Teachers play a crucial role in our society, as they are the custodians of building a sound knowledge base for our coming generations and providing responsible, learned and hardworking individuals to the national mainstream. Given the massive responsibility that is placed upon their shoulders, it is no surprise that most universities in Pakistan maintain a policy of getting teachers evaluated by their students in order to ensure that students feel as confident in a certain teacher’s skills and methodologies as the administration that first hired him or her.
But sadly in Pakistan, such evaluations do not seem to ever work. Irrespective of the problems highlighted by students, most teachers and professors continue as were in the next course or class that they are assigned, with the evaluation by students apparently ending up nowhere but in the bin.
The reason for the teacher evaluation forms not having any true effect on the methods and behaviour of teachers is that most universities do not take the feedback in the evaluation seriously, and fail to discuss the reported shortcomings with the teaching staff. As a result, faculty members continue with their jobs per routine. This continued disregard of students’ feedback over the years has in turn made students’ realize the futility of the evaluation exercise, with most engaging in such evaluations just for the sake of it.
Subsequently, something that can be used to improve the standard of teaching in our education system considerably has been turned into a thoughtless endeavour. The students don’t care because the administration does not; and the teachers don’t mind because nothing changes on the ground. The situation of evaluations stands as above in most universities, but if given the proper weight, these evaluation forms can lead to incremental changes that can well see all three sides – administration, faculty and students – gaining benefits that ultimately elevate the standard of educational services at our universities.
Some are discussed below.
If their opinion is given value, students will naturally become more trusting towards the university administrations and in return give due consideration to their practices. It is a way of building mutual trust. An evaluation that is known to be treated like nothing more than waste paper will have no value for students, and is likely to make them respond to the activity halfheartedly, rather than honestly. More so, students will begin to associate the university administration with being oblivious to their concerns, with the end result being a complete disbelief in any claim the administrative officials make in the future. That, is a reputation any university does not wish to keep.
Evaluations pave the way for improving the overall educational quality. Besides teacher’s evaluations, universities should also conduct general evaluations about the institution. These evaluations can then be utilised to improve educational services and facilities as well as teaching methodologies to bring them in line with the expectations of a younger generation of students. Universities can learn what today’s students are looking for in their educational experience and then make necessary changes to remove the deficiencies and appeal to a greater segment of the student population. If students get nothing out of monotonous lectures, administrations and teachers can listen to their feedback to devise methodologies to make class environment more and more interactive and conducive to learning.
This would not only make students get maximum gains out of their time in the classroom, but also make the university well known for being empathetic towards their students’ concerns, making it more attractive to prospective students.
Teachers Can Learn Much
As students engage with instructors at a much more personal level than the administration, they probably have a much clearer idea about the teacher’s strengths and weaknesses. If a teacher lacks a certain skill or expertise, a genuine feedback from students can help the university realise the same and take appropriate measures. The administration can arrange professional workshops and training programmes so that faculty members get an opportunity to improve .
Moreover, the evaluation and importance given to the feedback therein will keep the academic staff on the lookout for bettering themselves and their methods of teaching. As a matter of fact, most teachers in Pakistan stop learning/improving themselves once they are assured of secure jobs at noted institutions. The feedback will force them to change their lax ways and get on the learning bandwagon, something that can have far reaching positive effects on our education system.
The process of evaluation can be an empowering exercise for students. The value attached to their collective opinion will not only leave them feeling valued, but also shun notions that students are passive recipients of information with no say in critical matters that concern their very future.
Evaluation forms are important for students, teachers and administration alike and can play a vital role in bringing educational reforms in universities. These forms should not be considered a formality. Student should take part in the activity with utmost honesty and responsibility, administration should carefully analyse the opinions and take suitable measures and last but not the least, teachers should learn to accept their imperfections and strive for improving themselves and with them, the overall level of education in Pakistan.
The views and opinions expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views and policy of The Academia Magazine