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The past ten years brought in Pakistan a revolutionized, I.T oriented approach which stretched to the educational system as well. Introducing the subject merely was not considered the only pathway to achieving this milestone, but the whole stream of teaching saw an evolution in which the traditional learn-it-off-the-book strategy was downsized by integrating the concept of extensive and comprehensive research. From primary to high school, such approach was what the Ministry of Education aimed to achieved. Recently I thought I’d spend some time to see how far they’ve gotten.

However, unfortunate as it may seem but this milestone is yet to be achieved. Computer labs have been introduced, yet …

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Computer education in Pakistani schools: Are we there yet?

The past ten years brought in Pakistan a revolutionized, I.T oriented approach which stretched to the educational system as well. Introducing the subject merely was not considered the only pathway to achieving this milestone, but the whole stream of teaching saw an evolution in which the traditional learn-it-off-the-book strategy was downsized by integrating the concept of extensive and comprehensive research. From primary to high school, such approach was what the Ministry of Education aimed to achieved. Recently I thought I’d spend some time to see how far they’ve gotten.

However, unfortunate as it may seem but this milestone is yet to be achieved. Computer labs have been introduced, yet the hardware is inadequate; the software is outdated- and mostly the systems fail to work. Lack of proper maintenance and upgrading of the systems portends an outdated approach of the students towards computer education. Aawareness about this discipline can not be spread just by setting up computer labs. Proper updating of the labs should take place; leading I.T companies should come to schools’ help including counseling sessions. The children of today have to be educated about networking and programming, about cellular technology and artificial intelligence. This should be done right from the elementary classes and not when they enter university.

Putting aside the supposedly superficial short coming of the computer labs in schools, let me focus your attention to the curriculum that is being followed. The general outlay of the curriculum fails to provide a gradual acquaintance of the students with the subject. Computer education is not confined to learning the definition of hardware; it is not synonymous to word processors and spreadsheets and presentation software. computer education is a vast subject and such a vast subject requires the proper breakup of its components, in a gradual grade by grade process. Mostly in their SSC, students are exposed to programming, when previously their approach was confined to writing in the word processor or creating presentations. Thus, many fail to excel. This is the reason why programming appears to many, as a hailstorm of foreign alphabets. The fact that computing is such a cosmic stream, there is a component out there for every student; if only they are exposed to it at the right time in the right manner.

The third flaw in the system is of the quality of teaching. Since every MBA can not teach business nor can every MCS teach Computing. Teaching is a serious issue and only the qualified teachers, who can adequately teach the students the dimensions of this subject should be appointed. A diploma of “25 courses in one month” is not the eligible criteria for a teacher, even if it means teaching primary school children. Primary school and junior high is the perfect age for the students to be acquainted with the magnitude of I.T; from networking to programming to cellular technology, so that they make the right choice in the future.

This is not the age to make “Jack of all trades and master of none” but we need to ‘raise’ experts and we have to start from the grass root level. In order to get Pakistan rolling on the Tech highway, first and foremost the course outline needs to be revolutionized. Subject-specific people should be responsible for making the course, selecting the books and every other thing associated with it. Proper guidance by experts needs to be an integral part of the teaching system. Most importantly, dedicated and hardworking teachers need to be appointed. Education is the key to excellence, and this key need to be fashioned in the most articulate manner so that the benefits are not restricted.

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  • Although I appreciate your fluid writing style and the way you have built up the post, I am afraid the appreciation stops right about there.

    I write in hope that it is not seen as some form of attack on you, but my interest is in your opinion about the above discussed education.

    Firstly, no children of today ‘need’ to be educated about cellular or programming or for that matter, computer technology. Using a computer and studying computer technologies are two exceptionally vast areas. We do not at all need any specialized subject of ANY sort to be taught to primary or even Metric level students.
    I think you have confused skill with education. Teaching children skills is a much needed aspect that our society lacks. This is society’s ill, not the education system’s fault.
    Our edu system does need an overhaul, but your suggestion that programming to be introduced as part of your break up of the ‘vast field of computer science’ is no where near the overhaul this education system needs. We don’t need programming languages being taught to primary grade students, please.
    Our first problem is the disparity between madrassahs, public and private schools. All three need to ‘united’ under a single syllabus STRICTLY controlled by the Edu ministry. Just as all mosques SHOULD be under the government, so should be CORE syllabus that should be made compulsory on ALL education-related institutes. This is not difficult, only the ever-illusive political will is required.

    A computer lab is EXACTLY what familiarizes the students with a computer. Putting computer labs for primary students can at best, pass off as automation of school work, and nothing more. In our society, I think having a computer lab to begin with is a bad idea. The same amount of money can be spent on increasing the teacher’s salary.

    You raise important issues, Rimsha. Your identification of the problem is pretty much spot on. I just tend to disagree with your proposed solutions.

    “Being a jack of all trades and master of none” for example, is now in fact a very debatable issue. Even a cursory glance at th world history will tell you that only the JACKS OF ALL TRADES were the ones that changed the world and dented the flow of history. Specialists are needed, but not as ‘desperately’ as our parents would have us believe. :) Teaching your junior high student a skill of say, fixing mobile phones, carpentry, troubleshoot PCs etc goes a long way in not only imparting a sell-able skill, but giving young minds the confidence that they can do stuff on their own.

    I hope my attempts at adjusting your opinion by voicing my own is taken as a shot at setting the priorities straight in terms of the issues our society in Pakistan faces. I wish all of us the best of luck in moving forward to make this land a better one. Aamen.

  • Jack Ass of All Trades!

  • @ Momekh.
    Thankyou for your valuable comments. I second your opinion with regards to the disparity. This indeed is a very crucial issue. The problem with the local stream is that we have people who are not properly acquainted with I.T designing the course outlines and setting the books so they mostly end up assigning the wrong books for computing. In contrast to this, the A-level computing course outline is designed by people related to this particular field.
    Furthermore, What basically I meant to imply was that up till junior high computing is taken more or less as one of the “free periods” of the day. Teachers and students do not quite pay heed to the subject.Keeping in view the boost of the I.T industry in our country, i felt that students should be made aware of its vast scope. Giving the students a basic idea of networking, programming, robotics etc would build their acquaintance with the different components of computer education. Programming was just used as an example to explain the phenomenon

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