Course: Education in Pakistan (6506) Semester: Autumn 2021
ASSIGNMENT No. 2
- 1 Highlight the role of Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education and ‘‘Education Extension Centers” in Pakistan System of Education.
Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education are responsible to administer school and colleges offering primary and secondary education in Pakistan. Every BISE also administer the exames for such classes. Every province has boards in major districts.
The board’s role also varies based on the organization’s purpose and vision. As organizations grow and evolve, and the world they operate in grows and changes, the board is responsible for reviewing the changes and making adjustments that are in the best interests of the organization.
Pakistan’s education system is matriculation based, and the students are required to pass the matric examination from regional BISE or Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education. There are several boards of education in all provinces, and there is one federal board of education. The list of all BISE boards in Pakistan is given below according to the region. You can check complete detail of every board, including results, date sheets, announcements, examination papers, past papers and contact details.
- The Board of Education is made up of seven unsalaried citizens elected to serve three-year terms. The board’s powers and duties are derived from the New York State Constitution, the laws of New York State, and the rulings of the New York State Commissioner of Education.
The Board of Education’s main areas of responsibility are:
- Establish district policies
- Develop an annual budget for public approval
- Vote on the Superintendent’s recommendations on personnel matters and contracts
- Review courses of study and textbooks
- Act as a communication link between residents and the Superintendent
- Employ a Superintendent who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the district and administration of board policies.
The Superintendent develops policies, programs and plans for board action.
No person or group of persons acts in the name of the board. All motions require a majority vote before the board can act. A board member is in an official capacity only during an official board meeting.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a culturally and linguistically diverse large South Asian country bordered by Afghanistan and Iran to the north and west, China to the northeast, India to the east and the Arabian Sea to the south. The Muslim-majority country was established in its current form after the partition of former British India into India and Pakistan in 1947, and the subsequent secession of Bangladesh, formerly known as East Pakistan, in 1971.
Currently the sixth most populous country in the world with 212 million people, Pakistan is characterized by one of the highest population growth rates worldwide outside of Africa. Even though the roughly 2 percent rate is now slowing, the country’s population is estimated to reach 403 million by 2050 (UN median range projection). There are more young people in Pakistan today than at any point in its history, and it has one of the world’s largest youth populations with 64 percent of Pakistanis now under the age of 30. Consider that Karachi is projected to become the third-largest city in the world with close to 32 million people by the middle of the century.
If Pakistan manages to educate and skill this surging youth population, it could harness a tremendous youth dividend that could help to fuel the country’s economic growth and modernization. Failure to integrate the country’s legions of youngsters into the education system and the labor market, on the other hand, could turn population growth into what the Washington Post called a “disaster in the making”: “Putting catastrophic pressures on water and sanitation systems, swamping health and education services, and leaving tens of millions of people jobless”—trends that would almost inevitably lead to the further destabilization of Pakistan’s already fragile political system.
Given the poor state of Pakistan’s education system and its already rising youth unemployment rate, such fears are anything but unfounded. According to the Global Youth Development Index published by the Commonwealth, a measure which uses the domains of civic participation, education, employment and opportunity, health and well-being, and political participation to gauge the progress of young people, Pakistan ranked only 154th of 183 countries, trailing sub-Saharan African nations like Sierra Leone or Ethiopia.
Perhaps most strikingly, Pakistan has the highest number of out-of-school children worldwide after Nigeria: Approximately 22.7 million Pakistani children age five to 16—44 percent of this age group—did not participate in education in 2017. As shown in the table below, attrition rates increase substantially as children progress up the educational ladder.
This situation is exacerbated by striking inequalities based on sex and socioeconomic status. Gender disparities are rampant with boys outnumbering girls at every stage of education. According to Human Rights Watch, 32 percent of girls of elementary school age are out of school, compared with 21 percent of boys. By grade six, only 41 percent of girls participate in education, compared with 51 percent of boys. And by grade nine, merely 13 percent of young women are still enrolled in school.
The causes of these gender disparities are numerous. They include safety concerns, particularly in rural areas where students have to walk to school and rape of young girls is sadly not uncommon, as well as child marriage and a culture that has historically undervalued the education of young women. Poverty also plays a major role. Families, particularly those in rural areas, often cannot afford the costs related to education. Here again the results are devastating, particularly for girls, who are frequently kept at home to cook and do housework so that both parents can work to keep the family afloat.
It’s crucial to understand that huge socioeconomic disparities exist in Pakistan not only between rural and urban regions, but also between the country’s diverse provinces. These disparities have a big impact on educational outcomes, including vast gaps in access to education and overall educational attainment. While literacy rates in cities like Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi are close to 75 percent, for instance, these rates can be as low as 9 percent in the “tribal regions” of Baluchistan, Pakistan’s largest and poorest province. Whereas 65 percent of fifth graders in Punjab province were able to read English sentences in 2018, only 34 percent of fifth graders in Baluchistan were able to do the same. The percentage of out-of-school children in the vast province with a small population spread over a large area—a fact that means that there isn’t a school within walking distance for many students—stands at an alarming 70 percent. Conversely, in the urban and more affluent Islamabad Capital Territory, merely 12 percent of children are not in school.
Problems in Pakistani education are manifold. They range from dysfunctional and dilapidated school facilities that lack sanitation or electricity, to underqualified teaching staff, widespread corruption, and tens of thousands of “ghost teachers” that sap public payrolls by not showing up for work. While most of these problems are worse at the elementary level, where most of Pakistan’s students are enrolled, they have ripple effects for the entire education system and depress enrollment rates at all levels. The gross enrollment rate (GER) in secondary education is as low as 43 percent before dropping down to 9 percent at the tertiary level—an extremely low percentage by global standards. To put these rates into regional perspective, the secondary GER in both India and Bangladesh is 73 percent, and as high as 98 percent in Sri Lanka (UNESCO statistics).
Crucially, Pakistan devotes comparatively few resources to education and trails regional countries like India or Nepal in education spending. In 2017, Pakistan spent only 2.9 percent of its GDP on education—far below the government’s official target of 4 percent. Factors like declining economic growth rates, high levels of public debt, inflation, and budget shortfalls make it unlikely that this situation will improve in the near term and have, in fact, resulted in heavy-handed austerity in the education sector and elsewhere. It remains to be seen if the economic situation will improve in the future and whether Pakistan can defuse its “population bomb” with inclusive economic development.
- 2 Explain the concept and fundamentals questions in curriculum planning. Also discuss the characteristics of good curriculum with examples.
Sometimes, life in the classroom seems so dynamic and hectic that it might feel as though all plans can go astray. As a teacher, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget about the big picture, and curriculum is the big picture. In other words, curriculum is the sum total of skills and concepts that students learn, explicitly as well as implicitly. Losing track of the big picture of a curriculum plan is totally understandable, but at the same time, having an overarching plan is an important way to make sure you don’t lose track of what matters most in a particular unit of study. Sensible curriculum planning will bring focus to your teaching, and it will also make it easier to figure out what activities, projects, and lessons you do each day. Follow along with novice teacher Mr. Geller as he discovers what curriculum planning is.
The concept of curriculum is as dynamic as the changes that occur in society. In its narrow sense, curriculum is viewed merely as a listing of subject to be taught in school. In a broader sense, it refers to the total learning experiences of individuals not only in schools but in society as well.
These are the fundamental questions that will be addressed in this lesson. Curriculum from Different Points of View There are many definitions of curriculum. Because of this, the concept of curriculum is sometimes characterized as fragmentary, elusive and confusing. The definitions are influenced by modes of thoughts, pedagogies, political as well as cultural experiences 1. Traditional Points of View of Curriculum In the early years of 20th century, the traditional concepts held of the “curriculum is that it is a body of subjects or subject matter prepared by the teachers for the students to learn”. It was synonymous to the “course of study” and “syllabus” Robert M. Hutchins views curriculum as “permanent studies” where the rule of grammar, reading, rhetoric and logic and mathematics for basic education are emphasized. Basic Education should emphasize the 3 Rs and college education should be grounded on liberal education. On the other hand, Arthur Bestor as an essentialist, believe that the mission of the school should be intellectual training, hence curriculum should focus on the fundamental intellectual disciplines of grammar, literature and writing. It should also include mathematics, science, history and foreign language. This definition leads us to the view of Joseph Schwab that discipline is the sole source of curriculum. Thus in our education system, curriculum is divided into chunks of knowledge we call subject areas in basic education such as English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and others. In college, discipline may includes humanities, sciences, languages and many more 2. Progressive Points of View of Curriculum On the other hand, to a progressivist, a listing of school, subjects, syllabi, course of study, and list of courses or specific discipline do not make a curriculum. These can only be called curriculum if the written materials are actualized by the learner. Broadly speaking, curriculum is defined as the total learning experiences of the individual. This definition is anchored on John Dewey’s definition of experience and education. He believed that reflective thinking is a means that unifies curricular elements. Thought is not derived from action but tested by application. Caswell and Campbell viewed curriculum as “all experiences children have under the guidance of teachers”. This definition is shared by Smith, Stanley and Shores when they defined “curriculum as a sequence of potential experiences set up in the schools for the purpose of disciplining children and youth in group ways of thinking and acting” Marsh and Willis on the other hand view curriculum as all the “experiences in the classroom which are planned and enacted by the teacher, and also learned by the students. Points of View on Curriculum Development From the various definitions and concepts presented, it is clear that curriculum is a dynamic process. Development connotes changes which are systematic. A change for the better means any alteration, modification or improvement of existing condition. To produce positive changes, development should be purposeful, planned and progressive. This is how curriculum evolves.
The Characteristics of a Good Curriculum are as follows: 1. It should faster the growth of development of attitude and skills required for maintaining a planned social order of democratic type. To put more concretely, it should contribute towards democratic living.
The Characteristics of a Good Curriculum are as follows:
- It should faster the growth of development of attitude and skills required for maintaining a planned social order of democratic type. To put more concretely, it should contribute towards democratic living.
- It should not be narrowly conceived but dynamic and forward looking, sample adequately both the scientific content and the abilities of the pupils to the developed, should cater to the right use of leisure later on and should be related to the environment in which the children live. Consequently, it will then become exiting, real and imaginative.
- It is tested and improved through research.
- It should aim at bringing about an intelligent and effective adjustment with the environment itself. Further, it should enable pupils to acquire relevant scientific information of subsequent use in the significant areas of human living.
- It should be psychologically sound. It should take into account the theories of learning relevant to science teaching. Further, children’s capacities and capabilities, if taken into account, will lead to the development of differentiated curriculum. Incorporating geographical difference in it will be another innovation.
- It should provided sufficient scope for the cultivation of skills, interest, attitudes and appreciations.
- It must be mostly based upon the first hand experiences of the pupils from all the significant areas of human living. These experiences are characterized by newness, novelty, challenge, stimulation and creativity. Science Content receives increasing emphasis as the children move to the higher grades.
- 3 Critically discuss the structure of and system of examination in Pakistan at secondary level. What are the drawbacks of this system and how the situation can be improved?
In Pakistan, the external examination at secondary and higher secondary levels are conducted by (1) different Divisional BISEs (DBISE) regulated by provincial ministry of education, (2) a Federal BISE (FBISE) regulated by the federal ministry of education, and (3) two Private BISEs (PBISE) regulated by private organizations.
Pakistan’s education system is divided into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary School Certificate); and university programs leading to graduate and advanced degrees.
All academic education institutions are the responsibility of the provincial governments. The federal government mostly assists in curriculum development, accreditation and some financing of research.
The literacy rate ranges from 72.38% in Islamabad to 10.37% in the Musakhel District. Between 2000-2004, Pakistanis in the age group 55-64 had a literacy rate of almost 30%, those aged between 45-54 had a literacy rate of nearly 40%, those between 25-34 had a literacy rate of 50%, and those aged 15-24 had a literacy rate of more than 60%. These data indicate that, with every passing generation, the literacy rate in Pakistan is rising by around 10%.
Pakistan has public and private educational institutions. There are private primary, secondary and higher educational institutions in Pakistan. The private schools charge fees and in many cases provide better education to its students.
This stage consists of five classes I-V and enrolls children of age 5-9 years. Since independence, the policy makers pronounced to make primary education free and compulsory. According to Pakistan Integrated Household Survey (PIHS) 1998-99, the gross participation rate was 71 percent in 1999, for male it was 80 percent and for female it was 61 percent. For urban female it was 92 and for rural it was 50 percent. The lowest participation rate observed for rural female in Sindh Province that was 33 percent. The net enrolment rate was 42 percent, for urban male it was 47 percent and 37 percent for rural female.
The middle schooling is of three years duration and comprised of class VI, VII and VIII. The age group is 10-12 years. The participation rate at middle school was about 34 percent during 2000-2001. Males were 36 percent and females were 33 percent.
The high school children stay for two years in classes IX and X. The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education conducts the examination. A certificate of secondary school is awarded to the successful candidates. The participation rate at high school was about 22 percent in 2000-2001 of which, 24 percent were males and 20 percent were females. Vocational Education is normally offered in high schooling. There are varieties of trades offered to the students and after completion of the course they get jobs as carpenters, masons, mechanics, welders, electrician, refrigeration and similar other trades. There are 498 vocational institutions with an enrolment of about 88 thousand in 2001-2002.
Higher Secondary Education:
The higher secondary stage is also called the “intermediate stage” and is considered a part of college education. Higher Secondary Education consists of classes XI to XII. During two years stay in this cycle of education, a student at the age of 16 years in this stage can opt for general education, professional education or technical education. The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) conducts the examination and awards a Certificate of Higher Secondary School Education (HSSC). According to 1979 Education Policy, all schools were to be upgraded to higher Secondary Schools. Middle sections of high schools were to be linked with primary schools (designating elementary education). This system has limited success and some problems were experienced. Keeping in view the problems this system is being introduced gradually.
To obtain a degree, 4 years of higher education after 10 years of primary and secondary schooling is required. Students who pass their first-degree stage are awarded a Bachelor’s degree in arts or science, typically at the age of 19 years. In order to complete an honors course at Bachelor’s degree level an additional one year’s study is required. Further, a two years course is required for Master’s degree who has completed two years Bachelors’ degree. A doctoral degree requires normally 3 years of study after the completion of a master’s degree course.
Main laws/decrees Governing Higher Education:
Decree: National Education Policy Year: 1992
Academic year: Classes from: Sep to: Jun
Long vacation from: Jul to: Aug
Languages of instruction: English, Urdu
Stages of studies:
Non-university level post-secondary studies (technical/vocational type):
Polytechnics, technical and commercial institutes offer courses at Post-Secondary School Certificate level. They provide courses lasting between one and three years that lead to Certificates and Diplomas.
University level studies:
University level first stage: Bachelor’s Degree:
Bachelor’s Pass Degrees are normally obtained after a two-year course and Honours Degrees after a three year course in Arts, Science and Commerce. First degrees in Engineering take four years and in Medicine five years. New universities have also introduced a three-year Bachelor Degree course.
University level second stage: Master’s Degree, BEd, LLB:
A Master’s Degree requires two years’ study after a Pass Degree and one year after an Honours Degree. The BEd requires one year’s study beyond a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts or Science. The LLB is a postgraduate qualification and entry to the three-year course is by the Bachelor’s Degree in any other subject.
University level third stage: MPhil, PhD:
The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) takes two years after the Master’s Degree. The PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy) is a research degree which requires three years’ study beyond the Master’s Degree.
University level fourth stage: Higher Doctorate:
The degrees of Doctor of Literature (DLitt), Doctor of Science (DSc) and Doctor of Law (LLD) are awarded after five to seven years of study.
Professional and Technical Education
The duration of post secondary education varies in technical and professional fields. The polytechnic diploma is a three-year course. A bachelor’s degree in medicine (MBBS) requires 5 years of study after intermediate stage (12 years of schooling). Similarly, a bachelor’s degree course both in engineering and veterinary medicine is of 4 years’ duration after the intermediate examination.
- 4 Critically discus the role of Information and Communication Technologies in education. How as a teacher you can ensure effective use of ICT in teaching learning process?
IT role in the education of undeveloped countries On the basis of views of UNESCO international commission about studying the communications problems one of the roles of communication and information technology in the matter of the education, i.e. transferring necessary information for growth, making and growing the personality and learning the skills, transferring necessary various and extended messages in order to help the learners in recognition, understanding and appreciating each other and unity in social obligations.
Information and communication technology (ICT) has contributed immensely to social and economic improvements, such as higher employment and productivity, increasing access to a higher quality of life.1 ICT incorporates electronic technologies and techniques used to manage information and knowledge, including information-handling tools used to produce, store, process, distribute and exchange information.2 Benefits of ICT can be achieved directly, through improved healthcare provision and disease prevention, or indirectly, through improved social infrastructure, economic growth, or other broader determinants of population health. In the context of public health, ICT, if properly designed and implemented, can generate many positive outcomes: improved access for communities in rural or remote areas; support of healthcare professionals; real-time disease surveillance; data sharing; and data capture, storage, interpretation, and management.3
ICT can generate important contributions to public health, from education to surveillance. In the education and higher learning context, ICT enables healthcare professionals to be updated and trained on knowledge advances wherever are located.4 The US National Higher Education ICT Initiative (2003) defines ICT knowledge as “the ability to use digital technology, communication tools, and/or networks appropriately to solve information problems in order to function in an information society. This includes the ability to use technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate information and the possession of a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information.”5 ICT tools are also indispensable to healthcare professionals and researchers because of the current volume and complexity of information available from different sources (peer-reviewed journals, the Internet, mainstream media).6 In 2003, a study reported that 55 new clinical trials were performed per day, 1,260 articles were indexed in MEDLINE per day, and 5,000 papers were published in the health field per day.7 Information management tools are thus necessary for these professionals to navigate through the vast amounts of data and information available.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ICT “can contribute to achieving universal education worldwide, through the delivery of education and training of teachers, improved professional skills, better conditions for lifelong learning, and the potential to reach people that are outside the formal education process.”8 In the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, ICT is highlighted as the means to reach the underserved, to listen and learn from their experience.9 Online education is essential for students whose physical presence in class is impeded because of work or family responsibilities, geographical limitations, health issues, or other constraints.10 Although face-to-face interaction in a classroom setting seems to be preferred among education professionals, the numbers of online universities and online courses offered by on-campus universities have risen in the past 10 years. In order to develop successful online programs, however, it is necessary to understand what the specific ICT needs of an institution are.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), investments in higher education are essential for economic growth, and the global demand for higher education is predicted to increase vastly from less than 100 million students in 2000 to more than 250 million students in 2025.11 Institutions have to integrate the innovative tools made available by ICT to increase access to and improve the quality and competitiveness of higher education programs. Without these tools and technologies, individuals and institutions have poorer chances to address 21st-century issues and challenges. Therefore, higher education institutes worldwide are redesigning their educational systems, teaching methods and learning practices.12 Challenges and gaps exist, however, such as uncoordinated planning and implementation, shortages of trained staff to cope with the diversity of responsibilities and tasks, resistance from staff and reluctance to be retrained, the need to recognize and utilize the appropriate technology and tools, and the need to engage staff with proper knowledge and skills, among others.13 A systematic and inclusive ICT implementation, with the participation of all areas inside an academic institution, is essential to increase the chances of success.
To our knowledge, neither studies nor validated frameworks currently exist to establish an integrative approach to ICT needs assessment. The purpose of this study is to examine the role of ICT in enhancing community outreach, academic and research collaboration, and education and support services (IT-CARES) in an academic setting.
A survey was deployed to assess the ICT needs in an academic setting, specifically at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health (COPH). The survey was developed using the Delphi methodology, which is an iterative, multistage process designed to combine opinion into group consensus. The methodology searches for “expert” consensus through a series of structured questionnaires.14 Items from previously validated surveys15, 16 were used and were modified to meet the specific needs of the current research.
Questionnaire development was initiated by asking key stakeholders in community outreach, academic, research, education, and service support settings to provide feedback on current ICT issues and future recommendations for relevant ICT tools that would be beneficial in their jobs, and to capture current ICT issues. The questions were modified to meet the needs identified by the stakeholders within the college. From their feedback, a structured questionnaire was created to address existing and future directions for resources, intranet, training, hardware, social media, support, and usability, and existing use of technologies. The initial survey was then sent back to the same key stakeholders to provide feedback and further develop the questionnaire. After recommendations were made and consensus was reached, the questionnaire was further refined to address relevant ICT questions.
Participants were asked to rate the level of importance of each ICT question on the following five-point Likert scale: high importance, moderate importance, neutral, low importance, and not at all important. Participants were also asked to answer descriptive questions about their role in the college and the nature of their work to better gauge their perspective of ICT needs. The questionnaire consisted of eight sections. These sections were developed on the basis of prior literature17, 18 and were modified to meet the study needs.
The survey was uploaded to SurveyMonkey, an Internet-based survey provider, and the link was distributed to COPH faculty, staff, and students via e-mail. Inclusion criteria specified that participants were to be part of the COPH and 19 years of age or older. The survey was sent to a total number of 359 participants, including 70 faculty, 89 staff, and 200 students. An e-mail message was sent to faculty, staff, and students identified from university rosters. The survey was available online for two weeks. At the beginning of the second week, one reminder to complete the survey was sent to the participants. The participants voluntarily completed the survey and submitted it anonymously. The responses were confidential and were used to determine the needs of ICT in the academic, educational, community outreach, research, and support areas.
The survey was hosted on SurveyMonkey from November 19, 2012, to December 3, 2012. The data were gathered and analyzed during December 2012. The entirety of the study was performed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center COPH under Institutional Review Board #556-12-EX.
Descriptive analysis using univariate statistics was performed to determine frequency distributions for the categorical variables and to report the means and frequency distributions for continuous variables when appropriate. Chi-square tests or Fisher’s exact tests were conducted to examine the differences in responses by age and role in the COPH at significance level of .05 for two-tailed tests. When the comparisons were performed, responses for moderate and high importance, low and no importance, agree and strongly agree, and disagree and strongly disagree were grouped under one category each. Among the COPH roles, staff and other roles were considered in the same group. SAS version 9.1 was used to perform the required analyses.
The survey was made available on Survey Monkey and an e-mail message was sent to 359 participants, including faculty, staff, and students. The total number of respondents was 96, corresponding to a 27 percent response rate, and most respondents were 26 to 35 years old (see Table Table11).
|Variables||Frequency, % (n)|
|19–25 years||10% (n = 9)|
|26–35 years||43% (n = 40)|
|36–50 years||22% (n = 21)|
|Above 50 years||25% (n = 24)|
|Skipped||N = 2|
|Student||43% (n = 40)|
|Faculty||20% (n = 19)|
|Staff||35% (n = 33)|
|Other||2% (n = 2)|
|Skipped||N = 2|
|Certificate program||18% (n = 7)|
|Master of Public Health program||59% (n = 23)|
|Doctoral program||23% (n = 9)|
|Skipped||N = 57|
|Environmental, Agricultural and||10% (n = 5)|
|Biostatistics||16% (n = 8)|
|Epidemiology||18% (n = 9)|
|Health Services Research||28% (n = 14)|
|Health Promotion, Social and||29% (n = 15)|
|Other||31% (n = 16)|
|Skipped||N = 45|
|Online course enrollment|
|Yes||13% (n = 12)|
|No||87% (n = 81)|
|Skipped||N = 3|
The results indicate that the majority of the participants attribute the least importance to learning how to create web pages, create YouTube videos, or use Skype (see Table Table2).2). This finding may be due to the participants’ already having the necessary skills to use these tools, or a lack of knowledge about how these tools can be used in an academic or research setting. When the responses were compared by age groups, a statistically significant association was found for Skype training (p = .02). The results show that the majority of the participants above 50 years of age (58.3 percent, n = 14) and 36 to 50 years of age (57.9 percent, n = 11) attributed moderate to high importance to Skype training, compared to 50 percent (n =4) of those age 19 to 25 years and 22.9 percent (n = 8) of those age 26 to 35 years. There was also a significant association between role in the COPH and the importance attributed to the ability of students and faculty to create their own web pages (p = .002). The majority of faculty members (77.8 percent, n = 14) and those with staff or other roles (53.3 percent, n = 16) attributed moderate to high importance to creating web pages, compared to 33.4 percent (n = 12) of students.
- 5 Explain the need and objectives of drug education and highlight the problems and issues in implementing of drug education at school level.
Drug education is the planned provision of information, resources, and skills relevant to living in a world where psychoactive substances are widely available and commonly used for a variety of both medical and non-medical purposes, some of which may lead to harms such as overdose, injury, infectious disease (such as HIV or hepatitis C), or addiction.
Planning includes developing strategies for helping children and young people engage with relevant drug-related issues during opportunistic and brief contacts with them as well as during more structured sessions. Drug education enables children, youth and adults to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to appreciate the benefits of living healthily (which may or may not include the use of psychoactive substances), promote responsibility towards the use of drugs and relate these to their own actions and those of others, both now and in their future lives. It also provides opportunities for people to reflect on their own and others’ attitudes to various psychoactive substances, their use, and the people who use them.
Drug education campaigns & programs
Drug education can be given in numerous forms, some more effective than others. Examples include advertising and awareness raising campaigns such as the UK Government’s FRANK campaign or the US “media campaign”. In addition there are school based drug education programs like DARE or that currently being evaluated by the UK Blueprint Programme. In efforts to prevent problematic substance use, drug education may perpetuate myths and stereotypes about psychoactive substances and people who use them.
Drug education can also take less explicit forms; an example of this is the Positive Futures Programme, funded by the UK government as part of its drug strategy. This programme uses sport and the arts as catalysts to engage young people on their own turf, putting them in contact with positive role models (coaches/trained youth workers). After building a trusting relationship with a young person, these role models can gradually change attitudes towards drug use and steer the young person back into education, training and employment. This approach reaches young people who have dropped out of mainstream education. It also has additional benefits for the community in reduced crime and anti-social behaviour.
School-based drug education
School-based drug education began with the anti-alcohol “temperance education” programmes of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union in the United States and Canada in the late 19th century. In many respects, the WCTU’s progressive education agenda set the template for much of what has been done since in the name of drug education.
Past research into drug education has indicated that to be effective it must involve engaging, interactive learning strategies that stimulate higher-order thinking, promote learning and be transferable to real life circumstances. Current challenges from this approach exist in adopting evidence-based school drug education programmes. Currently, in the majority of countries where preventive drug education programs and courses exist, they are established and funded by the Government. These education programs aim to educate adolescents about illicit drug use in an effort to prevent illegal drug use while highlighting the dangers of problematic substance use.
The Australian Government has implemented a range of drug education programs through the National Drug Education Strategy (NDES) by providing schools with effective drug education programmes. The program aims to manage drug related issues and incidents within schools.
On 6 December 2015 the Australian Government Department of Health launched the Positive Choices portal as part of its response to the findings from the National Ice Taskforce report. Positive Choices is an online portal that facilitates access to interactive evidence-based drug education resources and prevention programs for school communities. Positive Choices builds on existing drug education resources developed by researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre such as the Climate Schools programs that have been proven to reduce alcohol and drug related harms and increase student well-being.
The Australian Department of Health and Aging identified that analgesics (90%), alcohol (80–90%) and tobacco (30–60%) were the most widely utilised substances among adolescents. In addition to this, cannabis was another commonly used illicit substance that accounted for 33% usage among adolescents aged 14–17 years
In addition, to government-funded programs, a number of not-for-profit organisations (such as Life Education Australia also provide drug education programs to adolescents. These preventative programs aim to deliver a progressive approach that will motivate and encourage young people to make positive decisions in life. Emphasis within these programs is also placed in focusing on deterring peer pressure as a means of empowering adolescents and promoting autonomy. This approach reaches 750,000 primary and secondary students in Australia each year.
D.A.R.E, Drug Abuse Resistance Education
D.A.R.E stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. In the United States, D.A.R.E is implemented in elementary school classrooms, 5th grade to educate students on drugs effects and temptations they may encounter. The program implemented in public and private school systems to prepare 5th graders for middle school, as well as all further education. Although D.A.R.E is implemented to prevent students from doing drugs in the future, there is little evidence to suggest it actually prevents students from doing drugs. In the article, “Long-Term Impact of Drug Abuse Resistance Education” by Dukes and Stein, a chi-squared test was performed to see if there was a significant difference between high school students that received D.A.R.E training and those who did not receive D.A.R.E and its relation to drug use. The study found that there is no significant difference between the drug use of students that received D.A.R.E and students that did not. One of the main reasons the authors mentioned D.A.R.E had little correlation with Drug use is that there are other external causes that only affect some students, which can lead them into the direction of drug use. Additionally, the time that students received D.A.R.E (5th grade), and the time that the students encounter drugs may be many years after, so students may have little remembrance of the program. However, the United States schools continue to implement the program in classrooms because the police officers that come into classrooms can serve as community role models to students, and all students are different so it may steer them away from drugs in the future.
Steroid use in high schools
Steroid use is a common form of drug use in many high schools across the United States. Many students, specifically males, use steroids to increase their performance in athletic events. Many professional athletes, for example professional cyclist, Lance Armstrong, and former professional MLB player, Alex Rodriguez both were nationally recognized as steroid users. Additionally, in an article in the Journal of Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology, it states that in a survey of 212 Canadian national track athletes, over 10% of them would take an illegal drug if it was undetectable, if it could help them win an Olympic gold medal. Many adolescents idolize athletes, so when they find out there is a way to enhance their performance, and that elite athletes are using them, steroids may be used by students.
An article in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse ran a study on two southern California high schools in middle class suburbs, and the high school students’ use of anabolic-androgenic steroids. It surveyed students on if they use steroids, knew the side effects of steroids, and additionally their use of other prevalent drugs. The article specifically found that male students that were athletes were more likely to use steroids than students that are female or non-athlete students in general. Most students that participated in steroids played the sports, football or soccer, and were most likely to do steroids if they participated in both sports. Professional sports, influence young athletes, and when professional athletes participate in drugs, it can lead young adults to use drugs without realizing the side effects and consequences that come along with drug use.
Also, a study in the journal of Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy discusses alcohol and drug prevention programs in Australia for students in grades 8 and 9. It goes into detail about the student’s between 13 and 15 years old, to see if alcohol and drug prevention programs have an actual effect on preventing substance abuse. The study comes to the conclusion that when the students went through a drug and alcohol prevention program, they were less likely to develop a drug or alcohol problem.
Technology and drug education
The University of North Carolina Greensboro has researched the drug prevention program, All Stars, Sr.,. The program is developing education through technology (videos), so that health education programs could reach schools in rural communities. The technology programs would provide drug/ health education in general with qualified instructors, in areas that do not have programs.
Recent studies have identified that a gap between the theory of education programmes and the implementation exists. This is regards to the collaborative learning approach and difficulties with teachers adopting these interactive drug education programmes. The practical implications of these findings are that professional training and support are required to increase the effectiveness of teaching staff, and the uniform implementation of drug curriculum. Additional drug education research in the future should acknowledge the complexities of implementing these programmes in a school environment. Furthermore, additional support for teachers, counselors, school administrators and other education professionals should be integrated as a means of being realistic about what constitutes effective drug education and maintaining a high quality standard.
Preventive drug education
Preventative drug education has been introduced in classrooms. Programs such as D.A.R.E. and the Just Say No campaign were introduced in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s, however research has shown no evidence that these programs were effective.
Schools play an important role, both inside and beyond the classroom, in preventing alcohol and other drug harm. While providing drug education as part of the curriculum is important, there’s more that schools can do.
Learning doesn’t happen solely in the classroom.
The culture of the school, and young people’s experiences at school can also be important protective factors against the harm from alcohol and other drugs.1
Why the school experience matters
Attending school is a major part of a young person’s life. About a quarter of each weekday is spent at school, more if someone participates in extra-curricular activities.
A positive school experience isn’t just about receiving a high-quality academic education – it’s also about belonging to a community which has a warm, inclusive and supportive culture.
School is a place to meet new people, make friends, form social circles and try out new hobbies and other activities.
Taking a ‘whole of school’ approach
A ‘whole of school’ approach takes a holistic view, recognising that student health and wellbeing are the result of complex and overlapping factors in the school’s environment.
Substantial social learning happens outside the classroom.
Having good relationships with peers, teachers, sports coaches and other staff, such as school counsellors and nurses, can impact a young person’s development.
Feeling a sense of belonging and connection to a school, and having positive role models, can help to protect young people from experiencing harm from alcohol and other drugs.1, 2 A good school culture may also have other positive benefits for students, such as reducing bullying and increasing their physical activity.3
A ‘whole of school’ approach includes policies and plans for the management of any alcohol or other drug-related incidents. Establishing and promoting clear protocols ensures that everyone understands their role and expected behaviours, while emphasising the school’s commitment to preventing harm.4
This approach works alongside evidence-based drug education in the classroom.
Drug education in the classroom
Drug education usually focuses on influencing students’ values, attitudes, knowledge and skills so they make healthier decisions about alcohol and other drugs.5, 6
There are principles that guide best-practice drug education. It needs to be:
- appropriately timed, so that students receive accurate information and develop skills before they need to use them
- delivered by teachers who have had relevant professional development to support their work
- interactive and include students developing skills such as decision-making and assertiveness
- accurate and relevant to real life, including information about how many young people are actually using alcohol and other drugs.
Young people need to get the facts around drug use so that they don’t believe ‘everyone else is doing it’. The truth is, they’re not.
Overall, the rates of alcohol and other drug use by teenagers have been decreasing.8
Lessons should focus on the most commonly used drugs that young people are more likely to be exposed to, which are alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.
There are also some education approaches that are not recommended, such as:4, 9
- lecture-style lessons with little or no student engagement
- one-off presentations that aren’t linked with the curriculum
- scare tactics that make inaccurate statements or exaggerate potential harm.
Educators should be cautious not to inadvertently glamourise or present alcohol or drug use as exciting or an adventure – even a frightening one.
It’s best to avoid using language or images that stigmatise people who use drugs, such as describing people who use drugs as ‘dirty’ or showing extreme images of people who may have used drugs. Students might have a family member who has experienced dependence or might need help themselves. Having drug use stigmatised in the classroom may mean they feel too ashamed to ask for support.
The limits of drug education
While important, drug education in schools will only have limited impact.
Evidence-based drug education has a role to play in preventing or delaying the use of alcohol and other drugs by young people. The later that use happens and the less frequent it is, the better an individual’s health outcomes are likely to be.
However, education alone won’t overcome the influence of media, advertising, music, online influencers and peer or social pressures.
With alcohol, which is a legal drug, young people are exposed to clever advertising during sport, on social media, and through outdoor billboards and transport ads.
Although drug education is unlikely to prevent every young person from ever using alcohol or other drugs, the later in life that use happens and the less frequent it is, the better the health outcomes are likely to be.
Delaying and reducing, as well as outright preventing, drug use remains a worthwhile health goal.7
Although information is not enough, it’s still important – and every young person has the right to know the facts.
The youth today face a number of challenges in everyday life. With peer pressure, the pressure to be successful in school and other factors, teenagers are turning to drug usage in larger numbers. Unfortunately, our youth are turning to drug use at an early age. Not only are high school and college age students are regularly using drugs, but also middle school students are turning to drugs.
The types of drugs which students are using range from vaping products, cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol to opioids and other drugs. The use is causing our students to become addicted to these products and it is having a negative effect in their behavior at school and home.
In order to combat the problem of drug usage in schools, it is important for parents and educators to be educated in the problems associated with drug abuse. By learning more about drug abuse and use in schools you can be alert for the warning signs and the drugs that are being used by our children today.