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October 15, 2011

Govt urged to provide incentives for promotion of English

Business

REUTERS
October 15, 2011

Pakistan today is the most lined country with the international education network in the form of satellite communication. We should use this capability to teach English in the far-flung corners of the country, given the fact that we have a higher education network.
These views were expressed by Dr Muhammad Iqbal Chaudhry, head of the HEJ Institute of Chemistry at the University of Karachi, while speaking at the inauguration of the three-day 27th conference of the Society for the Promotion of English Language Teaching (SPELT) at the Habib Public School on Friday evening.
He said that today the need of the hour was to teach English in a manner whereby children and the people at large could communicate with the people across the world. He said people would have to depart from the trend where only functional English was taught, given the fact that today English was a world language and the main medium of communication among nations.
“Today we have 40-50 million children in school and not more than a million teachers. How many of them are English teachers? So we have to bridge the gap to implement the much-needed training,” he said. He greatly appreciated the services being rendered by SPELT for training English teachers and promoting the teaching of English along scientific, modern lines in the country.
Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director, Oxford University Press (OUP), Pakistan, in her talk, highlighted the indispensable importance of books and said these were the core of the education process but said so was the education system. She called for reorienting the examination system.
“You have to motivate children not to read just textbooks but to consult all the varied available sources of information, including modern information technology whereby they don’t just learn by rote but attain the mental maturity to form their own opinions. Children should be encouraged to form their views rather than have their parents and teachers foist theirs on

them.”
Dr Peter Grundy, the keynote speaker from the University of Durham, UK, delivered a lecture with the help of slide presentations, through interactive exercises with the participants.
The crux of his lecture was that teachers should divide their time proportionally between what they were teaching and how they should teach it; in other words, the content of their teaching and its quality. He said that the trend among teachers was that they focused on performance rather than on the content.
Ray Brown of the British Council, Karachi, said that while in Karachi, he would be drawing on his experience in all the countries he had served to promote the teaching of English.
Mahshood Rizvi, Director, British Council, Sindh and Balochistan, called for greater cooperation from the Federal Ministry of Education in the English language teaching programmes.
Muhammad Aamir, Conference Coordinator, talking about the achievements of SPELT, narrated how a very small group of motivated people 27 years ago had grown into a major organisation with international links today.
Fatima Shahabuddin said, “We are criticised for not doing enough to teach English, but the other side of the story is that we need proper incentives and teaching aids.” Ayesha Dar recounted the achievements of SPELT over the last almost three decades.
Mansoor Naz Vindhani thanked the participants, orgainsers and visitors, both from inside the country and overseas for making the occasion a success.
The conference is being held by SPELT in collaboration with the Oxford University Press, the British, Council, the USIS, Cambridge University and the Habib Public School.

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