By Sultan Muhammad

Published in LOH-O-QALAM  1998-99

Professor at College of Education, Sussex University, England.

(An interview was conducted with the visiting Professor Madam Patricia Owen of the University of Sussex, England. The purpose of her visit to the Peshawar University and especially to the Institute of Education and Research was to conduct her research on teachers training programme. She was kind enough in providing some interesting information about her research and the purpose of her visit. This interview is presented here for the interest of all readers generally and for the B.ED. and M.Ed.  Students particularly, because  it would broaden their outlook on life).

INTERVIEWER: Sultan Muhammad, B.Ed. student. 

INTERVIEWER:       your good name?

VISITOR:                   My name is Patricia Owen.

INTERVIEWER:       Would you mind telling us your qualifications and the nature of your work at the university?

VISITOR:                   I work at the University of Sussex, in the Institute of Education. My work is to provide training to postgraduate students who opt for secondary school teaching course. The duration of teachers training course is one year. I specialized in history teaching at secondary level. But I am also engaged with the professional studies programme in the PGC (Postgraduate Certificate) course. Apart from that I do work on the master schools teaching courses on such issues as gender and education. I deliver some “general professional studies” lectures and organize workshops. I do my own personal research, which in on “concepts of citizenship” and on various aspects of “women’s history” and now, currently, I am working on “teacher Motivation” in the university of Peshawar, in Pakistan, and at the University of Sussex, in England. I also take up short term projects as and when they arise.

INTERVIEWER:       Tell us about the education system of your country and are you satisfied with your education system?

VISITOR:                   I think that certainly there are a lot of changes and there are a lot of changes in training at the moment. And I think that there will really be quite many changes within the next three or four years. Since people express dissatisfaction with the existing system of education, many changes are expected.

INTERVIEWER:       What is the percentage of those students who complete school level education and how many complete university level education?

VISITOR:                   the percentage that compete school level is quite high, children can leave at the age of sixteen or eighteen, I don’t know the exact figures but I do know that for more students now stay at school after age sixteen. All children have to go to school between age five to six, but after age sixteen a greater proportion are staying on, until they are seventeen or eighteen or nineteen years old. The percentage that completes university level has increased a lot in the last five or ten years.

INTERVIEWER:       tell us about computer education? Do you give computer education from primary level?

VISITOR:                   yes we do yes we give computer education from primary level and there is a big move very recently now to increase the amount of computer education that children have. There is a great deal of computer education in England.

INTERVIEWER:       how many vacations do you enjoy yearly?

VISITOR:                   we have total vacation about twelve weeks per year.

INTERVIEWER:       Does it include the two holidays of Saturday & Sunday?

VISITOR:                   Twelve weeks’ vacation plus weekends Saturday and Sunday, we have working days from Monday to Friday. It usually varies from school to school, most start at 80:30 and continue till four o’clock. Teachers generally stay on, they usually leave school at about 5 pm.

INTERVIEWER:       what is the average salary per month of the teacher at school level and college level in UK?

VISITOR:                   Difficult to say because there are several salaries scales. But the average level is probably about 18 to 20 hundred pounds for teacher and probably about the same for college lecturer maybe a little less may be little, high (in Pakistani money, it amounts to thirteen thousand per month).

INTERVIEWER:       What is the method of classification in your school, do you classify by mental level of the student or by age?

VISITOR:                   Student is generally classified by age.

INTERVIEWER:       what are the co-curricular activities and what are the timings for co-curricular activities?

VISITOR:                   As I said children finish in the afternoon about half past three to four, there quite often would be an hour or two after school, for activities. The interested students can have co-curricular activities during break for lunch. During holidays certain educational trips are organized.

INTERVIEWER:       What is the purpose of your visit to Pakistan?

VISITOR:                   I came as Births Council Link visitor as part of the link between the I.E.R of Peshawar university and Institute of Education, University of Sussex. We are planning to improve teacher training between the two Institutes.

INTERVIEWER:       why did you select this university for this purpose?

VISITOR:                   I did not necessarily select this University, it is only because a colleague of mine has a friendship and connection with Dr. Galani and on that way it is the first step.

INTERVIEWER:       Which part of Pakistan do you want to see and which part you like.

VISITOR:                   I like to see the cities; I like to see the other big cities like Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi. I like to see the countryside; I would like to see other parts of Pakistan.

INTERVIEWER:       what do you think about the education system of Pakistan?

VISITOR:                   I think, a lot of people are working very hard, but I think it is possible to get most children in school. Until teachers are more respected in Pakistani society, I think it will be quite hard for education to progress.

INTERVIEWER:       As you know that our medium of instruction is English, what do you think what language will be better for us as medium of instruction Urdu of English and why?

VISITOR:                   This is a very difficult question because it is for you to decide. It is your country I know, Urdu is your national language, and obviously it is important that the people speak the national good knowledge of Urdu as well as English.

INTERVIEWER:       Can you choose other language as a medium of instruction instead of English e. g. French or German?

VISITOR:                   A good question, no we don’t. but some people do study some subjects in other languages. In some schools there are lessons, of say, science in German or business study in Spanish but that is rare and that’s interesting parallel with your difficulties of English or Urdu etc. etc. I think the language problem you have, which in England, we don’t have, English is a international language so as we are lucky because it is also our native language. But for you it means two languages and that difficult and obviously every country needs to have its own language as part of its identity.

INTERVIEWER:       What will you suggest for the improvement of our education system?

VISITOR:                   I think better payment for teachers and more government support for teachers and less corruption in all aspects of the education will improve the system.

INTERVIEWER:       What do you like in Pakistan and what would you like to take from here?

VISITOR:                   I would like to take the friendly feelings of the people I have met. Friendship is highly valued by me. Which is very good and practically I am impressed with the friendly way I have been treated. And I think that the Pakistan people are very warmhearted.

INTERVIEWER:       How do you find Peshawar and the people of Peshawar ad especially in I.E.R?

VISITOR:                   People are very warm and very welcoming and I am extremely satisfied with the welcome I received here.

INTERVIEWER:       Thank you for sparing time and for providing some very valuable information. I am sure the students of I.E.R will find it very interesting. I thank you once again.

VISITOR:                   It’s my pleasure, sharing my experiences with you thanks.

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