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Karachi

October 20, 2016

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Call for paradigm shift in approach to educating children

Call for paradigm shift in approach to educating children

Principals’ conference told education should be imparted through

proven effective practices of pedagogy, teaching and learning

The paradigm shift to center our approach to educating children on proven effective practices of pedagogy, teaching and learning is imperative.

This observation was made by Shahnaz Wazir Ali, trustee of Education Trust Nasra Schools and president of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), in his address as chief guest at the second conference of principals, titled “Why Engaged Teaching and Learning Matters?”, on Wednesday.

The conference, hosted by the Aga Khan University Examination Board (AKU-EB), in partnership with the Oxford University Press (OUP), was aimed at providing structured learning opportunities to educational leadership as well as at gaining insights into school improvement from an indigenous and a global perspective. 

“Why is it that when the human intellect is exploring outer space deep space, probing the depth of the ocean and releasing the vast potential of its genius through invention, discovery and innovation, our children’s minds are still throttled by an education system that is rigid, inflexible and rooted in traditionalist systems and structures?” she asked.

The noted educationist advised that to attain learning outcomes in knowledge and skills and make the great leap forward so every child could achieve his/her potential, “we must break the shackles of over-regulation and centralised controls”, pitch resources into promoting quality teaching and learning, and place the teacher and the student at the centre of the change process.

She observed that the conference brought together the change agents -- educator leaders -- to transform school learning.

AKU-EB Director Dr Shehzad Jeeva shared that engaged teaching and learning affected the knowledge, skills, attitudes and capacities of students to contribute in the communities in which they lived. He said it broadened their horizons and approach towards education which prepared them to practise higher-level critical thinking.

The renowned national and international speakers and panelists engaged the participants in thought-provoking sessions. The highlight of the conference included a session by Nicholas Horsburgh, a veteran author and textbook writer of the OUP, on ownership and engagement.

Shahid Badami, principal of Ghulaman-e-Abbas School, and Ali Gohar Chang, principal of IBA Public School, Sukkur, shared inspirational stories of their schools, striving to provide and promote quality education in challenging areas of Pakistan, followed by a panel discussion by Dr Ayesha Mian, chair, Department of Psychiatry, Aga Khan University, and Prof Dr Muhammad Shafi Afridi, chairman, Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Peshawar.

An intriguing discussion on re-imaging the textbook was led by an experienced panel, including Dr Nicki Saroca, faculty, Habib University; Rahila Ashraf, general manager, education, Oxford University Press; Kermin Parakh, principal, Bai Virbaijee Soparivala (BVS) Parsi High School; and Dr Uzma Javed, director, studies, The City School, Lahore.  

The conference concluded with an interactive session titled ‘World Café’, which was conducted by Abbas Husain, director, Teachers’ Development Centre. 

The managing director of OUP Pakistan, Ameena Saiyid, said: “The importance of education throughout human history is undeniable. Education is the key to an individual’s as well as a nation’s future.  

“In today’s world, populated by seven billion plus people, all striving for a better future for themselves and their coming generations, education is as essential as air and water, not only to survive but to progress. Education is the understanding, imparting and application of knowledge for personal as well as professional progress. Education is the foundation on which knowledge and life are built.”

Educationists across Pakistan participated in the conference to discuss challenges and find ways to improve school leadership and thereby raise the standard of teaching and learning.

They deliberated on prevalent educational issues in Pakistan and discussed how to build linkages with their peers in order to learn from best practices and thereby boost results. They also discussed ways to collaborate and help students to successfully transition from one level to another.

It also aimed to further strengthen and build capacity of school leadership. The AKU-EB also launched Pakistan’s first Principals’ Network at this conference. The aim of the network is to engage school principals, heads and institutional leaders across Pakistan and to facilitate the sharing of ideas, innovations and best practices that contribute in the development and implementation of school improvement programmes.

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