EDITORIAL: Quality teaching

Countries which suffer from politicization in education such as Nepal should ensure that this does not take place in the better interest of education

The role played by teachers in children’s learning is crucial. In Nepal’s context there simply are not enough qualified teachers. There is also an unequal distribution of adequately trained teachers. There is a shortage of such teachers, particularly in the remote areas, as they are reluctant to work there in difficult conditions. They cannot be entirely be blamed given the inadequate remuneration and other perks provided to them. However, we should be grateful to all the deserving teachers dedicated to their profession. It is these teachers who contribute to a better life of children later on and also their bright future. Thus, the slogan for this year on the occasion of World Teachers’ Day which falls every year on October 5 “Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies” is very apt for, by doing so, the teachers are recognized for the vital contribution that they make to society as a whole. Many teachers have been found to be undervalued and also dis-empowered which should not be the case. Quality teaching is rarely found in impoverished countries as well as those experiencing conflict or recovering from it.

Considering that quality teaching can make immense contribution a certain standard should be set for the teaching profession. Their absence contributes to the wide equity gap in the access to learning. Moreover, in their early years it is necessary to provide the children with knowledge for their enhancement as well as society as a whole and eventually development worldwide. There are not sufficient qualified teachers in Nepal, and for this more teachers should be provided with the necessary training which imparts them with the necessary skills. This means that a substantial investment should be made in teacher education. The teachers could do with empowerment and they should be well trained. They should also be motivated so that the best talents are encouraged to take up teaching as a profession. There is dire need of sharing the expertise of teaching through international cooperation to benefit the Least Developed Countries. The United Nations member states have expressed their commitment to the Education 2030 Agenda.

To meet the new goals in education by 2030 it is essential to have all the schools, even in poor countries, make extra efforts so that there are a sufficient number of qualified teachers dedicated to their profession in every school in the world. Quality teaching should figure as a matter of priority through support from all the concerned sectors. What the teachers need is a safe and healthy environment and academic freedom. Moreover, the campaign to provide universal primary education by 2020 needs a total of at least 10.9 million primary teachers worldwide. This goal is indeed a tall order if we take into account the scarcity of such teachers. It is necessary to hold constructive talks with the teachers and also their organizations to facilitate the primary learning process. Countries which suffer from  politicization in education such as Nepal should ensure that this does not take place in the better interest of the education sector which should focus more on providing quality education to all the children.

Plus Two syllabuses

The Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB) is revising the syllabuses of Classes 11 and 12 covering 163 subjects. The revised courses will come into force from the next academic year. HSEB is also celebrating this year as ‘Year of Curriculum’ to draw the attention of all concerned to the curriculum modifications under way.

But the HSEB which was established in 1989 last revised the Plus Two syllabuses way back in 1999 and slight changes were made after that. But the major revisions are taking place more than fifteen years after the last revision. The claim that the revision will make the syllabuses relevant to the needs of the 21st century appears weak because the first one and a half decades of the 21st century have already gone by with the same old stuffs. How can HSEB enable the students studying its courses compare with the students studying the syllabuses of the various foreign education boards, including the A Level courses, which are studied by many people in Nepal and which are constantly revised? HSEB is not doing its job well. The courses must be revised more frequently if HSEB is true to its tens of thousands of students.