Teaching Professionalism and the Feminisation Debate in Pakistan

Shabana Shamaas Gul Khattak

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Teaching Professionalism and the Feminisation Debate in Pakistan

Shabana Shamaas Gul Khattak

Middlesex University London


This study focuses on teaching professionalism with special reference to its feminisation debate. Professionalism and professional development of teachers is an important discussion to unpack perspectives as to its definition in order to understand the entry points of professionalism and its feminisation arguments. Furthermore this research contains a discussion and analysis regarding the factors that influenced in shaping of teaching profession and professional development in Pakistan and the theories behind the present concept of feminisation of teaching professionals in social set-up. There are many hypothesis involved in the creation of teaching professionalism in Pakistan however for the purpose of this study only historical, political, religious and socio-cultural factors of teaching professionalism are evaluated. The study concludes that the British colonised education moulded the professional development of teachers towards English education, religion and socio-culture forces played a pivotal role in its feminisation context while it is the most respectable and desirable profession for women nevertheless last choice for merit-worthy capable people due to lack of standards and credibility of educational provision and low-level of training skills; uneven practices of recruitment and promotions and low salaries packages.

Cite this article:

  • Khattak, Shabana Shamaas Gul. "Teaching Professionalism and the Feminisation Debate in Pakistan." American Journal of Educational Research 2.12A (2014): 45-53.
  • Khattak, S. S. G. (2014). Teaching Professionalism and the Feminisation Debate in Pakistan. American Journal of Educational Research, 2(12A), 45-53.
  • Khattak, Shabana Shamaas Gul. "Teaching Professionalism and the Feminisation Debate in Pakistan." American Journal of Educational Research 2, no. 12A (2014): 45-53.

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1. Introduction

People always want teachers to change. Rarely has this been truer than in recent years. These times of global competitiveness like all movements of economic crisis, are producing immense moral panic about how we are preparing the generations of the future in our respective nation. Few people want to do much about the economy, but everyone – politicians, the media and the public alike-want to do something about education (Hargreaves, 1994: 5).

People especially governments, do want teachers to change. For this purpose in most of the countries, the government places emphasis on teacher training and their professional well-being. Teaching today is a complex work, requiring the highest standards of professional practice to perform it well. It is the core profession and the key agent of change in today’s knowledge society (Goodson and Hargreaves, 1996). So, what is Professionalism? or what is the meaning of professionalism and professionals? If we look at traditional theories of professions have characterised them in ‘trait’ term. ‘Trait theories define a profession by a number of features, such as their foundation on a mission of service; the requirement to use a specific and definable body of knowledge; and the regulation of entry to the professional group by a professional body (Greenwood, 1957). Professionalism or professionals defined and redefined through the continuous struggle between and within different occupational groups. Hence the values and attributes of professionals are fluid and subject to change and struggle. In short, professionalism is a shifting rather than a concrete phenomenon (Hanlon, 1998: 47). Despite the widespread use of term professionalism, the concept of ‘professional’ and professionalism remains very contested in our society. Hoyle and John (1995) have recommend, debates around the notion what it means to be professional focus on issue – knowledge, autonomy and responsibility. Moreover, they suggest that, despite many recent challenges in relation to teachers’ professionalism, these three issues remain important to consider. Their significance can be illustrated by examining a traditional conception of professionalism (Furlong et al, 2000).

The idea that an occupational group such as lawyers, doctors or teachers have a specialised body of knowledge is central to any traditional definition of professionalism. Professionals are seen to base their practice on a body of technical or specialist knowledge that is beyond the reach of lay people. Hoyle and John (1995) further argue that traditionally this knowledge is seen as having two component parts; first it has been tested by scientific method, thereby acquiring validity; second, it is supported by a variety of the theoretical models and case descriptions which allow it to be applied in specific cases. It is because professionals need to develop this body of ‘knowledge – based skills’ that they need long periods of training, significant parts of which need to go on within higher education.

Professionals, through specialist and usually long periods of training, are taught to understand this research validated knowledge and to apply it constructively and intelligently according to the technical rules governing the conduct of the profession (Hoyle and John, 1995: 46).

This means that the professionals utilise a specialist body of knowledge which is the argument for autonomy because professionals are seen as working in complex and unpredictable situation;

As professionals work in uncertain situations in which judgement is more important than routine, it is essential to effective practice that they should be sufficiently free from bureaucratic and political constraint to act on judgements made in the best interests (as they see them) of the clients (Hoyle and John, 1995:77).

The three concepts of knowledge, autonomy and responsibility, central to a traditional notion of professionalism, are often seen as closely interrelated. As said earlier it is because professionals face complex and unpredictable situations that they need a specialized body of knowledge, if they are to apply that knowledge, t is argued that they need the autonomy to make their own judgements. Given that they have that autonomy, it is essential that they act with responsibility – collectively they need to develop appropriate professional values (Furlong et al., 2000).

2. Aims and Objectives of this Study

•  To highlight the meaning and understanding of professionalism with special reference to teaching-professionalism.

•  To scrutinise factors in the creation of teaching professionalism in Pakistan.

•  To underline the feminisation debate in teaching profession.

•  To analyse teachers’ education, training and professional development in Pakistan.

3. Methodology

The study is based on the historical table research utilising mostly the scattered primary and secondary data about teaching professionalism. For the examination of the research findings theme and content analysis is adopted. This study is constructed according to the emerging themes and contents analysis that provides a sharper and more explicit focus on teaching professionalism and its feminisation discussion, which is the central aim of this study. Furthermore, I analysed feminisation debate in broad perspective around the world to investigate or to ask whether, and in which ways, this approach can enlighten our understanding of teachers gender and professional development in Pakistan.

4. The Creation of Teaching Professionalism in Pakistan: Historical Perspectives

The rise of the professions is a major theme in the social history of South Asia of the early twelfth century. The growth of numbers of professional organisation and self-consciousness of such as lawyers, physicians, artists, scientists, bureaucrats were emerged. It is obviously important for social historians, as well as of interest to teachers themselves, to discover when, where and in what circumstances the people who taught in schools and universities came to think of them and treat one another as professionals? What exactly makes a group into a profession is an obvious matter of debate, and it has in fact been discussed at length by sociologists (Khan, 1987). By the fourteen century some university teachers were known as ‘professor’, a term which suggests that an analogy was seen between them and the ‘professed’, men and women who had, a ‘calling’ or ‘vocation’ to join a religious order. It is of course from ‘profession’ in this sense that term ‘professional’ is derived (Khan, 1987). It is harder to say something definite about the teachers in medieval schools. It may be significant that the term’ school masters’ emerged in the thirteen century, and the ‘teacher’ in fourteen century (Iqbal, 1967).

After the political down fall of the Muslims in Indian subcontinent, the British rulers not only imposed an alien system of education on Indians but also ended a vast and well-developed system of education as well as teachers’ professional education, which was seeking to fulfill all the requirements of the Indian society (Gillani, 1983). The status of teachers’ profession during the British period started from 1784 to 1947 (Bearce, 1961). During this period different strategies and policies of new English system were imposed throughout the subcontinent. Initially East India Company{1} posed an indifferent attitude to the education on official level but they trained a large number of ‘natives’ to preach Christianity in India (Sedere, 2011). However soon they realised that the native government teachers were not fit to serve their purpose and they felt these teachers should be trained accordingly. In 1784, they founded an Arabic Teaching Professional Development Centre and two Sanskrit medium schools for Hindus to train them to serve to British purpose. Later on in 1800 Fort William College was founded in Calcutta for official in-service training for teaching professionals. The main purpose was to improve teachers’ status, salary, their professional qualifications and their participation in the government purpose, preaching (Sedere, 2011). Very soon teaching became a very respectable and a high status profession in the Indian subcontinent because most educated people joined this profession to take privileges from the English government (Quddus, 1979).

The Urdu and Persian languages teachers were also trying to get admission in those teachers’ professional development centres. Lord McCauley{2} introduced English medium of instructions in 1835, which not only affected the teachers’ professionalism of the Indian but it also left a long lasting western symbol on the teaching profession (Thompson and Garrat, 1966; Evans, 2002). The native people considered government teachers as agents of the English rulers so creating feelings of hatred among native religious scholars in mosques and madaris (plural of madrassah; religious institutes). After the War of Independence 1957{3} those English trained teacher professionals came forward and served the cause of the British government.

Realistically the British government gave new birth to the teaching professionalism, before teachers were only serving in the mosques or for the teaching of Holy Quran. The government broadened the limitations of the teaching profession; it is the profession which impacted all the phases of human life as well as their intellectual development (Thompson and Garrat, 1966). Whatever the motives of the British government were, discussion over here is how and through what historical events this power influenced the teaching professionalism in the Indian subcontinent. Their policies towards native professions especially teaching were very positive; their free training schemes further developed this profession (DeSousa, 2008).

5. Religious Perspectives

Before the advent of Islam, there was no organised system of education in Arabia. The only education they received was to learn the professions and than imitate the customs of their elders (Iqbal, 1967). There were very few literate people. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) not only revolutionised and inspired the people of Arabia, but brought about changes that transformed the thinking of the entire world views (Iqbal, 1967). The effect of his teachings have been profound that they are been felt even to the present day in Muslim countries. The acquisition of knowledge is one of the main principles of Islam. The first word of the holy Quran is ‘Iqra (read)’ the foremost obsession that was encouraged for reading. Thus Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) started his mission by teaching the revealed verses of the Quran so teaching is a very scared profession for the Muslims around the globe. Till the eighteen century this profession was only for the preaching of Islam and the Quran, for this purpose special madaris were established. However there was no organised system of training, salary and professional well beings. With the passage of time logic, arithmetic, medicine, calligraphy subjects were included in the madaris curriculum (Phillips, 1962). Nevertheless the whole period of British Imperialism (1784-1947) religion and teaching professionals went side by side (Phillips, 1962). The post partition (after 1947) period is a mixture of English and religious education which moulded the aims and objectives of teaching profession, to train the students in a manner or worldly and religious challenges (Quddus, 1979). English and Islamic Studies are core subjects in Pakistan up to Bachelor of Arts/Science and all professional degrees such as medical and engineering.

6. Political Perspectives

The political and educational context within which teaching profession worked in Pakistan has changed significantly over the past few years. It emphasised on different ways which clarify the central role of teachers at all stages of education process. One crucial change is the setting up of a parliament and the subsequent consultation on priorities by the parliament education committee (Ahmad, 2012). A further development was the new Education Policy 2010-2015 that placed demands by society on teachers’ professionals and schools have grown exponentially. It is necessary therefore for the Ministry of Education to develop its policy on teachers’ professionalism to reflect the changing circumstances (MoE, 2009). As discussed earlier the creation of professionalism the politics of English rule are influenced till the present day in Pakistan, because the political system is still the same as the British government left in 1947 (MoE, 2009). None of the previous Education policies of the country (except the 1998-2000) took strong measures for the development programmes for teaching professionals. The Initial Teaching Education (ITE) of provincial government has played a major role in the enhancement and development of teacher professionalism. A number of recent proposed changes to the ITE should ensure that this role continue to develop in the future (MoE, 2009). The government of Pakistan believes that the social inclusion agenda has been all too often developed without including teachers. The government has consistently argued the important role of schools play in developing skills and attitudes which cannot be simply summerised in statistics of academic achievement. If young people are to develop into active citizens it is necessary to ensure that they have the necessary confidence, interpersonal skills and readiness to play a full part in society. This requires that teachers are actively involved in the planning and processes of social inclusion.

As for as the involvement of professionals in the government institutions is concerned Gane and Johnson (1993) argue that the history of the professions becomes an important aspect of the transformation of power associated with the emergence of govermentality as the ‘disposition’ of things. The carrying of these complex governing tasks inheres in such knowledge /discipline arrangements. They further argue on the importance of Foucault (1979) view of state-profession relationship is his conception of power as a social relation of tension, rather than an attribute of the subject given this conception, power never be reduce to an act of domination, nor does the analysis of power start from a consideration of the conditions in which an individual is able to impose his or her will (Gane and Johnson, 1993).

According to Foucault (1979:142) the relationship of power peculiar to the modern liberal, democratic state emerged with the shift from divine to popular legitimacy. That is to say, in the modern era legitimate political power has resided in the obedience of subject that explains his focus on the role of discipline/ knowledge in his analysis of modernity. The same theory can apply to the power in profession consequently, the action of the subjects – the self, body – become the objects of new disciplines and technologies, which are, in turn, the products of expertise in the form of personal – service professions (Gane and Johnson, 1993).

Gane and Johnson (1993) further suggests that those cognitive and normative elements that operate to establish the boundaries between the associations of professional experts and the state must be viewed, in term of the technical and political; as the means of negotiation used by the politicians and officials as well as professionals in generating those discourses that define the possible realms of governance. Professional men and women have, for example, routinely mobilised their claims to expertise as the means of establishing and sustaining inviolability as a weapon in the effort in influence government policy.

Since the emergence of modern, liberal, democratic government, expertise, in the institutional form of professionalism, has become a key source of ‘governmentality’; that is of the technical and institutional capacity to exercise a highly complex form of power (Gane and Johnson, 1993).

These theories of power and professional are a part in government and politics of a country or nation. However the contest would be continuing till the professional autonomy or power share in the domains. But what does it means to speak about empowerment of professionals in general and teacher in particular? Obviously it depends on what the root, ‘power’ means or on what theory of power one holds, and in fact the word evokes a broad range of connotations and denotations (Freidson (1987). Not only are there different kinds of power, but the kind and amount of power available to people often depends on the particular position they are in to discuss professional empowerment and decision-making profitability, there, requires distinguishing not only the various kinds of power, but also the various positions that professionals hold, and the type and amount of power available to each position.

The excessive politicisation of public education has had a profound impact on levels of accountability in many education systems, which has, in turn, seriously affected teacher commitment and motivation. The poor and declining quality of public education has led to growing numbers of parents sending their children to private non-elite schools. In some countries, particularly in South Asia, this amounts to a mass exodus.

7. Socio-Cultural Perspectives

The education system and professions of a nation and culture are inter-related, inter-dependent and have profound influence on each other (Wylie, 2000). It is important to what culture is composed of and what it stands for. Culture encompasses the entire mental, spiritual and physical activities of a group or a nation. It includes the basic beliefs and faith, values and ideology, language and literature, art and architecture, music and mode of dress, manners and customs, curriculum and professions prevalent in a given society (William, 1985).

Society and culture is always based on and evolves round philosophy of life; like the French culture which stands for its basic belief in individual liberty, the English on rational and dispassionate thinking, and the American on free and unfettered commercial enterprise (Hargreaves, 1994). There are some basic causes embedded in the recent history that created confusion in the adaptations of professionals in Pakistan. The mind of educated person in Pakistan was influenced by western knowledge and learning during the last hundred years, whereas the actual social conditions prevailing here were entirely different from those nations who tried to dominate Pakistani intellectuals activities and professionals process (Kirk, 2007).

Teaching is considered a very respectable profession in the Pakistani society, because in the past there were very few educated people and the stress was laid on the learning of theology, and it was given a secular bias after the domination of the British in the subcontinent (Quddus, 1979). The new system was introduced with the sole object of creating and implanting an alien culture among the ‘native’. It did make people literate and thus fit to earn their daily living, but it did not contribute towards the development of the way of life and traditions and culture heritage (Quddus, 1979). The Indo-British critic Homi Bhabha, among others, has given ontological priority to the phenomenon of cultural difference between colonized and colonizer. The articulation of such difference in ‘in-between’ places produces hybridization of identities: ‘It is in the emergence of the interstices—the overlap and displacement of domains of difference—that the intersubjective and collective experiences of nationness, community interest, or cultural value are negotiated’ (Bhabha 1994: 1-2).

Teaching profession is considered an easy going job [which is not in reality] in Pakistani society. Lack of knowledge and training, low salaries and inadequate infrastructure but high respect-earning profession as said it is considered the profession of the prophets (Hussein, 1996). As compare to school teachers colleges and universities lectures and professors have good salaries.

8. Exploring the Feminisation Debate

Women and the ‘feminisation’ of the teaching profession have been debated for decades, in some places for over a century. The term ‘feminisation’ has tended to apply to countries where women are a significant majority in the teaching workforce. As a result, there has been a tendency for most explorations in this subject to come from countries in the North, such as the UK, Australia and Canada, or, more recently, from South America and South Asia. The debates surrounding women, the teaching profession and feminisation have been wide-ranging and, in some cases, contentious. They have included reviewing the reasons why the teaching profession became gender-imbalanced in favour of women in certain countries in the first place, and what the impacts might be on learning processes and the educational outcomes for students. Other explorations have sought to look more deeply at trends within feminisation itself, including variations between education sectors and management structures. Some discussions have attempted to address what the implications of a majority female teaching profession has meant for gender equality and relations more broadly, including women’s overall empowerment within society and the economy.

Most of the feminisation debates are statistical, sociological and educational exploration as at purely statistical level, an occupation that is predominantly made up of women is said to be ‘feminised’ (Bank, 2007). However, when sociologists and educators refer to feminisation they are referring to labour market tendencies where the participation of women in various occupations is increasing (Drudy, 2008). Similarly, the Working Group of the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) used the term feminisation to ‘describe the phenomenon of large-scale entry into the teaching profession by women’ (cited in Wylie, 2000: 1). But going further, the ETUCE report indicated three distinct meanings within this: a) a statistical meaning, used in calculating percentages of men and women in a given profession; b) a meaning related to the effects of the weight of numbers; and c) the rate of access of women into a profession (Bolton and Muzio, 2005).

Thus, gender equality in education and women in the teaching profession have strong linkages, so the issues of women, teaching and the feminisation debate also have a place within the broader context of gender equality in society as a whole. The gender equality stipulates outcomes beyond education that include women’s role in waged employment and women’s representation in political processes. In the first of these, women and the teaching profession clearly has a broader implication beyond education provision alone. Teaching has been instrumental in providing many women in feminised education systems with access to their first formal, waged employment opportunities, and in so doing, has been a step towards meeting the broader goals surrounding economic empowerment as mandated by the CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 1995–2015 and the Commonwealth Plan of Action on Gender Equality 2005–2015. Arguably, as education systems become increasingly feminised on a statistical level, the opportunities for women’s employment in this sector have become solidified, offering guarantees of economic surety for many women in the future. However, there are also potentially complex consequences surrounding the increasing expectation of women’s employment within any given sector, especially if a profession becomes known for being ‘women’s work’ within societies that are still inherently tied to traditional gender roles that permit a continuation of subtle gender inequalities. The teaching profession – despite its pivotal role within societal development and dependence on educated individuals – is not necessarily exempt from such nuances. The Second World Congress of Education International in 1998 put down a resolution on the increasingly feminised nature of the teaching profession that highlighted many of these broader issues. These included several trends that indicated a discrepancy in equity within feminised teaching workforces, such as (a) the wide variances in numbers within education sectors, with women found overwhelmingly in the early stages of education; (b) an under-distribution of women across the teaching career hierarchy, disproportionate to their overall numbers, indicating direct or indirect discriminations against them within the profession; and (c) concerns regarding an undervaluing of work that becomes traditionally associated with women. Such concerns feed into a broader discourse that looks at gender inequality from more nuanced perspectives that developed countries which have fully-educated and relatively empowered female workforces continue to grapple with today (gender pay gap, ‘glass ceilings’ in promotion, and women’s struggle for continued economic equality when dealing with their responsibilities within the reproductive sphere), that developing countries may find will become their gender equality challenges of the future.

These dualities of impact and consequence – women in teaching as instrumental in education provision generally (and female education in particular) on the one hand, versus an entrenching of gender inequalities through the feminisation of the profession on the other – makes the topic one of multi-layered issues and applicability in the development context. The status of the teaching profession remains one of the key issues within the debate surrounding feminisation. Some of the literature views the issue of what constitutes a ‘profession’ as being integral to this. Teachers, along with nurses and social workers, are sometimes viewed as semi-professionals (Etzioni, 1969). Bolton and Muzio (2005) argue that historically, this can be attributed to teaching’s development as part of a state sponsored political project, traditionally enjoying less autonomy over its work, less control over its knowledge base and weaker forms of professional association and governance. Additionally, teaching is seen to suffer from an overall limitation of upward mobility within a teacher’s career, upward mobility being defined as the ‘essence’ of a career (Lartie, 1975). Perceptions regarding the relative ease of entry to the career in some countries are also detrimental, especially when compared with other professions in law, medicine and business (Drudy, 2008).

Historically and globally, women teachers have been disadvantaged compared to men. Much of the early literature on women teachers’ experiences has approached gender simplistically and stereotypically (Acker, 1989). In the 1950s and 1960s, concern was expressed over anticipated disastrous consequences from the predominance of women in teaching. Women themselves were blamed for their low status and salaries in teaching (Acker, 1994). In the 1970s it was assumed that a lack of ambition together with family responsibilities produced low commitment or lack of interest in promotion among married women teachers (Acker, 1994). The late 1970s and early 1980s began to broaden our knowledge of how sexual divisions in teaching occur (Acker, 1994). Acker (1994) argues that most of this previous research to conceptualise women’s position in teaching has been limited. It has been based on assumptions that family responsibilities or marriage-career conflicts will produce attitudes and behaviors that have implications for the profession and for individual women’s careers (Acker, 1994).

More recently, feminist historians, particularly within the Western context, have critiqued past research on women teachers being viewed as objects rather than looking at their subjective identity as women (Casey, 1993; Middleton, 1993; Munro, 1998; Weiler, 1988). Feminist research argues that it is important to consider the changes in ideological, demographic and economic conditions, accompanied by shifts in government education policies that alter the context within which women teachers’ commitments and career patterns are shaped. Within feminist research on women teachers’ lives the following themes have been explored: teaching as a feminized profession; women teachers as promoters of women’s education; reasons why women enter into teaching; how women teachers’ professionalism has been hindered by school structures and policy.

Feminist research on women teachers has provided a way to explore how gender organizes everyday life (Smyth, et al., 1999). Furthermore, it illustrates in women’s own voices the way their lives and work are shaped by the changing world around them. Contradictions in women teachers’ roles indicate the complexity of their gendered experiences. On the one hand, women teachers have had limited power within oppressive and hierarchical school and community structures. On the other hand, women teachers have played powerful roles in supporting children’s learning, helping to establish careers in education for women and working in difficult circumstances (Wilson, 1991). Furthermore, teaching also appears to have afforded women power in the sense of respect, some autonomy and financial independence. Nevertheless, women teachers continue to be both victims and unwitting perpetrators of hierarchical oppression.

9. Feminisation of Teaching Profession in Pakistan

Pakistani women play an important role in educational provision, particularly as classroom teachers. 77.57% primary teachers are female whereas only 22.42% teachers are male while the teachers training institutions in Pakistan male participation is chronically low (10-20 %) as compared to female participant’s enrolment (80-90%) (Akhtar, 2012:263).

However, gender representation drops from 77.57% to 51% for female teacher in Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), 47% in Khyber Pukhtunkhwah (KP) and Baluchistan and 25% in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) (Sedere, 2011). Despite having in an equal overall presence the effectiveness of female teachers continued to be undetermined on account of pervasive patriarchal traditions, the public and private divide of schools and negative customary practices. The Provincial Department of Education and the Ministry of Education formally adopted policies of hiring more female teachers at the primary level, being appropriate and sensitive to the nurturing needs of younger children. The Government of Punjab has taken bold steps to recruit female teachers in male elementary schools, a positive shift towards creating a culture of care (MoE, 2009). According to Pardhan (2009) there are three key reasons for the number of women teachers: their limited opportunity for receiving higher education training; relatively safe women-dominated work environments; and perceptions of this work being acceptable for women. In order to increase girls’ access to school, measures are in place to recruit women teachers, particularly in remote, rural areas.

Sales (1999), Ashraf (2004) and Kirk’s (2004) studies illustrate that teaching is perceived as a worthy, ‘safe’ and acceptable profession for women in Pakistan that requires little training. Kirk’s (2004) argues that Pakistani women can command respect and be elevated to a position of status through teaching. Furthermore, there is a belief that women will be able to teach younger children, reflecting a common perception that women are predisposed to working with young children and, therefore, suited to primary school teaching. Although most of the women teachers in Kirk’s (2004) study enjoyed teaching, they found themselves conflicted between school commitments and family responsibilities and the need to seek permission from their fathers or husbands to become teachers.

Most of the public and private schools either registered as male, female or junior model schools female teachers are working in higher number. There is a growing shortage of male teachers in schools. Females dominated the teaching profession and male are going for other fields. The gender of teacher effects students learning as top positions in majority of Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) examinations are secured by female students and male remains under-performers (Akhtar, 2012). In Pakistan Gazette (2011) results of BISE showed this as 53% boys and 65% girls completed their high school education. Kirk (2007) in her review of impact of teacher gender on student gender states that while a large body of research focuses on the gender of students, less research explores the impacts of a teacher's gender on students. Evidence suggests that male teachers tend to be more authoritative whereas female teachers tend to be more supportive and expressive (Pardhan, 2009). Main aspects of female for joining teaching profession are: the economic needs determined the social and emotional status as teaching is a low paid profession in Pakistan so male avoids joining it. Furthermore Akhtar (2012) found a motivating factor that teaching is not physically pain taking or tough job in Pakistani society so it suits to females’ physical strength.

Females join teaching profession because of gender compatibility with profession. It is an international trend also that females join teaching profession whiles its last preference of males in Pakistan. Females want easy tasks and in teaching physical effort are very less in Pakistani schools. Most of the females after completing their first degree join teaching profession training courses as their admission criteria is very flexible. Pardhan (2009) argued the male child’s mind is trained on the lines that he has to be a bread earner for the family secondly Pakistani society does not pay respect to male teachers as they respecting other professions such as engineers and doctors and lawyers. They are not supposed to make common decisions for the betterment of society or people don’t involve them in their decisions. Even in the education institutions the students (male) enrolled in teacher education department have low status as compared to the students enrolled in management sciences, IT, medicine and engineering. The reason is associated with the job they will get after completing their education. Low pay in teaching affects the social status of students.

Education is not the Government’s top priority at national level. The Education Department is not rated a high number as well however highly qualified faculty in universities enjoy increased salaries, high incentives and rewards by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. However there are no such privileges for schools’ and colleges’ teachers.

The economic and social condition of Pakistan may force people to go for secure and highly paid professions as teaching is a low paid job (Evans, 1993; Hayes, 1990). The motivating intrinsic factors are translated as desire to help others, interest to work with children, working for nation, and work for the quality of teaching, social work, improve the environment (Lingam, 2004; Chan, 2006). The intrinsic or extrinsic factors of person have roots in the social environment of the country. If the environment is uncertain like in Pakistan then people give priority to their personal and family needs. There is a need to redesign the social preferences.

10. Teachers Professional Development

According to Pakistan’s Ministry of Education, 87% of teachers in the state sector are officially considered to be ‘qualified’ (HDSA, 2000). Most of these teachers are likely concentrated in urban and semi-urban areas. Teacher training in Pakistan is considered to be ‘ineffective’ with practicing teachers rarely having opportunity for systematic, continuous and quality professional development (Hussain and Ali, 2007).

Existing professional development opportunities including pre-service and in-service courses such as the primary teaching diploma and the certificate in teaching course (CT) within the public system are often of poor quality (Ahmad, 2012; Warwick and Reimers, 1995). While public sector teachers are required to hold a primary teaching diploma or a certificate in teaching course (CT), this is not a pre-requisite for private sector teachers. As such, many practicing teachers considered to be ‘qualified’ according to the Ministry of Education, have limited understanding of both subject content and pedagogy. As is evident universally, Pakistani teachers are rarely consulted in issues of policy and educational reforms (Villegas-Reimers and Reimers, 1996). Furthermore, as Kirk (2007: 62) notes, ‘in the language of programme reports, of agency policies, and research studies, teachers are often narrowly defined in terms of their pedagogical roles, with little attention to other dimensions of their lives’.

While a well considerable numbers of women teach in schools, they remain under-represented in educational leadership and management and in positions of educational planning and policy-making (Kirk, 2007). Consequently, much of the theorising about schools, classrooms and teaching is done by men. Although women teachers in Pakistan have become the subject of policy attention, they continue to remain marginalised within educational structures and processes (Ashraf, 2004; Kirk, 2004). The impact of women teachers on children’s education, particularly girls’ education, has been considered from perspectives of achievement and enrollment. However, there has as yet been little discussion of critical inquiry and reflective practice.

Several elements have come together and created an environment for change, prompting the revaluing and supporting teachers in new ways and recognising the necessity for ongoing career-long support programmes. These elements include;

1. Wide spread curriculum reforms active learning and the accompanying necessity of rapid and effective teachers change;

2. growing realisation of the central role of teacher quality in improving overall educational quality;

3. career-long ongoing teacher professional development now viewed as a necessity in order to improve teachers quality and therefore educational quality;

4. rapid expansion of student enrolments requiring much larger numbers of teachers and the necessity of findings ways to support relatively inexperienced or ‘unqualified’ teachers;

5. declining quality as a consequence of rapidly expanding quantity of education in the absence of sufficient resources; and

6. willingness on the part of governments and donors to invest in teachers quality (EQDW, 2004 cited in Pardhan, 2009: 77).

In response of these challenges many countries are turning to more decentralised and localised for of delivering teachers support both pre-service and in-service training. Teachers’ professional development or quality is now seen as a central element of educational quality. To improve teacher’s professional development by training, Agha Khan Educational Development and various national and international organizations (UNDP, USAID, JAICA), including the Ministry of Education Government of Pakistan work for the professional development of teachers. True professionalism depends on a continued commitment to hold up knowledge, from wherever it comes, to public, collaborative scrutiny. It also depends on the commitment to create and maintain those spaces within professional life… where critical discourse can nourish. For it is only through this form of is course that professional knowledge can be freed from its tendency to deteriorate either into subjectivism or into technicism Humphreys and Hyland (2002). The Releasing Confidence and Creativity (RCC) programme is a USAID funded initiative in Pakistan implemented by the Agha Khan Foundation and Agha Khan University for Educational Development committed to support professional Development Centres.

Education policies of Pakistan talk about the role of education as a social reform and social and professional development but have been unable to significantly contribute to social inclusiveness by ensuring social mobility through education and training (MoE, 2009). The policy documents in Pakistan were the result of extensive research but their implementation left much to be desired, so that not one policy achieved its declared goals nor the targets of time set for realizing these goals (Ahmad, 2009).

The educational system of Pakistan has been the target of experimentation in the form of a number of major reforms and policy packages during the past 67 years. The political instability of the political governments led to non-implementation of the major recommendations of education policies. Thus, a number of education policy statements remained at the status of seminar recommendations and could never be implemented. There are many reasons for this, but the most important is perhaps that the government has not changed its overall priorities in order to redirect resources from other budgets to education (Ahmad, 2012). A close perusal shows that there had been huge gaps between planning and implementation of education policies. The most crucial causes of failure are weak and defective implementation mechanisms, financial constraints, absence of public participation, lack of political commitment and national vision (Ahmed, 2009). Ahmad (2012) further critically reviewed the education policies of Pakistan and argues that the majority of government policies and reform efforts have clearly failed to address the economic, social and political dimensions of the problems facing the education system. As regards the improvement of teachers’ status and teacher preparation, hardly anything was achieved. To cover up these all problems, there was a need to devise a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system which could supervise education from the grassroots to the highest level. As is evident from the above review, not much has been done or even planned in terms of teacher education and teacher professionalism in Pakistan. Nonetheless, a review of Western literature suggests that Pakistan is not the only country where policies were not implemented as they were planned. ‘It is common to find well-crafted and coherent policy designs failing to attain desired results in developing countries, therefore, Pakistan is no exception’ (UNESCO & USAID, 2006:9 cited in Ahmad, 2012).

11. Conclusion

To conclude there is a recurrent comment in education circle, that teaching profession has hit rock bottom (Ahmad, 2009). The profession is associated with paradoxical perceptions of being on the one hand, the oldest and noblest of professions as practiced by the prophets, the ancient philosophers and Sufis alike, but is also simultaneously seen, on the other hand, as the ‘last career choice for merit-worthy, capable people in Pakistan. Both the societal and the actual status of teachers’ professionalism in Pakistan vary across geographical regions, urban rural locations, and in state/non state educational perspectives. A commonly held perception is that teaching positions are not sought after, and lie at the bottom of the ladder, terms of career options. A number of factors combine to produce this view such as the state of government schools (42% of which suffer from missing facilities); lack of standards and credibility of educational provision and low levels of training skills; absence of monitoring and support and uneven practices of recruitment and promotion, all of these contribute in putting the teaching profession low on the priority list of career options. Although 87% of students considered teaching as the most respectable profession, only 42% marked it as their first choice of career, even parents did not regard teaching as a preferred choice for their children (Sayed and Akber, 2011).

However, 57% of women regarded teaching as a desirable profession (Khan, 2005). Teaching is seen as the most feasible career option for women, both in rural and urban areas, due to prevailing socio-culture norms regarding gender; and general perception that teaching in the government sector has many benefits relating to employment conditions; the number of holidays and half day time commitment, combined with a steady income stream are seen to be particularly beneficial for women, as it allows them to manage both domestic and productive responsibilities more easily, whilst also steady contributing to the household income. In the service based rural economy, women tend to opt for teaching, as it provides as easily available job opportunity in a context of rising unemployment for the educated. The half day time commitment of a teaching job helps female teachers to engage in other remunerative activities on the side, including private tutoring and working in private academies in the afternoon/evenings to supplement income. Compared to perceptions on teaching profession in primary and secondary schools, the perceptions of the status of teachers are changing positively in the higher education in Pakistan, where sector reforms have led to the installation of a tenure track system of merit-based and performance-based recruitment, promotion and salary scales. This made the profession at this end of the sector comparatively competitive, and equal to other market-driven options.

The basis of teacher professionalism in Pakistan is the teachers’ ideas and conceptual knowledge and learning are the foundation on which teaching is built now-a-days. This idea creates the basis for understanding different kinds of learners. The teachers’ conception of knowledge in turn underpins his or her conception of learning. It is on this foundation that the teacher bases all problem-solving in the line of work. Consequently, the core principals must be included in all initial and further professional development training of teachers. A teacher aware of his/ her work and its meaning is one of the foremost objects of teaching professionals. The teachers’ work is linked to society in many ways. In the future, being a teacher will mean willingness to take actively part in and influence social development. The teacher influences the kind of value pupils adopt in the world and now education for democracy is effected in the school. This requires a sound idea of education and teaching professionals. The basis for it is built during teacher professionals development programmes. Teachers’ professional competence is seen in their ability to make use of the learning opportunities available in the environment. Teacher education needs close contacts and diverse interaction with its socio-cultural environment in order to be able to anticipate and influence factors which will bear upon teaching in the future. Teacher education must assume a more active social role in producing research, in debates and in education. This will for its part promote the development and general appreciation of the teaching profession. All teacher education and training must include content which help teachers’ trainees to interpret and influence current phenomena in society, in the economy, in culture and in working life. Perspective teachers must gain an awareness of the ethical responsibility intrinsic to the teaching profession not only in theory but also through experience. This model assimilated during teacher education constitute a crucial basis for future work (MoE, 2009).


1. A company was founded with a name of East India Company in sixteen century; Queen Elizabeth incorporated it by the Charter dated 31st December, 1600 under the title of the Governor and company of all the merchants of London trading in to the East Indies (for further details see Bearce, 1961).

2. Macaulay (1800-1859) was Secretary at War and under from 1832 until 1833. After the passing of the , he was appointed as the first Law Member of the . He went to India in 1834, and served on the Supreme Council of India between 1834 and 1838. Later on he introduced English-medium education in India through his famous Minute on Indian Education of February 1835, which called for an educational system to create a class of anglicised Indians who would serve as cultural intermediaries between the British and the Indians, and brought to an end a lively debate on the appropriate language for education and administration (Evans, 2002).

3. The last war against the English ruler by the Indian, after that the British fully occupied the entire Indian subcontinent.


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