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Academies: A Need or a Want?

Ali Arshad1
1

Lahore Business School, University Of Lahore, Lahore, Pakistan
ali_plus@hotmail.com amirrazi_2000@yahoo.com

Abstract. The purpose of this study was to find whether academies are a need of the society or if they are just profit making institutes. This is a cross-sectional Analytical and multi central study, conducted from January to June, 2010. A group of 600 students, teachers and parents took part in this study. Three questionnaires were designed, one for students, 2 nd for teachers and 3rd for parents, which include demographic portion and close ended questions. In results, 62% students were in the favor of academies being a need of the society while 38% students are against academies. 70% of the teachers are in the favor of academies while 30% of teachers say that academies are not a need of the society. Similarly, 58% of the parents say that academies are the need of the society while 42% of the parents say that academies are not the need of the society and they are merely a profit organization. Also study shows that there is a significant relation between study group (students, teachers and parents) and their responses. The academies should switch to knowledge base study instead of exam base study. Only that way they can be successful in a long run. The academies should improve their image in the society and they should be an extra tool for creative education rather than a substitute for school(s)/college(s).

1. Introduction
Academies around the world are known for their special kind of education or knowledge that they provide. It‟s what the main purpose of academies is around the globe. The first academy was found in 385 year BC by the Plato, purpose of which was to teach philosophy (Dillon. J, 2005). The Chinese usually refer academies to a private establishments built away from cities or towns, providing a quiet environment where scholars could engage in studies and contemplation without restrictions and worldly distractions (H.C.Lee. T, 2000). In Pakistan the concept of academies is completely opposite. In Pakistan academies teach same curriculum recommended by government to public and private sector institutes only. Academies go by the same curriculum in Pakistan and prepare students for examination to get good results. Although there are a lot of academies who train students in other field of education like learning other languages and preparing students for fashion designing, they are still popularly known to prepare students for school/college examination by giving them best guess papers. Every academy gives their guess papers. They teach students to do only selective studies out of the whole syllabus. Education is

divided into these steps: Primary level, secondary education, intermediate and then higher studies which are normally provided by the higher institutes like universities. But only a short percentage of the primary enrollment entered in the universities for higher studies. For the students it is to give extra time and money to go to academies. They have to manage attending both school/college and academy to study and getting good results. Different books are recommended by academies and school(s)/college(s). The students have to pay extra amount of money to attend academies. The parents and teachers have to give extra time to academies. To learn all this we are conducting our research and trying to find answers whether academies are a need or a want of the society. By going through economics we have learned the difference between a need and a want. A need is something that is essential for a living i.e. a good or service that you need for survival. A want is something that you would like to have but it is not essential for living i.e. a good or service that if you don‟t have it, you will still survive. In short we can say that a want is a specialized form of need. The topic of academies encompasses a wide range of sub-topics. To critically understand all of the issues and questions that arise in wide-ranging study of academies, we examine all the previous studies that were conducted regarding academies. On the basis of those studies we are going to determine what questions we should discuss in our study. Moreover it would be enlightening for us on what merits should we conduct for our study in Pakistan. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) published a report by whose key findings include that 87% of parents are satisfied with the quality of education provided to their child at the Academy. 80% stated that the Academy was the school of choice for their children. 8 out of 10 pupils in the survey said that „teachers at the Academy really believe that all pupils can achieve' and similar numbers of staff surveyed said 'staff at this Academy believe that all pupils can achieve regardless of their social background'. 90% of parents believe that most pupils like going to the Academy and that their children enjoy attending the school. (DfES, 2005) PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) was commissioned in February 2003 by the Department to conduct an independent longitudinal evaluation of the Academies initiative. The overall aim of the evaluation was to assess the effectiveness of the programme in terms of its contribution to educational standards and to examine the key features of Academies, including sponsorship, governance, leadership and building design. During the course of the evaluation, a definitive set of key research questions for this project to answer crystallized in the light of emerging conclusions. Over the course of the study, they have examined the first 27 Academies which opened between 2002

and 2005 as they have developed into fully operational schools, either from predecessor schools or as completely new Academies. (PwC. 2008) In United Kingdom, academies are a different kind of Free State school. They aim to offer the very best standards of education and facilities. They have the freedom to structure their days and their curriculum a little differently. This is to allow them to achieve huge improvements in standards of education rapidly. Each Academy is different, but what unites them is their drive for excellence – for all children to have the opportunity to excel and to achieve the very best they can. (DCSF. 2010) Another research done in the United Kingdom clarifies the existence of academies by saying “Academies often replace a school where kids weren‟t doing very well in exams, so some Academies are starting from a very low level of achievement.” (DCSF, 2010) The purpose of this study was to find if academies are a need or a want of our society. We also wanted to find out who support academies the most and who has least support for academies.

2. Methodology
It was a community-based cross-sectional analytical study, undertaken from January to June 2010. Three questionnaires were developed by students of university of Lahore. The first type of questionnaire was designed to know the point of view of the students, the second type of questionnaire was designed to know the point of view of the teachers and the third type of questionnaire was designed to know the point of view of the parents. The first part of questionnaire contains information regarding demographics and then series of close ended questions were asked to get view regarding academies. In the questionnaire our questions were based on likert scale. To complete the survey, total of 600 samples were selected from academies and university population. These questionnaires were filled by 22 academies and teachers from 7 colleges & universities. 200 questionnaires were filled by the students, 200 by teachers and 200 by parents. All the questionnaires were filled using stratified simple random sampling technique.

3. Results
A total of 600 participants are participating in our study out of which 200 are Students, 200 are Teachers and 200 are Parents. The mean age of male students is 19.67 ± 2.880 and the mean age of female students is 18.11 ± 2.210. The mean age of male teachers is 32.77 ± 7.645 and the mean age of female students is 26.61 ± 5.013. The mean age of male parents is 46.18 ± 9.687 and the mean age of female parents is 44.62 ± 7.918. Table 1 shows the mean ages of the groups.
Table 1: Distribution of study groups of Age and Gender

Age Study Group Male ̅±S Students Teachers Parents
19.67±2.880 32.77±7.645 46.18±9.687

Female ̅±S
18.11±2.210 26.61±5.013 44.62±7.918

Total ̅±S
19.11±2.761 29.83±7.239 45.44±8.894

Table 2: Distribution of Student’s Responses Strongly Disagree Cases Some teachers can’t control their classes Teachers teach well in School(s) / College(s) Academies teach better than schools Teacher in School(s)/College(s) know how to teach their subject(s) I joined Academy for the sake of Fun/Time pass Teachers tell my parents how I am doing at this Academy
Frequency (%)

Disagree
Frequency (%)

Neutral
Frequency (%)

Agree
Frequency (%)

Strongly Agree
Frequency (%)

Total
Frequency (%)

16 (8%) 12 (6%) 12 (6%)

30 (15%) 41 (20.5%) 26 (13%)

59 (29.5%) 45 (22.5%) 34 (17%) 41 (20.5%)

71 (35.5%) 69 (34.5%) 64 (32%) 79 (39.5%)

24 (12%) 33 (16.5%) 64 (32%) 37 (18.5%) 17 (8.5%) 27 (13.5%)

200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%)

9 (4.5%)

34 (17%)

112 (56%) 27 (13.5%)

48 (24%)

16 (8%)

7 (3.5%)

40 (20%)

40 (20%)

66 (33%)

Since coming to this Academy my result has improved The facilities at my School/College are good Teachers are too strict at this Academy The staff behave well with me at School/College I joined Academy because I didn’t concentrate on my lectures in School(s)/College(s) I prefer studying in Academy more than my School/College Evening Academies are more convenient than School(s)/College(s) My result has Improved by joining this Academy

8 (4%) 19 (9.5%) 32 (16%) 15 (7.5%)

16 (8%)

25 (12.5%) 46 (23%) 45 (22.5%) 52 (26%)

74 (37%) 69 (34.5%) 37 (18.5%) 76 (38%)

77 (38.5%) 40 (20%) 27 (13.5%) 31 (15.5%)

200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%)

26 (13%) 59 (29.5%) 26 (13%)

18 (9%)

32 (16%)

30 (15%)

75 (37.5%)

45 (22.5%)

200 (100%) 200 (100%)

16 (8%)

28 (14%)

25 (12.5%) 41 (20.5%)

57 (28.5%)

74 (37%)

17 (8.5%)

28 (14%)

58 (29%)

56 (28%)

200 (100%) 200 (100%)

10 (5%)

14 (7%)

16 (8%)

73 (36.5%)

87 (43.5%)

Out of 200 students, 35.5% students agree that teachers can‟t control classes. 34.5% students agree that teachers in schools and colleges also teach well but still more than 60% students agree that academies are better than schools and colleges. Around 40% of students agree that teachers in schools and colleges know how to teach. Majority of students disagree with the statement that they join academies for fun or time pass. 33% students agree that teachers tell their parents about their progress. A statement in questionnaire was if student‟s results were improved by joining academies and more than 70% agree that their result has improved to some extent. 34.5% students agree that facilities provided to them in schools and colleges are good. From 22 different academies, majority of the students disagree that teachers are strict in academies. From 200 students, 38% agree that teachers behave well with students in schools and colleges. More than 37% students agree that they joined academy because they were unable to concentrate or attend their lectures in schools and colleges. 37% students prefer to study in academy rather than studying in school or college. 29% students agree that it is more convenient to go to evening academies than morning schools or colleges. A similar question repeated in questionnaire with increased result shows that

more than 40% students agree that their result has improved by joining academy.
Table 3: Distribution of Teacher’s Responses Strongly Disagree Cases Teaching in Academy is much easier than School(s)/College(s) Students join Academy for other reasons than learning Parents think Academies are better than School(s)/College(s) Most Teachers in Academies are dedicated and committed to their Work An academy aims to improve the knowledge of the Students In Academies teachers are only concerned that their Students do Well in Exams The environment in Academies is more friendly than School(s)/College(s) Academies pay better than School(s)/College(s) Poor performance by Teachers is not tolerated in Academies Most Students in this Academy want to do well in Exams
Frequency (%)

Disagree
Frequency (%)

Neutral
Frequency (%)

Agree
Frequency (%)

Strongly Agree
Frequency (%)

No. of Responses
Frequency (%)

10 (5%)

47 (23.5%)

20 (10%)

70 (35%)

53 (26.5%)

200 (100%)

29 (14.5%)

72 (36%)

48 (24%)

47 (23.5%)

4 (2%)

200 (100%)

7 (3.5%)

37 (18.5%)

34 (17%)

89 (44.5%)

33 (16.5%)

200 (100%)

6 (3%)

25 (12.5%)

26 (13%)

116 (58%)

27 (13.5%)

200 (100%)

6 (3%)

16 (8%)

32 (16%)

70 (35%)

76 (38%)

200 (100%)

9 (4.5%)

21 (10.5%)

48 (24%)

75 (37.5%)

47 (23.5%)

200 (100%)

11 (5.5%)

30 (15%)

52 (26%)

81 (40.5%) 81 (40.5%)

26 (13%)

200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%)

8 (4%)

44 (22%)

45 (22.5%) 55 (27.5%)

22 (11%)

12 (6%)

50 (25%)

54 (27%)

29 (14.5%)

4 (2%)

15 (7.5%)

26 (13%)

109 (54.5%)

46 (23%)

After compiling the results teachers, we see that a higher ratio of teachers agree that teaching in academies is much easier than teaching in schools and colleges. More than 40% teachers disagree that students join academies for fun or other reasons. From the view of teachers, 44.5% teachers agree that parents like academies more than schools and colleges. 58% teachers agree that they are very dedicated to their work in academies. We added a statement in the questionnaire which says that academy aims are to improve the knowledge of the students and more than 70% of the teachers gave a positive feedback to this statement. 37.5% while teachers say their basic concern is that their students get good grades in school, college or board exams. 40.5% teachers say that the environment in academies is friendlier as compared to schools and colleges. From 200 teachers, almost 40.5% teachers say that their pay is better in academies. 27.5% have a neutral stance on the statement that poor performance is not tolerated in academies while other teachers have mixed frequency of answers. Around 55% teachers say that students join academies to get better grades in exams.
Table 4: Distribution of Parent’s Responses Strongly Disagree Cases Academies teach better than School(s)/College(s) The teachers Are expert in their subjects in the Academy My children don’t give time to studies at home My child(ren) enjoy attending the Academy Since joining the Academy my Child(ren) result has improved Teachers give me feedback about my child’s performance The quality of education has improved since the Academies opened Academies are more
Frequency (%)

Disagree
Frequency (%)

Neutral
Frequency (%)

Agree
Frequency (%)

Strongly Agree
Frequency (%)

No. of Responses
Frequency (%)

21 (10.5%) 17 (8.5%) 11 (5.5%) 11 (5.5%)

44 (22%) 32 (16%) 67 (33.5%) 42 (21%) 33 (16.5%) 32 (16%) 26 (13%) 68

35 (17.5%) 34 (17%) 46 (23%) 57 (28.5%) 32 (16%) 33 (16.5%) 45 (22.5%) 36

64 (32%) 96 (48%) 55 (27.5%) 72 (36%) 90 (45%) 89 (44.5%) 81 (40.5%) 48

36 (18%) 21 (10.5%) 21 (10.5%) 18 (9%)

200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200 (100%) 200

10 (5%)

35 (17.5%) 36 (18%) 33 (16.5%) 17

10 (5%)

15 (7.5%) 31

economical than School(s)/College(s) My child(ren) general knowledge has improved after joining this Academy Staff at Academies behave well than School(s)/College(s) The teachers are very strict in Academies

(15.5%)

(34%)

(18%)

(24%)

(8.5%)

(100%)

10 (5%)

62 (31%)

51 (25.5%)

62 (31%)

15 (7.5%)

200 (100%)

13 (6.5%) 14 (7%)

47 (23.5%) 52 (26%)

65 (32.5%) 49 (24.5%)

57 (28.5%) 53 (26.5%)

18 (9%) 32 (16%)

200 (100%) 200 (100%)

From our study group of 200 parents, 32% of parents agree that academies teach better than schools and colleges. Out of 200 parents, 48% parents agree that teachers are experts in their subjects in academies and they know how to teach their subject. 33.5% parents disagree that their children don‟t give time to studies at home while 27.5% also agree to the statement. 36% parents believe that their children enjoy attending the academies. 45% parents told us that their child result has improved after joining the academy. 44.5% parents say that teachers tell them about the progress of their children in the academies. By getting the results from 200 parents we see that 40.5% of the parents think that quality of education has improved since the academies opened. 34% of parents are in disagreement of the statement that academies are more economical than schools and colleges and they believe that schools/colleges are much cheaper. From our results we see that 31% of parents disagree that their child‟s general knowledge has improved by joining academy. 28% parents believe that staff teaching in academies is very well behaved as compared to schools and colleges. In last statement 26.6% agree that teachers are strict in academies while very similar amount of parents also disagree to the statement.

4. Analytical Results
Table 5: Overall Comparison of Responses among Study Groups Study Group Parents Teacher Student Response Support (%) Against (%)

58 70 62

42 30 38

P-value=0.001<0.05 which is significant relation between Responses and study group.

5. Conclusion
We conclude that the academies are a need of our society and they contribute a lot in teaching students and students enjoy learning from the academies. Teachers also love to teach in academies as it gives them good practice of teaching. We can also conclude that if parents go against academies than it will affect the knowledge of students as they will not go to academies and it will also affect teachers because they will not have enough practice of teaching. The study also shows that teachers enjoy teaching in academies and they have a highest ratio on answers supporting academies. The least support to academies is by parents compared to teachers and students. Academies are a vital part of our society and they teach students a lot which increases their knowledge as well.

6. Recommendation
Even if the students are in strong favor of Academies, there is a room for improvement for schools and colleges to give quality education to students. The student‟s bears the extra cost of going to two places for studies and get good results. The academies should introduce new courses and teach students to make them more creative. They should bring courses like graphics designing, sports training and career consultancies. The academies should take students to education trips and give them the knowledge of the history of their country and other countries.

7. Reference
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. DCSF. (2010). Academies: Everything you need to know. London. 3-4 DCSF. (2010). How to describe Academies. London. P 2-3. DfES. (2005) Academies Evaluation Second Annual Report. London. Dillon. J. (2005). The Heirs of Plato: A Study of the Old Academy (347-274 B.C.E.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199279463 H.C.Lee. T. (2000) Education in Traditional China: A History. ISSN 0169-9520. P 100 PwC. (2008). Academies Evaluation Fifth Annual Report. London. 28-30.