Recent educational changes at higher educational level in Pakistan: English language teachers' perceptions and practices

Hassan, Syed Sabih ul (2016) Recent educational changes at higher educational level in Pakistan: English language teachers' perceptions and practices. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) of any country could be a source of providing professionals to the country in many fields. By doing so, HEIs could play a pivotal role in the economic growth of the country. In Pakistan, it seems that, in the wake of this realization, steps have been taken to reform Higher Education. Drawing on the Triple I model of educational change covering Initiation, Implementation and Institutionalization (Fullan, 2007) this study focuses on the planning and implementation of reforms in the Education system of Pakistan at higher education level that have been introduced by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) since its inception in 2002. Kennedy’s model of hierarchical subsystems affecting innovation and Chin and Benne’s (1985) description of strategies for implementing change also provided guidelines for analyzing the changes in education in the country to highlight the role that the authorities expect the language teacher to play in the process of implementing these changes.
A qualitative method is followed in this study to gather data from English language teachers at three universities of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. A questionnaire was developed to look into the perceptions of English language teachers regarding the impact of these reforms. This was followed up by interviews.
Responses from 28 teachers were received through questionnaire out of which 9 teachers were interviewed for detailed analysis of their perceptions. Thematic Content analysis was used to analyze and interpret the data. Some of the most significant changes that the respondents reported knowledge of included the introduction of Semester System, extending the Bachelors degree to four years from two years, promotion of research culture, and increased teachers’ autonomy in classroom practices. Implications of these reforms for English teachers’ professional development were also explored. The data indicate that the teachers generally have a positive attitude towards the changes. However, the data also show concerns that teachers have about the practical effectiveness of these changes in improving English language teaching and learning in Pakistani Universities. Some of the areas of concern are worries regarding resources, the assessment system, the number of qualified teachers, and instability in the educational policy. They are concerned about the training facilities and quality of the professional training available to them. Moreover, they report that training opportunities for their professional development are not available to all the teachers equally. Despite the HEC claims of providing regular training opportunities, the majority of the teachers did not receive any formal training in the last three years, while some teachers were able to access these opportunities multiple times.
Through the recent reforms HEC has empowered the teachers in conducting the learning/teacher processes but this extra power has reduced their accountability and they can exercise these powers without any check on them. This empowerment is limited to the classroom and there appears to be no or minimal involvement in decision making at the top level of policy making. Such lack of involvement in the policy decisions seems to be generating a lack of sense of ownership among the teachers (Fullan 2003a:6). Although Quality Enhancement Cells have been developed in the universities to assure the desired quality of education, they might need a more active role to contribute in achieving the level of enhancement in education expected from them.
Based on the perceptions of the respondents of this study and the review of the relevant literature, it is argued that it is unlikely for the reforms to be institutionalized if teachers are not given the right kind of awareness at the initiation stage and are not prepared at the implementation stage to cope with the challenge of a complex process. The teachers participating in this study, in general, have positive and enthusiastic attitudes towards most of the changes, in spite of some reservations. It could also be interesting to see if the power centers of the Pakistani Higher Education appreciate this enthusiasm and channel it for a strong Higher Education system in the country.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Applied linguistics, reforms, higher education, innovation, ELT, professional development, education.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
P Language and Literature > PE English
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Pedagogy Policy and Practice
Supervisor's Name: Daborn, Dr. Esther and Crichton, Dr. Hazel
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr. Syed Sabih Ul Hassan
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7662
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2016 10:27
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2016 09:35

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