Why making a new school?
The general quality of education in Chitral is not so good. Having
worked in one and visited many other schools, we came to know that inefficiency
is king here. What are the reasons?
The majority of teachers have only an incomplete training, and quickly pick
up bad habits in institutions which don't encourage proper work. Nearly
always, the teacher shows up in the classroom without any preparation
whatsoever, and will start by enquiring about where the last lesson stopped.
When he brought his textbook, he will open it and start reading loud for 35 or
40 minutes. In many cases he will not even bring a book, and will take one
from a student. The teacher's interest will only extend itself to the
brightest kids, whom he will put in the front. Then the teacher will sit
down and read the book till some minutes before the bell (In our school, we
banned the teacher's chair). Before the bell rings, he will usually
already have left the class.
Some NGOs are busy trying to remedy this situation, organizing long or
shorter training courses for the teachers. These are at first quite
enthusiastic about the new methodology, but unfortunately the majority falls
back on their old habits after a while. (Because of the influence of the
untrained teachers, who in most schools are a majority).
Another problem is due to the specific relations between people in the local
society. Since nearly everyone is related to each other, the Principal
usually has troubles to exercise authority, and decisions are influenced by
The students are unmotivated and get terribly bored in the classes, since the
lessons aren't interactive. Most of them just come to kill the time, since
the other option is to work on the fields at home! Starting from spring,
many works await them there: sowing, weeding, watering, harvesting... When
school is finished (around 1 PM; the total class time is about five hours, the
break time is only 20 minutes) most of the students still have to walk a long
way home (some one hour!). Then they eat, perform some domestic work,
sleep a bit, attend religious school, play some games or watch television in the
nearest house having one. In between, time is taken by visits to and from
relatives and friends. Homework and revision is usually not done.
Our teachers and a visiting Belgian journalist
back in October 2001.
The parents themselves have hardly attended a few years at school, and are
unable to understand the importance of education or to stimulate their children.
For them, all the work has to be done by the teachers only, and should be
completed in the school. In the few cases where one of the parents is
properly educated (usually the father), he will work far away from home and only
visit his house once or twice a year. Again other parents misunderstand,
and lock up their children for up to four hours in a room to make them study!
Another problem is the high degree of absenteeism, present with the staff as
well as with the students. Schooling is not obligatory in Pakistan, and
since students pay, they expect to have the freedom of coming and going when
they like. Fortunately for us, teachers in private schools are more
regular then the ones working in government schools.
Many problems are due to the lack of funding and resources. Most
schools don't have any teaching aids, except if a kind hearted visitor brought
some. The government is spending very little on education, and much on
Quite obviously all this makes the education in Chitral unsatisfactory.
We preferred to set up a new school, to be able to start with good habits and to
try not to let bad habits take root. Like this the school should serve as
an example for others in the neighbourhood.
If the schools work better here, then this will not only be
beneficial for Chitral, but will also contribute to more peace and harmony
between all people in the world.