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ISLAMABAD: Education experts and academics debated the relevance of teacher training and how important it was to make the profession the first career choice for coming generations.

At a seminar titled ‘The Sustainable Development Agenda 2030: What does it mean for our teachers?’ organised to commemorate World Teachers’ Day, participants agreed that to achieve educational targets, it was vital to hire good teachers and that the government would have to focus on better training for them.

Jamil Bajwa, who is a senior professor at the Federal College of Education, said the training teachers receive is not relevant to their work and that they should be given more opportunities to explore their talents.

He said: “Our B.Ed curriculum is not relevant to a teacher’s job. If we fix this and begin training great teachers, nothing can hold us back from becoming a great nation.”

Mr Bajwa added that teachers should be committed to nurturing a well-balanced nation and suggested that their salaries should be performance related.

Nargis Sultana of the Open Society Foundation said teachers were the heart of the education system and that “it is imperative to revisit what it is we, as a society, need to do to enable them to produce great students,” adding that teachers needed to break away from the system of rote learning and should encourage students to think critically.

Nashwa Shakeel, who is programme coordinator of the Pakistan Coalition for Education, said teachers needed to be given the respect they deserve.

“Teachers have been playing their role as change agents despite the problems they face.”

Educationist Saba Qamar and several others also spoke on the occasion.

They highlighted the role of teachers and their responsibilities.

The event was organised by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi in collaboration with Unesco and the Institute for Professional Learning at a local hotel.

Published in Dawn, October 10th , 2015

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