Student retention is an increasing and constant problem still apparent in many cities and regions around Pakistan. 33% of all children who enroll in primary school (34% boys and 33% girls) around the country drop out before reaching Class 5 (AEPAM, 2015). Overall, out of the 25 million children that are not currently in school, 32% are those that were enrolled once but dropped out (Alif Ailaan, 2014).
Myriad reasons cause the student drop-outs rate to increase. Though varying according to socio-economic context, these reasons are mostly the cost of education, the distance of the school from their area of residence or the conditions of the school.
However, one of the most important and controllable reasons is the quality of the education itself. When education providers fail to share knowledge in the best possible light with practical and supportive methods, both children and their parents fail to see the importance of learning. Low-quality education can come in the forms of teacher absenteeism, decreased teacher motivation and unsuitable teaching practices. Research has revealed that students are not returning to school because they feel that they are not learning anything. From a cost-benefit point of view, these students and their families are finding it more beneficial to stop continuing their education.
The question then arises — how exactly do we improve the quality of our education in hopes of securing a much higher student retention rate and enlightening the younger masses? Education quality begins with education of the teaching professionals in the field itself. As gateways to knowledge, teachers in schools should be well-informed of efficient and new teaching methods.
Teaching Lounge, incubated at the LUMS Center for Entrepreneurship, is a startup that aims to tackle these issues individually. This service provides training, workshops and mentoring to all those in the education sector for maximizing the learning potential of students, supporting their learning and ability to question. With services like training teachers in the soft and hard skills required to maximize student learning in classrooms, as well as providing qualified teachers to schools, Teaching Lounge hopes to improve the education quality.
By availing these initiatives, teachers can personally help to prevent the 33% of the out of school children from dropping out. Instead, these kids will become more inspired, and the families themselves will feel the effects of the transformed education system.