KARACHI: In a recent public-private partnership agreement with the government of Sindh, the management of the Government Elementary College of Education, Hussainabad was entrusted with Durbeen, a non-profit organisation which is a sister concern of Zindagi Trust, says a press release issued on Monday. Sharing a vision with Zindagi Trust to improve public-sector education in Pakistan, Durbeen has taken a step to address issues at the core —raising the quality of government teachers — through its reform initiative at the aforementioned government college for teacher education.

These initiatives include academic improvements through an international collaboration. Durbeen brought in expertise from the University of Helsinki, Finland to enrich and modernise the curriculum of the BEd (Hons) programme and train the faculty of the college. Durbeen has also embarked on numerous administrative and infrastructural changes and renovation of college buildings is under way.

The admission cycle has reached completion and for the first time in years, this historic college of teacher education in Sindh will have a student body of at least 60 young women, starting classes in August 2019.

Govt’s funding commitment waived

The Sindh government has shown full support for this reform project and had committed an amount of Rs94 million in the first year for the renovation and set up of the college. However, Salma A. Alam, CEO Durbeen and Shehzad Roy, president, Zindagi Trust met with Qazi Shahid Pervaiz, secretary, Sindh education and literacy department and Khalid Mehmood Shaikh, director general, Sindh Public Private Partnership Unit, and waived the government’s funding commitment for the first year.

As representatives of non-profit organisations working for the improvement of public-sector education, the duo acknowledged the financial limitations of the Sindh government and the overall fiscal crunch the country is facing. This fundraising burden, that both Durbeen and Zindagi Trust are now undertaking with this waiver, was possible due to contributions from the private sector.

It is the aid and support of private-sector actors that has enabled Durbeen to start its journey of providing free, high-quality professional teacher education to women, with the end goal of reforming teacher education. Government funding, hence made available by this waiver, will allow the state to utilise these funds for other education initiatives that can greatly benefit the children of Pakistan, concludes the press release.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2019

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