KARACHI: Pakistan suffers from a grave dilemma - one that seems far from being resolved. From the education system being in complete shambles, to having multiple modes -- private and public -- of imparting basic education to the children, the country's academic sector needs a thorough, exhaustive change.
A way to address educational woes that exist in Pakistan is to conduct comprehensive training courses for teachers and academicians at the public level so as to provide the younger generation with a plethora of quality government teachers.
With this vision in mind, a non-profit organisation named 'Durbeen' has taken on the mantle of imparting free higher education to individuals who aspire to become professional teachers while being a part of a larger, monumental education eco-system.
For the purpose, the organisation is credited for initiating a pilot project at the Government Elementary College of Education (GECE), Hussainabad, with a dream to prepare apt, informed and educated group of high-quality teachers through its progressive training courses.
A sister organisation of eminent singer and philanthropist Shehzad Roy's 'Zindagi Trust', 'Durbeen' in collaboration with the provincial government, aims to link teacher preparation, selection and placement with school reforms.
To achieve the said task, 'Durbeen' intends to take over the management of one of the oldest teacher training institutes in the province, by introducing and implementing a modernised curriculum, with the help of University of Helsinki in Finland.
To get detailed insights on the project, The News got in touch with 'Durbeen's CEO Salma Alam who shed further light on the larger problem at hand.
"The fundamental changes in the economy, jobs, and businesses today are driving new, different skill demands. Now more than ever, it is not enough for a student to just be good at Math, Science or English. It is now essential for students to also be able to think critically and creatively, communicate, collaborate, find good information quickly, and use technology effectively. These are today’s survival skills—not only for career success, but for personal and civic life as well," Alam, a passionate educationist and a certified teacher from Singapore, said.
She added, "In Pakistan, however, the quality of education being provided is well below global standards. According to the 2016 United Nations Global Education Monitoring Report, Pakistan is more than 50 years behind in its school education targets."
Alam went on to assert how raising the quality of teachers is crucial for the overall uplift of the education system in Pakistan.
"Research shows that a child’s teacher can make a bigger difference to his or her educational success than most other school factors. However, there continue to be systemic barriers that are undermining the delivery of quality teacher education. A 2014 study of government teacher education institutions reveals that most of these institutions are deficient in infrastructure, knowledge and human resources to adequately implement the new curriculum," she said.
Alam also discussed the future objectives of her NGO rooted in setting the gold standard for teacher education and public schooling in Pakistan.
"After their graduation, the GECE teachers will be placed in pre-selected government schools. 'Durbeen' will attain administrative control over these select government schools through subsequent public-private partnerships. The goal of these partnerships would be to improve the entire eco-system of these teachers - from infrastructure, school leadership, administration, resources, teaching community - to ensure that they perform at their maximum potential and drastically improve student performance in government schools."
At the heart of the project also lies the modernisation of B.Ed curriculum in the country as Alam believes it is pertinent to inculcate a modern education system for teachers.
"To address 21st century skills requirement in children, teacher training methods need to be updated so we are able to develop teachers who can take this task forward. If we just look at government schools in Sindh – there are 4.2 million children enrolled in the system. Now that the government and Pakistan Higher Education Commission (HEC) has shifted towards the 4 year B.Ed (Hons) programme, the state needs to ensure that the 755 teacher trainers, responsible for developing future teachers in the system, are skilled and up-to-date themselves. These capacity building opportunities have unfortunately not been made available yet on a larger scale," she asserted.
Meanwhile, given its economic limitations, 'Durbeen' also recently helped waive off Rs94 million financial aid promised by the Sindh government. The waiver is undertaken by both 'Durbeen' and 'Zindagi Trust' with the help of private funding.
Join hands with Durbeen.pk to become a part of its revolutionary dream and help Pakistan learn.
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