanations, it can be concluded that the use of qualitative as well as quantitative methods for this research has been justified. These methods have provided detailed study of the research topic and have assisted in clarifying all issues related to the demand and supply of teachers at school and college level in Punjab.

1.8.2 Data Gathering Method

The research involved collection of data through primary and secondary sources, that is; direct and indirect observation. Direct observation involved survey of PEAS Department for obtaining views of 9 top managers of the department. Indirect observation involved review of secondary sources such as books, journals, articles, web materials, etc.

1.8.3 Originality and Limitations of the Data

Validity and uniqueness of the data are guaranteed while capturing data and performing analysis. The research emphasizes on the demand and supply of teachers at school and college level in Punjab and filling the gap of quality education in these schools and colleges. As the validity of the data is dependent upon the efficiency of the researcher, the researcher has been careful in keeping the validity of the data during data collection, analysis and while drawing conclusions. Ethical issues are considered during the research process. In order to avoid discrepancies, careful study and analysis have been done. Data is limited to the topics mentioned above.

1.8.4 Research Questions

The major research questions of the present study are as follows;

Is the education department of Punjab meeting the demands of the requirement of teachers at secondary school and college level?

How quality education can be provided to secondary school and college students in Punjab?

Has the education department of Punjab taken steps to fulfill the gap of quality education in schools and colleges?

Are schools and colleges in rural areas facing problems of supply of teachers?

With the conversion of Urdu Medium schools to English Medium, are these schools facing the problem of requirement of competent teachers?

Factual Position

Currently the schools and colleges of Punjab province are facing a shortage in the supply of qualified and competent teachers especially in rural areas. Teachers lack motivation for going to rural areas due to low salary, backward location and lack of facilities in these schools. As a result of this, the demand of teachers in rural areas has highly increased. The lack of competent teachers is also due to slow replacement of retired teachers and recruitment of teachers on temporary basis. The decision of government for converting Urdu Medium schools into English Medium has also posed a demand for the recruitment of qualified and professional teachers. The government is taking steps to fulfil the gap of quality education and qualified teachers. This has been done by recruiting qualified teachers, increasing the salary of existing teachers and by increasing the skills of the teachers through refresher courses in order to enhance their teaching skills and English Language skills.

Section - 2: Situation Analysis

In this section, the researcher analyzes the data obtained from the survey of Pakistan Education Assessment System (PEAS). The survey involved collection of data through direct observation, i.e; interview. A sample size of 9 top managers of PEAS was selected for interview. Unstructured interviews were carried out from the top managers. The opinion and views of the managers have been obtained related to the demand and supply of teachers at secondary school and college level in Punjab. Facts extracted from the interviews have been analyzed to obtain the findings.

2.1 Opinions and views of top managers about the demand and supply of teachers at secondary and college level in Punjab

2.1.1 Quality of education at government and private schools

97% of the top managers of PEAS informed that the quality of education provided to students of government schools is not satisfactory. These schools lack competent teachers, educational material and facilities. The conditions of schools in rural areas are worst. Many schools have been closed in rural areas as these schools lack competent teachers and basic facilities. However, the quality of education at private schools is satisfactory. These schools have qualified and competent teachers.

Figure 1: Opinion of top manager of PEAS about the quality of education in schools of rural areas

2.1.2 Causes of dearth of teachers in rural areas

95% of the top managers believed that teachers hesitate to work in rural areas due to poor working conditions and low salaries. The top management suggested that teachers can be motivated to work in rural areas by increasing the salaries of existing teachers, providing good salary packages to the new teachers and by providing textbooks and basic facilities to these schools. Teachers should be recruited on permanent basis rather than on temporary basis. If the teachers are provided incentives and good salary packages they will be able to perform their jobs in these areas.

2.1.3 Performance of government and private colleges

98% of the top managers of PEAS believed that as compared to the government schools, the performance of government colleges in urban areas is satisfactory. The government colleges have competent and qualified teachers in urban areas. However, the colleges in rural areas lack competent teachers.

Figure 2: Opinion of Top Managers of PEAS Regarding Quality of Education and Competent Teachers in Government Colleges in Urban Areas

2.1.4 Major reason behind lack of teachers

90% of the top managers of PEAS informed that lack of teachers is also due to the fact that most people do not join the profession of teaching as they consider it a low paid and an inferior job. Some people only join this profession as a last resort. As a result of this, they lack motivation to fulfil their responsibilities. When they find any good opportunity, they leave the teaching profession.

2.1.5 Fulfilling the gap of quality education in newly converted English Medium schools

When the views of the top managers were taken regarding the conversion of Urdu Medium schools into English Medium, all of them agreed that it is a good initiative from the government for removing the distinction between two classes of education. Students studying in Urdu Medium schools are often considered as inferior to English Medium. Moreover, when these students reach higher classes, they face difficulty in understanding science subjects. The top managers believed that the gap of quality education in these schools can be fulfilled by providing teaching and English language skills to the teachers through on-the-job training. This gap can also be filled by recruiting competent teachers on permanent basis.

2.2 Findings

The findings of the survey are in consistent with that of literature review, as it has shown that rural schools and colleges of Pakistan face the greatest need for teachers. The condition of government colleges in urban areas is quite satisfactory as these schools have competent teachers. The need for the supply of teachers has greatly grown over the past ten years. Keeping in view the demand for a large number of teachers, the supply of competent teachers must continue to increase. The demand for new teachers may differ by district or village and it may depends upon the local population growth, teachers' retirements, teachers' turnover rate, teachers' immigration rates and salaries offered to them. With the conversion of all Urdu Medium schools to English Medium schools in Punjab, the demand for qualified and professional teachers in these schools have greatly increased.

Section - 3: Conclusion and Recommendations

3.1 Conclusion

The demand and supply of teachers can be balanced if the numbers of vacancies of teachers are filled in by the number of teachers needed to fill these positions. The rural schools and colleges of Pakistan are facing the shortage of the supply of qualified and competent teachers. These educational institutes also lack basic facilities and educational material. Teachers hesitate to work in rural areas due to low salary and poor working conditions. There is also shortage of teachers due to the fact that the profession of teaching is considered as a low paid and inferior job. People only join this profession as a last resort. On the job training is also required for the teachers to enhance their teaching skills. With the conversion of Urdu Medium schools into English Medium schools, the need for qualified and competent teachers has risen. There is need for recruitment of professional and qualified teachers in order to raise the quality of education in schools and colleges especially government schools and colleges in rural areas. With the continuous increase in the population and emphasis of the government on education, the need for supply of more teachers will further increase.

3.2 Recommendations

Based upon qualitative and quantitative analysis following recommendations have been suggested:

In order to motivate teachers, they should be provided good salary packages and other incentives.

Teachers should be recruited on a permanent basis rather than on temporary basis in government schools and colleges.

The status of teachers needs to be raised in the society, as teaching should not be considered as an inferior job.

Teachers working in rural areas should be provided special salary packages and incentives.

Teachers need on-the-job training in order to enhance their teaching skills.

The teachers of the Urdu Medium schools which have been converted into English Medium schools needs to be trained in English language skills. There is also requirement for recruitment of competent teachers in these schools.

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