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Comparison of Teacher Education Programmes in Pakistan & UK

Comparative Analysis of Teacher Education Programmes in Pakistan & UK



Background of the Study

The overall development status of every country depends upon the standard of education prevalent across that country. It is an era of knowledge based economies, and countries failing in education find it hard to catch up with the developed world. In other words a country’s economic and cultural future as well as its scientific and technological growth owe to the academic standards being maintained by the teachers in its educational institutions. Thus teachers’ contributions are well acknowledged as builders of the nation and molders of personalities. In fact the key player of every educational system is the teacher, who is considered the backbone of the entire system all over the world, and a pivot around which the whole education system revolves. Teacher is the major implementer of all educational reforms at the grass root level. Teaching without doubt is considered one of the very noble professions. It offers constant intellectual challenges, acknowledgement, respect in the society and above all the opportunity to mould the personalities of a big majority of youth. This centrality qualifies teachers to be the crucial position holders in creating impact on all aspects of students’ personalities. They are the teachers who bring about positive behavioural changes in students by grooming and developing their personalities. That is why it is necessary that they should be adequately equipped with skills and abilities that would enable them to play an effective role in human development both from national and global perspectives.

The Indian Education Commission 1964-66, as observed by Sheikh M.A (1998)[1] had ranked the quality and competence of the teachers as the most important factor determining the quality of education significantly contributing to the national development. Nothing is more important than securing a sufficient supply of high quality recruits to the teaching profession, providing them with the best possible professional preparation and creating satisfactory conditions of work in which they can be fully effective.” However, this central position, demands great care and attention in the education and training of teachers, who develop and enable students meet effectively the challenges of present and future. Ascertaining the effectiveness of these trainings asks for the analysis of teacher education programs in the social context of every country socio economic, cultural and historic factors substantially influence its nature and value.

Concept of Teacher Education

Teacher education is a discipline and sub sector of education with its distinct pre service and in service forms. It equips prospective and in service teachers with information, knowledge and pedagogical skills to help reform their attitudes and behaviour to the profession of education. The key objective is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge (cognitive, affective and psychomotor) to students and to build their character and personalities. In other words teacher education refers to the policies and procedures designed to equip teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the school and classroom. (Wikipedia, 09) [2] According to Sheikh M.A (1998), teacher education encompasses acquiring all that knowledge, skills and abilities which are relevant to the life of a “teacher as a teacher” It reshapes the attitudes, remodels the habits, and develops the personalities of teachers.

Need for Teacher Education

Teachers’ general education and professional training both require utmost care and attention, as whatever is acquired by them is transferred to their students with high multiple effects. The present has witnessed and is still experiencing a rapidly but positively changing scenario of processes and procedures of teacher training. New innovative methods are continuously being added to the already practiced traditional pedagogical techniques. Acquainting with these developments to the point of mastery is needed for the promotion and maintenance of good teaching learning standards. Good quality teacher education about these key elements paves the way of the development of the education system in the long run.

Teachers are the layers of the foundations of future citizens, hence need to be educated with futuristic perspective, so that they can develop the personalities of their students, not only as per present requirements but also for the years to come, accommodating the new trends from the global outlook. This is very important as teacher is one of the key agents of change in all communities and a service provider as per needs of the future. Changes are taking place not only at national but also at international level. With every passing day distances are shrinking and communities are coming closer to each other affecting each other’s practices of life.

Purpose of Teacher Education

The purpose of teacher education primarily is to equip prospective teachers not only with suitable aptitudes for teaching but also with appropriate skills and abilities required to make them effective and efficient professionals. Through different theoretical and practical activities, they are helped to understand not only the philosophical, psychological, and sociological basis of teaching, but also the relationship of education with the society and its values through teaching and learning processes.

The process of formal teacher education can help the prospective teachers minimize the troubles and save the students from the wastages of hit and trial. Appropriately rendered teacher education, provides ample opportunities to would be teachers to understand the nature of teaching; to envisage responsibilities of a teacher; to discover that to be a teacher is much more than learning by heart the philosophies and theories of learning; and to comprehend the practical implications of the pedagogical strategies. It is learnt that the profession of teaching is in fact facilitating the acquisition and retention of knowledge, values, skills and right attitudes for successful life that can initiate and promote positive changes in the society.

Keeping this in view teacher education, through teacher-preparatory years focuses on the development of abilities and skills that would not only make them capable teachers but will enable them to discharge duties effectively, take initiatives, motivate students and facilitate learning. With the belief that practice makes one perfect, students during teacher education phase are given the opportunity to teach or instruct and receive constant guidance and encouragement during practical delivery, in order to strengthen good habits and to overcome the pedagogical weaknesses.

Phases of Teacher Education

Farrant, J. S. (1990)[3], observed that since the dawn of the twenty first century teacher education in developed countries remained divided into three phases:

1) Initial Teacher Education

2) Induction

3) Continuing Teacher Education

1) Initial teacher training / education

This education pertains to the training that is undertaken before formally starting the teaching profession. It is a pre-service course done before entering the classroom as a fully responsible teacher. It is usually provided in education colleges and education departments of universities where the student teachers are introduced to the knowledge and skills needed to be professional teachers. The students are formally taught the important components of this profession including aims of education, history of education, perspectives of education, modern approaches to learning, assessment and evaluation of learning and basics of curriculum development, educational psychology, philosophy and pedagogy. It also provides first hand experience of the practical aspects of the teaching profession. It usually takes a year or so and culminates into a certificate or a degree.

2) Induction

This informal phase begins when a student teacher changes from being a part time, visiting student teacher to a full time adequately responsible professional. Basically induction refers to the process of providing on the job guidance and support to the teachers during the first few months of teaching or the first year of the professional career. In countries like UK, during induction the teacher is on probation, and receives guidance and supervision formally by the teacher-tutor, and informally from all other colleagues & head teacher. The work load during this phase of education is reduced in order to provide time and opportunity for guidance, reflection and grooming. This is a transitional phase from being a student to being a full time teacher.

3) Teachers’ continuous professional development

It is an in-service process for professional refinement of practicing teachers. It is a life long process in which efforts are made to improve and polish up the potentials of the teachers. It includes professional trainings like workshops, short courses and seminars. This is usually formally arranged by good schools or can be self directed through reading of professional books, discussions with colleagues, benefiting from on line courses, or attending training workshops, conferences, and symposiums.

With the passage of time, all institutions have started to value in service training of teachers more and more; and are regularly arranging training programs of different durations for their teachers. These trainings are sometimes general in nature for the improvement of the overall teaching methodologies, and sometimes focused on improving specific subject-teaching skills, enabling teachers master innovative concepts recently incorporated in the existing curriculum. Such in service trainings are usually taken up in anticipation for the expected promotions.

Usefulness of Comparing Teacher Education Systems

Sodhi (1993)[4] documented, “Comparative education is a popular educational venture and is considered very useful in countries like USA, UK, Russia and even India. It is considered so, as education has been recognized an investment for development of human resources, which is in fact the development of human capital formation. All people engaged in the field of education have much to learn from the policies and educational practices of other lands. Apparently the educational system of a country grows out of the historical background, economic and social conditions, geographical features and political systems and no country is in a position to totally adopt the educational patterns of another country as such. But lessons can be learnt, and successful practices can be adopted to meet the needs from the angle it looks upon them.”

With advancement in technology and with communication explosion, the geographical distances are shrinking and people are coming closer to each other. The similarities caused by science and technology are overpowering the differences resulting from cultural diversities. The fact suggested by increasing similarities is that different nations of the world–which looks like a global village now, can learn a lot from each others’ experiences and progress to save time, energy and resources required for the ‘try and learn’ activities. The knowledge about the successes and failures of other systems can be very awakening and beneficial in comprehending one’s own educational problems. The backwardness or advancement of one’s own system can be ascertained only through analytical comparison, particularly with those of the economically and educationally advanced countries.

In spite of increased investment in education sector, Pakistan has not yet achieved its target of UPE (Universal Primary Education) set in 1960 that was to be achieved by 1980. Analysis of the educational status of Pakistan reveals that a reasonable progress has been made by it since independence. At that time not even a million students were studying in schools, whereas now more than twelve million children are in schools. But at the same time due to a very high population growth rate, more than twelve million school age children are out of school, doing jobs or just doing nothing. The recent comparisons with the educational situation in China and India show that Pakistan is still far behind than the more thickly populated neighbouring countries, where China with literacy rate of 90% and India with 65% are substantially ahead of Pakistan. The situation of full enrollment which is a far cry is further aggravated by an alarmingly high rate of dropouts. Female literacy rate is abysmally low, and education of females and rural population at all levels is much underrepresented.

As the population is growing at a geometrical rate, the need for more schools and for more and better teachers has risen substantially. With increased focus on the quantitative expansion necessitated by substantial raises in population, the qualitative dimension of teacher education in Pakistan has not received adequate attention, resulting in passing out of scores of teachers from different teacher education institutions with inadequate grip over the content and teaching methodologies. This demands special focus to improve the status of teacher education, by learning through analysis and comparison with education systems that are progressing and delivering well in other countries of the world.

As the education system has grown over years, the number of teachers has also shown

increases, but it is still far from being adequate, particularly for subjects like science and mathematics. Along with this teacher education programs in Peshawar based teacher education institutions like other similar institutions of Pakistan have some critical deficiencies, which are hampering their effectiveness. Some of those were summarized by Asia and the Pacific Program of Educational Innovation for Development (APIED)(1987)[5], and are reproduced hereunder:

i) Short duration of teacher training programs

ii) Minimal interaction of trainee teachers at schools

iii) Outmoded methods of teaching and evaluation

iv) Shortage of audio visual aids and other educational equipment in teacher training institutions.

v) Deficiency of supplementary reading material/professional magazines/ research journals

vi) Lack of co ordination among training institutions.

vii) Absence of incentives for prospective teachers

These and similar other deficiencies ask for keen analysis of the local system and for its comparison with better performing systems. The best way to analytically compare any two teacher education systems, as highlighted by Galambos C. Eva, (1986) [6] would be to find out:

1) How the two systems strengthen subject area preparation?

2) How long and adequate is the duration of pre service training of teachers?

3) How theory and practice address better inclusion of the practice of teaching in learning to teach effectively and efficiently?

4) What level of general education would be necessary for all prospective teachers? and

5) What major and minor subjects would be preferred as most supportive for the profession of teaching?

In order to survive successfully in the global community, and to bring the indigenous teacher education at the international level it would seem pertinent to critically analyze the local prevailing teacher education programs and to compare them with one of the educationally advanced countries, like that of the United Kingdom, which had laid the foundation of the existing education system in the sub-continent during the colonial rule.

Education System in Pakistan

Education in Pakistan comes in the domain of the responsibilities of the provinces. However the Federal government is responsible for over viewing Pakistan’s entire system of education, and is assisted by the provincal ministries and departments of education in all the provinces. The Federal Ministry of Education (MOE) deals with policy-making, curriculum development, accreditation and coordination as an advisory authority, along with the direct administration of the educational institutions situated in and around the capital. Education up to Secondary level is provided by public and private schools, and by Islamic madrasahs, (the faith schools). Education provided at the public/government schools is free of cost, but in the private sector institutions educational expenses are borne by the parents for the purpose of good quality of education.

Provincial governments overview and administer all the Universities which are financed by the Federal government through the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Both public and private universities and other higher education institutions are overviewed by HEC for the planning, development and granting of charters. The academic progress of these institutions is coordinated, reviewed and evaluated by the HEC.

Primary Education

Primary education begins at five years of age and is completed in five years. The medium of instruction at the government schools is either Urdu or the regional language and is English at the private educational institutions. The curriculum revolves around Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, General science, Social studies, Islamic studies, and Physical training.

Secondary Education

Secondary Education comprises of three stages: a three-year stage of middle level education; other two-year of secondary education; and a further two-year of higher secondary education at intermediate and degree colleges. At the Middle level, (Grades VI to VIII), at ages 11-13, compulsory subjects of Urdu, English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Islamic studies are studied and students are examined on terminal and annual basis. In Grades IX and X at ages 14 and 15 studies are divided into streams of Science and Humanities, and externally examined by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education to award Secondary School Certificate on successful completion of ten years of education. However, Intermediate or Higher Secondary Education stream involves studies of Grade XI and XII either in Science or

Humanities at the ages of 16 and 17, with external examination and certification by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education. Many students in the private sector opt for the examination of (GCE) General Certificate of Education.

Madrassahs / Madaris: (Religious Schools)

The madaris, operating simultaneously with regular schools are fewer in number as compared to the public and private schools. These provide Islamic education through Urdu and Arabic as languages of Instruction. The key features of the curriculum are the study of the Holy Quran and Hadith (teachings of the prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h). Enrollment and boarding & lodging facilities are mostly free of charge, although in some cases they receive grants from the federal government.

The primary level institutions called maktabs, are usually attachments of mosques, and provide basic Islamic education focusing on the reading and learning the holy Quran by heart. Secondary school madrasahs deal with the higher level of Islamic education. For better standards of education and in order to integrate the Islamic and formal education systems, the formal schools curriculum of English, mathematics, general science and computer Science are now studied compulsorily at all madaris. Madrasahs are largely self-governing and independent. The official regulatory and certificates/Sanads awarding bodies include ‘Jamea-tus Safiya’ ‘Wafaq-ul-Madaris’, and ‘Tanzeem-ul-Madaris’. Different madrasah levels correspond to the formal system, like ‘Tajweed wa Qiraat Ibtidaya’ is equal to primary schooling, ‘Mutawassita’ is at par with Middle level, ‘Saniya Aama’ is equated with Secondary School Certificate, and ‘Saniya Khasa’ to the Higher Secondary School Certificate, after which the students are eligible to continue higher education at Madrasah or at Universities of the formal sector.

Vocational / Technical Secondary Education

Nearly all vocational schools run both certificate and diploma programmes. The duration of certificate courses is one year and that of diplomas is two years, in various trades at the secondary level (Grades IX and X) leading to the Secondary School Certificate in technical education; qualifying students to continue their education at Technical Institutes of higher education.

Higher Education

At the time of partition in 1947 the country had only one University, the Punjab University. Now as of 2008-2009 Pakistan, according to Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC), there are 124 recognized Universities in the country, 68 of these universities are public sector universities and 56 are from the private sector. The guidelines for charter and operations of Universities are issued by the HEC. For standardization, all degree-granting higher education programmes are assessed by HEC. With English as medium of Instruction the Higher Secondary School Certificate, & a pass in the entry test, are the essential pre requisites for admission to the study at the university.

University Higher Education

Stage I: A Bachelor’s Degree is awarded after two years of formal education and with honours after three years of fulltime study in humanities, sciences or commerce. Four years of formal education is required for Bachelor’s degrees in engineering, pharmacy & computer science, whereas five years are needed for Bachelor’s in medicine.

Stage II: Two years of study after the bachelor’s degree and one year after the honor’s bachelor’s degree leads to the acquisition of Master’s Degree

Stage III: A minimum of four to five years of study beyond master’s degree leads to the doctoral degree. But the duration of study is five to seven years for programmes like the Doctor of Literature (DLitt), Doctor of Science (DSc) and Doctor of Law (LLD).

Higher Education (Non University)

Polytechnics, technical and commercial institutes and colleges provide non-university higher education comprising programmes of two or three years leading to certificates and diplomas in commercial and technical fields, awarded by Provincial Boards of Technical Education.

Teacher Education Programs at Pakistan

Primary School Teachers

Teacher training at the post secondary level takes place in Regional Institutes of Teacher Education (RITE), and at the Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad for a one-year program known as the Primary Teaching Certificate. In addition, prospective teachers are also prepared at the private sector institutions affiliated or enlisted with universities of public or private sector.

Secondary School Teachers

Government training institutes of education and different affiliated colleges in private sector train teachers for the secondary school level. They are awarded a Certificate of Teaching (CT) for one year study after passing the examination of Higher Secondary School Certificate.

Teacher Education at Universities

The prospective teachers aspiring to teach at the higher secondary school level study for one year at the Education Colleges for the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree, after two-year bachelor’s of Arts or Science (BA/BSc) education. Teachers possessing B.Ed degree are eligible to teach at the Secondary school level. Masters of Education (M.Ed) is a one year university education after completion of B.Ed.

Policy Priorities for Teacher Education

All the National Education Policies of Pakistan have accorded great importance to teacher education. The 1959 Commission on National Education stressed upon the necessity of adequate pre service teacher education gave recommendations about functions of teachers in a university and about selection and promotion of teachers. The Education Policy 1972-80 estimated the teacher producing capacity of then existing 12 teacher training colleges and 55 teacher education institutions in Pakistan, to be four thousand which was much less than the estimated demand of three hundred thousand additionally required teachers. It recommended the introduction of Education subject at Secondary, Higher Secondary and Degree level and students qualifying these subjects were suggested to be taken as primary, middle and high level teachers. Relaxation of training requirements for women teachers in special cases was recommended in order to increase the number of women teachers. An academy for teachers’ and educational Administrators’ training was recommended to be set up. The outdated nature of the teacher training courses was admitted, and their revision was recommended, along with this preparation of model standard textbooks for teacher trainees were advised.

The National Education Policy 1979 had vividly valued the significant role of teachers in the effective implementation of the education policies. It was asserted that teacher is the pivot of the entire educational system. In order to promote pre-service teacher education, all the Primary Teacher Training Institutions were planned to be upgraded to Colleges of Elementary Education. An Academy of Higher Education was approved to be established to provide in-service and pre-service training to the College and University teachers. Another Academy for Educational Planning and Management was also established to provide opportunities of training to administrators and supervisors working at different levels of the educational system. This National Education Policy envisaged that every teacher would be expected to undergo one in-service course during five-year cycle of his/her service. A system of National Awards for best teachers was planned to be instituted. Every year ten teachers of various levels and categories were planned to receive these awards from the President of Pakistan at national level. Similar awards were planned to be given to selected teachers by the respective provincial governors.

The Sixth five Year Plan (1983-88), earmarked sixty million rupees for the teacher education programs to establish additional primary and secondary teacher training institutes and to enhance the training capacity of the existing primary and secondary teacher training institutions, and departments of Education at the Universities. This plan was unique in the sense that it allocated special funds categorically for the teacher education programs. Prior to this the trend of blanket approval was in practice and the badly needed requisite improvement in the standard of teachers could not be facilitated. The incremental allocation, as given in the following table reflected the increased importance accorded to teacher education.

Table: 1.1 The Sixth Five Year Plan’s (1983-1988) Allocations for Teacher Education

Year Recurring Expenditure Developmental Expenditure (in million rupees)

1983-84 12 16

1984-85 14 20

1985-86 18 27

1986-87 20 32

1987-88 24 38

Total 88 133

The Seventh Five-Year Plan (1988-93) identified a number of shortcomings in the teacher training programs, which included the irrelevancy of curriculum for PTC and CT; the inadequacy of the training duration, of in service training, and lack of good career prospects due to which good students were not attracted to the profession of teaching. It was proposed to improve the efficiency of teachers by gradually raising the minimum qualification, revitalizing the teacher training programmes, continuous in-service education and providing better career proposals to teachers. The Ninth Five-Year Plan focused upon the strengthening of one hundred and twenty then available teacher training institutes. The high priority attached to the promotion and facilitation of teacher education as envisaged in the above mentioned policies and plans spoke of the importance accorded to teacher education by all the governments of Pakistan.

Entry Qualification

The requisite entry qualifications into the teaching profession at different levels are as follows:

a) Primary Level (I-V) : Matriculation + one year teaching certificate (PTC)

b) Middle Level (VI-VIII) : Intermediate + one year teaching certificate (CT) and,

c) Secondary Level (IX-X) : B.A/B.Sc + one year Bachelor of Edu. degree course/B.Ed

Non Formal Teacher Education

Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) is offering non formal teacher training courses for both male and female students living in the far away areas of the country. These programs are substantially contributing to the provision of trained teachers.

United Kingdom’s System of Education

In Britain compulsory schooling takes place between the ages of five and sixteen. The over riding objectives of the government’s education policies are to raise standards at all levels of ability, increase parental choice, make further and higher education more widely accessible and more responsive to the needs of the economy, and to achieve the best possible returns from the resources invested in the education service. (Britain 1990) [7] Parents are legally bound to ensure that their children aged five to sixteen regularly receive efficient full time education. Most students receive free education financed from public funds, and a small proportion attends private schools independent of public financial support. Pupils follow a common curriculum leading to the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and Vocational Certificate of Secondary Education (VCSE). Students are allowed to select a number of GCSEs, VCSEs as per their personal preferences and aptitudes. Quite a few schools cater for the educational needs of the students for additional two years till they sit for the Advanced Level of General Certificate of Education. (GCE A Levels)

Primary and Secondary Schools

Ninety percent of boys and girls are taught together in most primary schools. Most independent/private fee-charging schools are mixed at the primary level and single-gender at the secondary level. These schools are registered with, and inspected by the government and governed by an independent board. No fees are charged in government schools, which are governed by the Local Education Authorities (LEA). There is no statutory requirement to provide education for the under-fives, but nursery education is well established now. Compulsory education begins at five at infant schools and at seven they go to junior/primary schools. The average age of passing out from primary school and entry into secondary school is eleven years. Schools are organized in a number of ways including secondary schools with age range, from 11 to 18; middle schools whose students move on to senior comprehensive schools at the age of 12 to 16. Tertiary colleges offer a full range of vocational and academic courses for students over 16.


At the completion of the secondary education at UK, at the age of sixteen, secondary school students appear for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). This examination in order to raise the standard of performance has replaced General Certificate of Education (GCE), Ordinary Level (O Level), and the Certificate of Secondary Education (CSE) since 1988. GCSE examination is taken after five years of Secondary Education and evaluated at a seven point scale of grades, A to G. The GCSE Advanced level (A Level) examination is taken after two years of further study. Its successful completion qualifies the student for induction into universities.

Educational Standards

Her Majesty’s inspectors report to ministers on the quality of education provided at all schools colleges and universities. They also advise the Local Education Authorities (LEA) and the government, and publish the reports. LEAs also employ inspectors or advisers to gu

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