Low quality learning outcomes around the world are often blamed on teachers, however, in Pakistan the level of teacher salaries has been identified as the crux of educational problems, according to a report released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The Global Education Monitoring Report 2017-18 released by UNESCO on Tuesday claimed that Pakistan used test scores as part of teacher evaluations and these should not be used disproportionately in teacher evaluations as they hold teachers accountable for learning — which is influenced by many factors outside of their control such as student skills, behaviour, parental background and support, school resources, culture and curriculum.
The report showed that interventions increased accountability by linking incentives to test scores in Pakistan. This also altered classroom practices with additional time spent on test preparation – for instance to improve scores and secure bonuses.
Pakistan only spends 2.65 per cent of its GDP on education which is 4% below the standard benchmark. A UNESCO situation analysis estimated that attaining the net primary enrolment rate of 100% by 2015-16 would have required,
besides massive improvements in governance and implementation, a fund of Rs. 1,300 billion.
In the context of literacy, making 36 million people literate in the next five years would require Rs. 1,788 billion.
The report highlighted the need for Pakistan to focus on equipping teachers with the skills needed to fulfil their responsibilities. A case study commissioned for the report about Pakistan highlighted a lack of accountability in Pakistan’s teaching requirements, citing political interference, nepotism, ghost teachers and non-transparent practices.
The report acknowledged many positive initiatives that the government was taking to improve accountability in education. These include national education monitoring report showing progress and challenges in achieving its education plan and the ‘right to education’ justiciable in national law, which is the case in only 45% of countries worldwide.
It also praised the use of biometrics to monitor the attendance of over 210,000 education staff in 26,200 schools which has demonstrated positive results. As of February this year, 40,000 absent teachers and 6,000 absconders [employed but long absent] have been disciplined.
The report highlighted the governments’ responsibility to provide universal quality education and stressed that accountability was indispensable in achieving this goal.
“Education is a shared responsibility between us all – governments, schools, teachers, parents and private actors,” said Unesco’s Director-General Irina Bokova. “Accountability for these responsibilities defines the way teachers teach, students learn, and governments act. It must be designed with care and with the principles of equity, inclusion and quality in mind,” she added.