Publication Date

Fall 10-2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts in the Teaching of English (MATE)

First Advisor

Elka Todeva


The extensive rise in aid from aid organizations and donor agencies for education in Pakistan at the beginning of the 21st century has resulted in a rise of the number of studies and reports on Pakistan’s education system and newly developed education programs. This was partially due to the concern about the status of the religious schools known as madaris and the quality of education they provided. The majority of the existing reports on education offer quantitative analyses and pay little attention to English taught in schools although English is critically important for job opportunities and professional growth in Pakistan. The English education programs designed for Pakistan, which involve teacher training programs and English language programs, often lack practical considerations and, in some cases, have unclear motives. In order to attain educational effectiveness, it is necessary to first look in depth at various contextual factors in the country. This includes, among other things, looking at the history and culture of a country—information which can be acquired through more qualitative methods. This IPP undertakes a qualitative assessment of the state of English language education by eliciting the perspectives of Pakistani English teachers, students and bilingual professionals in Pakistan. Nine teachers and eight students and bilingual professionals were interviewed using a standardized, open-ended interview. The interview explored the methodologies for English language teaching, the cultural and socio-economic context in which the language was taught and the effectiveness of English education in Pakistan within that context. Recurring themes are identified using an inductive analysis of the interviews. Evidence is offered that if emic perspectives are taken into account, English education would be more conducive for optimal learning. Specific socio-economic and cultural factors are identified that were not considered in donor-funded reports and program assessments discussed in the literature review of this IPP. It was observed that while teachers are knowledgeable about effective teaching methods, they are constrained in practice by the competitive nature of education and the job market in Pakistan that compelled them to focus on institutional and standardized testing. Also evident are differences in perspective on which language should be used in the classroom. While many teachers are intent on using only English in the classroom, many students feel that using Urdu and other Pakistani languages would assist them in understanding certain concepts. This work fills an important gap in the assessment and design of donor-funded language education programs in developing country contexts, especially Pakistan and countries with similar socio-political history. This IPP identifies a number of qualitative assessment factors that need to considered before such programs can be effective towards meeting their goals.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Curriculum and Social Inquiry