LAHORE: The Punjab government is going to integrate three departments —Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB), Quaid-i-Azam Academy for Educational Development (QAED) and Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) — into one organisation with a view to bringing about a qualitative change in education.

On the other hand, the staff is sceptical of the move, apprehending large-scale lay-offs.

The government has constituted a five-member committee to integrate three departments regarding curriculum development, teachers’ training, and assessment framework into one overarching body/organisation, states a Punjab School Education Department (SED) notification issued on April 26.

According to the notification available with Dawn, the SED special secretary was made convener of the committee while other members include PCTB managing director, QAED director general, PEC chief executive officer and any other member as required.

PCTB, QAED, PEC being integrated into a single body

The committee was directed to clearly demarcate the role and responsibilities of PEC, PCTB and QAED, identify duplicated responsibilities/ functions among the three departments, reorganise roles/ responsibilities, undertake consultation with all stakeholders, review regional/ international best practices for possible adoption/ replication, recommend various modes of integrating three departments into one organisation and bring forth pros and cons of each and suggesting relevant next steps/ timelines.

It also directed to suggest new legislation/ amendments in existing legislation, identify human resource needs for the suggested organisation while at the same time securing the genuine rights of existing human resources.

The committee was directed to commence its work forthwith and complete the assignment within 30 days.

An organogram of the new organisation after integration of the three departments is also available with Dawn. According to it, the chief minister was made its chairperson, the minister for school education as vice chair, and the CEO would head the organisation with three managing directors of operations, academics and inspectorate.

A head of one of these three departments on condition of anonymity told Dawn that PCTB is a self-sustained autonomous body responsible for the formulation and implementation of curricula, development and approval of textbooks and supplementary reading material relating to textbooks and production of textbooks.

He said PCTB would get service charges from the government to print books for schools and had a Rs3 billion budget.

He said PEC is also an autonomous body responsible for designing, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of systems of examination up to elementary education and QAED is responsible for pre-service and in-service teachers training.

He said the government plans to merge these departments in the name of improving quality of education and he did not understand how it would help to improve quality.

He said the government had hired some consultant who devised this plan without taking anyone into confidence from these departments and did not organise a single consultation.

He said there was a huge risk to the hundreds of employees of these departments and it would not help the government to improve the quality of education.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2024

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