Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Op-ed: Research is on the rise as teaching appears to be in decline

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Some days ago, I discovered by chance an Urdu article of Waseem Khattak entitled “Asaatza kay tahqeeqi maqalay taleem ko tabah kar rahy hen”, it reads in English as “research papers of the teachers are destroying the education”. Before going deep into what he has conferred about in his article, it is indispensable to inquire from ourselves if what the author tries to extrapolate is true. Though the response towards this inquiry would largely come in “yes”, but some may negate the statement made by the author.

The circle of research sprint

Although the extant education system of Pakistan is reared sturdier at this juncture on two pillars i.e. research and teaching. In the days of yore, education was erected on only one pillar i.e. teaching, but, for the most recent years, the research culture has been attached as the second pillar beneath the education system. The education sector is now walking on its two legs. But the question is; what if one of these two legs gets ruptured on the spur of the moment. For sure, a lame system of education can neither progress itself, nor can it benefit the country.

Read more: Is our Education system actually teaching: The answer is NO

For the last couple of years, the trend to pursue higher education — MPhil and Ph.D. — has largely been introduced, having the purpose of executing the researches at best and jobs too have been assured for people, after the completion of higher education. Research publications in this connection have become a prerequisite for teachers to get hired cum promoted on the higher ranks. By dint of job promotion, teachers have bulldozed themselves into the circle of research sprint.

Their focus from teaching has run into the race of producing more publications just for the sake of job up-gradation. They all are busy now to produce papers and running after them publications as well. In the present-day, the level of erudition is not being gauged through teaching but rather measured through the number of research publications.

The imbalance between two pillars of education

Henceforth, one pillar (teaching) has shortened, and while the other (research) has enlarged. This imbalance, thus, has weakened the system of education. So, to speak, the teaching trend is going downhill but the research trend is going through the ceiling but behind the curve — almost exactly. Why should we not take both trends together equally to bring betterment in education?

Infusing the institutes with people to teach therein is not the need of time, but the need is to scrutinize them if they can teach

These days, most of the teachers accustomed to research, are not good at teaching and vice versa. When they come to take classes, they are asked critical questions to which they beat about the bushes, bah! Coming back to what the author has discussed in his article.

From the outset, he disappointingly states that the first thing one is asked during a job interview is if they have any publications in prominent journals or HEC recognized research journals. If their answer is “no”, they would be looked at in a way which would surely discourage them. Is not this a serious matter to be investigated?

What causes this imbalance?

Another problem with academia is that research is being executed at large, but these are neither bringing the panaceas for problems nor is any progress in the universities being seemed. Even comparatively, research is being largely done in the field of natural sciences, but again these are blue-sky researches.

Read more: Reforming college education: Pakistan needs to up its game

The institutes today are being introduced briskly across the country but, it’s a pity that we do not have real teachers who can impart encyclopedism rightly. Infusing the institutes with people to teach therein is not the need of time, but the need is to scrutinize them if they can teach. The only solution is to take both the pillars equally to bring the refurbishment in the education system of Pakistan.

Besides, teachers must also be schooled in both research and teaching so that they may perform extraordinarily in the education sector.

Rameez Mahesar is a member of the Editorial Board for a Russian Research Journal, Bulletin of Science. He can be contacted at rameezalimahesar@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

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