Pilot project launched to 'revolutionise Pakistan's teacher education system'

April 25, 2019

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Karachi University joins forces with NPOs and University of Helsinki to "adopt global best practices" in the teacher education system of Pakistan. — Dawn/File
Karachi University joins forces with NPOs and University of Helsinki to "adopt global best practices" in the teacher education system of Pakistan. — Dawn/File

The Karachi University (KU) has granted its affiliated Government Elementary College of Education (GECE), Hussainabad, the status of a pilot project, with "the goal of introducing innovations and global best practices in the teacher education system of Pakistan".

The pilot project sees KU collaborate with nonprofit organisations (NPOs) Durbeen and Zindagi Trust as well as Finland's University of Helsinki "to improve the college's infrastructure, academics and administration and introduce certain innovations in its four-year B.Ed. Elementary (Honours) curriculum", a press release said.

"The revised B.Ed. Elementary (Honours) programme will be implemented at the GECE for a period of four years (one graduation cycle) and simultaneously, an impact study will be conducted to assess the quality of the student-teachers."

Based on the findings of the study, the University of Karachi will determine the scalability of the curriculum across other affiliated teacher-education programmes," the press release added.

Durbeen aims to deliver "an outstanding quality of education in government schools across Sindh by staffing them with professional teacher graduates of revamped Government Colleges of Teacher Education."

Qazi Shahid Pervaiz, the secretary School Education and Literacy Department, said that “just like the first step on the moon was a small one for a man but a giant leap for mankind, this Government College of Teacher Education too may only produce 60 teachers every year, but it will have a huge impact on the larger teacher education system across Sindh.

"The University of Karachi’s initiative today is like the first drop of rain that heralds the rainy season. Next, this same initiative may be replicated at the University of Sindh or Jamshoro after that. This is a project that Durbeen has started with KU, and we hope that it builds up to a complete reform of teacher education."

"The truth is that the quality of B.Eds and M.Eds we were getting from our current system so far were so weak that we almost considered removing B.Ed. as a requirement from our teacher recruitment rules. But that would have meant shutting down this discipline completely. We held on to it and today KU is taking this step, in Finland’s pattern. We are following the best model in teacher education and I am very hopeful to have it implemented across my country.“

KU Vice-Chancellor Muhammad Ajmal Khan said that “when I was approached, I immediately agreed to the idea because I have been wanting to do this for the last 20 years.

"I am confident that with the help of Durbeen, we will bring such a reform in the teaching system that a generation of students would become capable of asking questions, and that is what will help our nation move forward."