Despite calls for teachers’ appreciation and improving their financial income, their situation in a number of Arab countries remains unsatisfactory, with frequent complaints about poor salaries, living conditions, and capabilities.
The picture is gloomier in countries experiencing armed conflicts, such as Syria, Yemen, and Libya. Thousands of schools have been bombed and destroyed, and there are not enough classrooms to accommodate students. (See a related article, “Middle East Suffers Largest Share of Attacks on Higher Education.”)
“Our attempts to teach online were unsuccessful, because of the poor Internet connection, lack of mobile phones, computers, and little financial capabilities,” said Ahlam Rashid, an Arabic teacher in the Atma refugee camp on the Syrian-Turkish border. “This led children to drop out of school.”
The situation for teachers is very difficult, she added. “It is rare to find schools with financial support. A teacher’s salary does not exceed $125, which is not enough to meet one’s basic living needs.”
According to Rashid, most teachers receive low wages and some work for free. “We organized a voluntary humanitarian campaign to collect donations to provide teachers’ salaries, to guarantee the continuation of educational services offered at schools of refugee children,” she said.
Even in more stable countries, teachers’ pay is low. In the 2018 Global Teacher Status Index, a survey by the U.K.-based Varkey Foundation of public attitudes toward teachers in 35 countries, Egypt ranked last or near the bottom on measures of what the respondents considered fair pay for teachers and what people thought teachers were paid, compared to what teachers actually were paid. (Egypt was the only Arab country among the 35 nations represented in the survey.)
Technology Is Not an Alternative
A teacher leads, guides, facilitates and mentors a student. They are role models who set an example to students and drive them towards a brighter future. A good teacher encourages independent thoughts and independent learning by Pankaj Samantray of Elets News Network.
A modern classroom is defined by technology these days. The Corona pandemic has accelerated the usage of technology in classrooms. There is constant pressure on teachers and administrators to implement technology in classes. Though there are several advantages of making use of technology in teaching, the question remains – can technology replace teachers in Future Classrooms? Well, the answer is clearly no. Though beneficial, technologies can never replace a teacher.
There is no doubt that ICT has become the need of an hour. It changed the basic needs from food, shelter, clothes to food, shelter, clothes and internet. ICT helps the individual in fulfilling all needs. It deals with interpersonal and interpersonal relationships. It also reaches the core areas to remote areas of any country. Right from the city to any village we can see the use of the internet. Many times it is used for entertainment or communication. But we have to think seriously about using the internet in education for enhancing the quality.
Also read: Ed-tech start-up eduTinker launches student- teacher management app
No matter how advanced or smart a computer program or a product is, it can never come close to the knowledge and life experience a teacher brings. Several researches have been conducted and it has been proven time and again that teachers bring about a change which no technology can. A teacher simply does not impart knowledge or information. And teaching is definitely not about facts and figures. A teacher leads, guides, facilitates and mentors a student. They are role models who set an example to students and drive them towards a brighter future. A good teacher encourages independent thoughts and independent learning. He/she can be a positive influence, can be an inspiration to set and achieve goals. The trust and bond between a teacher and student creates the perfect learning environment; which can never be achieved through virtual learning.
In today’s age the old school method of books and notes will not work. Teachers have to stay updated with today’s trends and equip themselves with the latest in technology. They have to implement these technological innovations in their curriculum, without losing their control over the classroom. For example, there are several school apps and smart apps for preschoolers available that make the process of learning and teaching really simple. The future of education is clearly going to be personalized-tech infused learning.
The generation today loves technology. To connect with students and help them understand better, a teacher will have to come out of the comfort zone and explore new ways to engage them. And, technology will certainly play an important role in achieving just that. Technology has immense potential to upgrade today’s educational system. There are several students’ apps and smart apps for preschoolers that help teachers improvise and enrich the overall teaching experience. New educational technologies will not only energize the students, but teachers as well. Which means, even in a technology infused learning environment, the role of the teacher will remain ever-important. Yes, it will become less traditional, but important nonetheless!
So, where do we stand in this debate of teachers versus technology? Well, the answer will have to be the middle ground of the two. While classrooms cannot function without a teacher, the fact remains that in the near future it will be the other way around too. Facilitating learning through technology presents tremendous opportunity for both the student and the teacher to deepen their knowledge and empower themselves. The teacher will have to become a facilitator of parting trustworthy information from electronic sources to the students. Teachers versus technology is an ongoing battle.
Technology plays a supporting role, but it’s the teacher who brings it all together. Technology is certainly changing the way students learn, but it cannot be termed as a replacement for teachers. High-quality teachers create a classroom culture that motivates students and leads them on the path of success. Technology cannot inspire, help them through their struggles, help them fight back and stand up. Yes!
In recent days, online courses offered by numerous top universities and how this has opened doors for students all around the world as now they can study whatever subject in any field they want from their homes.
It was after the introduction of these courses that the debate about this topic got started. Now that the students have access to all the resources at home, what is the need of the physical presence of teachers, right?
Moreover, we see more and more use of computers in the classrooms. We see social media is being used in learning environments, we see children using multiple apps to help them in their studies.
Now, let us talk about some points from the other side of the debate. Although technology is helping a lot in the learning environment, it has not completely taken over the role of a teacher.
Technology is merely an augmentation to a teacher. It can help the process of learning, but it certainly cannot replace the role of the teacher.
Even in online courses, we see that teachers are necessary to give lectures, whether in the form of videos, tutorials or via Skype sessions. Children still need to learn computers, which of course are taught by teachers.
Students need teachers to direct them in learning hands-on skills in science, technology, engineering, art, and mechanics. Moreover, in order to learn critical skills like decision making, time management, etc. a child needs a teacher, as the technology cannot teach these human skills.
It is also important that we remember a teacher is more than just a facilitator of knowledge; a teacher also acts as a guide, a mentor and an inspiration for students, a role that cannot be replaced by technology of any kind.
Teachers can take help of different software to fulfill the needs of diverse learners as per their learning styles. In today’s world no one should neglect the fact of diverse needs of learners. We should try to provide hands-on experiences to them. We are volunteers of the Skill based Society.
ICT has opened thousands of opportunities in front of us. If we travel in Global village ICT is the only vehicle through which we can complete our journey and reach our desired goal. In this way a teacher can take help of ICT to provide quality education to his learner. This can be a challenge for a teacher and learner to accept the change in education. But in reality ICT has shown the role of teachers in a global perspective.
Due to Globalization, Liberalization and Privatization education has widened in every manner. We need to take help of ICT to improve and sustain quality in education. Few NGOs and governments are giving free training of advanced ICT to teachers. Let’s hope that we will be able to bridge the gap between public and private educational institutes by using ICT.
Technology can only be a helping factor to learn, but it cannot replace the knowledge and experience that come with a teacher. And as long as the balance is maintained we can expect an education system that not only promotes learning, but also opens doors to creative freedom and expression.