APSACS: The Crossroad of Future And Excellence
Army Public Schools and Colleges have been at the forefront of providing quality education to Pakistani students in major cities as well as remote areas of the country. Hina Khan explains the various aspects of the schooling system and how it outshines its peers in Pakistan.
country cannot progress without education and quality education can only be acquired when students are taught in a healthy and effective environment. Moreover, there needs to be productive learning, given that teaching-learning and syllabi should be universal in all the institutions of a country. Many countries such as France, Japan, United Kingdom and Norway follow national curricula. In this regard, Army Public Schools and Colleges in Pakistan have taken the credit on their part for their universal teaching-learning strategy.
Before talking about the various facets of APSACs, it is prudent to discuss the system in general. APSAC system was established in October 2005 with a secretariat in Rawalpindi. APSACs system has been divided into twelve regions that include 168 schools in their sub-divisions across Pakistan. The entire academic plans, development structures and co-curricular activities and the annual calendar is provided to all branches by the secretariat. And the APSACs system is spread not only in major towns, but also covers far flung areas of Pakistan so that children of even remote areas receive education that is at par with education provided to students in cosmopolitan cities.
In addition, APSACs is affiliated with Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Islamabad. It was affiliated with federal board in 1999, and the first batch of APS students appeared in matriculation examination in the year 2000, while the first batch of intermediate students appeared in federal board examination in 2006.
Additionally, the federal board is not only Pakistan’s topmost examination board, but also oversees operations of Pakistan-administered schools and colleges overseas, such as in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Yemen, Kuwait, Iran, Libya, Egypt, China, Tripoli and Turkey. Federal board facilitates all schools and colleges with standardized results. That is why APSACs is affiliated with federal board to keep its education standards streamlined.
Compared to government schools, all branches of APSACS are following same syllabus provided by the APSACS Secretariat. APSACS’ strategy of using same syllabus in its schools and colleges all across Pakistan is facilitating students in a way that if a student from any branch of APSACs has to leave the schools for any (personal) reason (for example one of the common reasons is migrating to another city), he or she has the advantage of being migrated or admitted to another branch of APSACs and continue education at the same pace.
On the contrary, learning through different syllabi; which is a fact of government and private schools, is a drawback, as effective development of students in terms of their skills such as thinking, critical thinking, creative and practical thinking is not attained. Moreover, same intellectual level among the students of different schools and colleges in different cities cannot be developed because of which students become diffident and lag behind, which can prove to be a setback for the students.
Furthermore, APSACs system focuses on students-centered learning. In APSACs, same annual calendar is followed in all branches that lead to the integration of ideas, information, communication and connection among students. Unfortunately, it is not the case in other schools of Pakistan, where teaching-learning system is in shambles. Syllabus being taught in government and private schools and colleges, such as of KPK, Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan are quite different from one another. Some schools and colleges are using Punjab text books and in some institutes, syllabus is being supplied by Oxford or Cambridge. Students being taught through different text books and appearing for a certain examination board often face challenges when they (or have to) transfer to any other examination board. Due to this appalling factor; effective, imperial and standard learning is not attained, which is evident in students’ result and progress all across Pakistan.
Although the factor of natural learning progression cannot be neglected, but syllabus designers of government schools and colleges in the past used to keep a general idea of students of only their territory in mind while designing the syllabus. But on September 4, 2019, a cabinet meeting chaired by PM Imran Khan decided that uniform syllabus would be introduced in schools and madrassahs across the country, whereas APSACS follow the same syllabus in its institutions all across Pakistan from the day of its establishment.
Furthermore, APSACs hire well-qualified and experienced teachers. Teachers in APSACs follow unconventional strategies during teaching, which have been proven to have fruitful effects on students’ learning. That is why it is also prudent to mention that workshops for teachers’ training are not only arranged before an academic session begins, but they continue throughout the year for better development and progress of the teaching/learning process. Army personnel have frequent postings in different cities and uniformity in education system followed in APSACs helps them to easily transfer their children in any APSAC branch. That is why APSACs system is considered more suitable for army personnel and illustrates the reason of a high number of enrollments of army personnel’s children in APSACs.
Moreover, it is wrongly said that APSACs only gives admissions to children of army officers and civilians are not catered to properly. And if they do get enrolled, they are not treated in the same manner as children of army personnel. But this perception is far from true. Not only are children of civilians enrolled in APSACs, they are given the same treatment in their formal and informal learning. For if it were not the case, there would be no civilian acquiring top positions in board examinations or in the examination held within the institute. According to 2018 and 2019 results, students of APSACs held top positions in SSC and HSSC. Moreover, each and every student in APSACs is strictly notified to follow the rules, whether it is a civilian or a child or of an army personnel.
So, in a quintessence, for a long term growth and social and economic prosperity, uniform, effective and standard education plays the role of the backbone for any country. Therefore, if the nation wants its youth and its resources to be used to their full for the progress of its country, effective education is the requisite. And APSACs system is already playing its due role towards that cause.
Hina Khan has a master’s degree in English Language and Teaching from NUML. She is a teacher at APS and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org