KARACHI: Speakers at a programme on Wednesday observed that the state of a country’s education system was directly reflective of its quality of teaching.

The programme was organised by the Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) to present a whitepaper on the need for introducing teaching licences in Pakistan.

“We need teaching licences, not only in name, but to actually increase professionalism in our teachers, thereby elevating their status. Licensed teachers will become a ray of hope for improving student learning outcomes for our generations to come,” said Dr Sajid Ali.

The AKU-IED in collaboration with the Sindh Teachers Education Development Authority (STEDA) and Durbeen, a non-profit organisation, unveiled the whitepaper in the presence of Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah here.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Shah said: “I am convinced that teaching licences can help us improve the quality of education. Teaching should have a licence just as other professions like medicine, law, nursing, and engineering do. This will also improve the status of teachers.”

Durbeen co-founder and panellist Shehzad Roy said: “We are aiming for structured reforms, because teaching is a science. We want teaching to be treated with the same respect as any other profession. Just as you would not want a mediocre doctor treating a loved one, you cannot possibly hold a mediocre teacher responsible for your child’s brain development. It just cannot be done.”

Other panellists included Sindh Education Founda­tion official Shahpara Rizvi and National Accreditation Council for Teacher Education chairman Dr Mohammed Memon.

They discussed how teaching licences can help improve preparation, recruitment and retention of quality teachers.

In his concluding remarks, AKU-IED Dean Prof Farid Panjwani highlighted the role of teaching licences in determining what constitutes good teaching practice that results in the best learning experience for our students.

Stakeholders from academia, including many teachers, and public and private sector representatives, attended the event.

They believe the whitepaper will bring Pakistan one step closer to elevating the status of teachers through countrywide licensing.

AKU-IED, over the past three decades, has been preparing professionals for leadership roles in education. Informing education policies and practices and improving schools in under-served and hard-to-access areas. It aims at making valuable and relevant contributions to improving the quality of education in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2022

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