SINCE its establishment, Pakistan has faced many challenges in almost every major sector of national life including health, education, economy, politics, etc. But the sector that has suffered the most is education. The education sector is supposed to provide qualified human resources to all areas of national life. It builds and stabilizes the nation, and makes people aware of their responsibilities as citizens. It also creates a sense of civility, patriotism and understanding. Unfortunately, he failed in his goal. Our literacy rate is low and thousands of students drop out before completing high school. There are many schools that only exist on paper.
To survive in a competitive world, the education sector needs the full attention of the authorities. Teachers are the backbone of society, the beacons of knowledge and social change. Globalization and technology have multiplied their responsibilities. Teachers are no longer expected to carry a cane in the classroom but to interact in a friendly manner with students if the latter are expected to look at them with respect.
A good education is incomplete without good teachers. Teachers nurture and inspire future generations to think and create, while teaching them to be caring individuals. The best teachers, however, are those who motivate, encourage, and ignite the habit of self-study, self-reflection, and course correction in students. The role of teachers as mentors is also personal – kind and understanding teachers and their lessons stay with the students for a lifetime.
Islam regards the teaching profession as noble and sacred. There are many professions in the world and everyone has the right to choose their job according to their inclination, interest and aptitude. All professions are important for the development of the nation. But no development, material or spiritual, is possible without the selfless service of a teacher. All sciences, skills, arts and crafts in various civilizations and cultures are due to teachers.
A good education is incomplete without good teachers.
The roots of teaching are linked to prophetic missions. Allah acted as a teacher when He taught Hazrat Adam the names of everything (2:31). All the prophets were teachers for mankind as a whole. Also, the Quran narrates the story of Prophet Musa and Khizr (18:65-82) indicating cordiality and discipline in teacher-student relations in order to understand the essence of each event. Similarly, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is also said to have said, “I have been sent to you as a teacher.”
However, in our society, education does not pay dearly and lacks the protection of the authorities. Sometimes teachers are victims of school politics. They remain under pressure due to busy class schedules, checking papers, taking tests, etc. The sword of termination hangs over their jobs if they express their reservations. Therefore, the best minds do not opt for teaching. It’s a job that requires a lot of courage and moral strength. It is apparent from Muslim history that people have always respected this profession.
We also come across a famous letter that Abraham Lincoln wrote to his son’s teacher on the very first day of school. The letter sets out the basic principles of what a teacher should teach and how. The content of the letter is relevant for all teachers of all ages, to transform students into upright human beings. Although a person can be a scientist, a lawyer, a philosopher or a leader, he must be a good human being to lead a successful life.
Thanks to good teachers, countries like Japan and Germany that faced defeat and destruction in World War II were able to rise from the ashes. Their teachers have contributed significantly to their national curriculum and both nations have developed socially and economically. In our case, among the factors responsible for the country’s break-up in 1971 was the role of university professors in East Pakistan, many of whom are said to have harbored negative perceptions of West Pakistan.
Given historical evidence and the nature of current challenges, teachers have a responsibility to promote national unity, integration, cohesion, peace and tolerance among their students. Teachers are also expected to serve as role models for future generations.
Each teacher takes care of hundreds of students. They must establish a happy relationship with their students by understanding each student’s unique temperament and interacting accordingly. Teachers need to be sensitive when delivering values-based education. They must update their knowledge, concerning not only their students but also the current situation of the country and the world in general. In short, they should be the source of knowledge and guidance for human beings.
The author is a pedagogue who is interested in religion.
Posted in Dawn, April 15, 2022