University of Oxford faculty to attend teacher education conference in Pakistan

By News Desk
February 02, 2023

Three senior faculty members from the University of Oxford in London are currently visiting Pakistan to attend the 1st International Teacher Education Conference organised by Durbeen.


During their stay in the country, they will also visit government schools and teacher training colleges, and develop an understanding of the local education and policy context. They will also finalise the programme and curriculum that is being developed for the first Master of Science (Education) for teacher educators in Pakistan.

Associate Professor of Science Education Dr Ann Childs, Associate Professor of English Education Dr Ian Thompson, and Lecturer of Comparative and International Education Dr Aliya Khalid are the faculty visiting from the University of Oxford.

The two-day conference is being held at the Government Elementary College of Education (GECE), Hussainabad. Presentations and panel discussions will centre around teacher education in Pakistan, covering various innovations in pedagogy and assessment, key challenges and potential solutions.

The conference is being attended by the faculty from the University of Oxford, along with teacher educators from institutions around the country. They include the Aga Khan University-Institute of Educational Development (AKU-IED), the Notre Dame Institute of Education, the Lahore University of Management Sciences, the Lahore College for Women University, the Forman Christian College, the University of Karachi and the Sukkur IBA University.

Speakers from the corporate sector and media have also been invited to talk about the public perception of the teaching profession, and ways to attract talented young students to choosing teaching for their career.

There are 29 teacher training colleges in Sindh alone. Durbeen has adopted one of these: the GECE, Hussainabad, in Karachi. These colleges all offer the Bachelor of Education degree programme. However, the key challenge that all these colleges face is the shortage of professionally qualified and experienced teacher educators.

Durbeen is addressing this issue by establishing a programme that offers an MS (Education) specifically for teacher educators. This is the first of its kind in Pakistan and is offered in very few universities around the world.

The objective is to train the teacher educators who can go on to become change agents in the teacher training colleges across Sindh and around Pakistan, leading to a downstream benefit in the quality of education offered at government schools around the country.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of this programme is that it is being developed under a four-way partnership: the University of Oxford, the Government of Sindh (GoS), the Malala Fund and Durbeen.

Durbeen is a non-profit organisation established with the goal of raising the quality of education in government schools across Pakistan by staffing them with professional teacher graduates of the revamped Government Colleges of Teacher Education.

It entered into a public-private partnership agreement with the GoS in 2019 to manage the GECE, Hussainabad campus. Durbeen offers a four-year BEd (Hons) programme free of charge to girls who are passionate about raising the standard of education being offered by government schools.

This is a cutting-edge programme, and features significant innovations in pedagogy and assessment. Graduates are committed to using their education and experience in government schools, where they will work for at least three years after graduation.

Durbeen is also working with the GoS to establish a licensing exam for new recruitments in the teaching workforce. This licensing exam is being jointly developed by the Sindh Teachers Education Development Authority, the AKU-IED and Durbeen.

The intent behind this effort is to ensure that qualified and capable teachers are inducted, and entrants are incentivised to seek professional training before applying for teaching jobs in government schools.

Graduates of the BEd programme offered by the GECE, Hussainabad, and other teacher training colleges in Sindh will take this exam, and successful applicants will be recruited to 700 posts created especially for this purpose.