Teachers want to bridge cultural gap between USA and Pakistan
By Waqar Gillani
LAHORE: A group of teachers, who recently returned from America following a six-week professional training, has pressed on the need to reduce cultural gaps between both countries so that bilateral ties can be improved.
The group comprising 25 Pakistani teachers attended the training programme at the Plymouth State University to study the American education system so that positive changes can be brought into the Pakistani education system.
The Federal Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs donated $250,000 for the training programme, which was overlooked by Mary McNeil, a professor of advanced studies, and was arranged by the American consulate in conjunction with the Pakistani Education Ministry and Idarae Taleemo Agahi. The training was focused on secondary-grade mathematics, science, and English teachers along with school administrators.
The participants told Daily Times that they were like ambassadors of peace in the foreign land. Neelam Ernest of the Sanjan Nagar Public Education High School, said that the training vented out an opportunity to explore the American culture and represent Pakistani culture.
She said that the training had removed a number of misconceptions about the American society, adding that she found that Americans were interested in learning about Pakistani norms and values.
Afifa Ahmer, another group member, said that the group had learned new techniques to develop the education structure. She said that Americans were not clear about Pakistani people and their culture because the media had tainted the reality. She said they mistook Pakistanis for a backward people. Some questions that swept her off her feet, she said, were “Do you have televisions in your homes?” or “Have you ever eaten ice cream?”
Ms Ahmer said that 9/11 had broadened the gap between the people of both countries and civil societies should work to remove misconceptions. She said that though they had to go through tight scrutiny on airports, they had made up their minds to surmount all odds.
She said that vocational training was considered far more important in America than in Pakistan and Pakistan should gain a lesson from America, adding they would implement American pyramids in their schools with some alterations.