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April 25, 2019

KU partners with Durbeen for teachers’ education and training


April 25, 2019

The University of Karachi (KU) on Wednesday granted the status of pilot project to one of its affiliated institutions, the Government Elementary College of Education (GECE), Hussainabad, with the aim of introducing innovations and global best practices in the education system for teachers in Pakistan.

The signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding in this regard was held at the KU Vice Chancellor Secretariat. KU Faculty of Education Dean Prof Dr Nasir Salman and the chief executive officer of Durbeen, Salma Ahmad Alam, inked the document. Zindagi Trust founder Shehzad Roy also attended the ceremony. Last month, the Sindh government had outsourced the management of the GECE to Durbeen, which is a non-profit organisation, to improve its infrastructure, teaching and administration.

According to Durbeen, after the status of pilot project granted by the KU to the GECE, it aims at introducing certain innovations in the four-year bachelor of education (BEd), elementary (honours) curriculum at the GECE in collaboration with the University of Helsinki in Finland and the KU.

Finland is a global leader in education and its teachers’ training system was recently ranked at the top by The Economist. This enriched BEd elementary (honours) curriculum will be implemented at the college for a period of four years and simultaneously an impact study will be conducted to assess the quality of the teachers trained by the college. Based on the results of that study, the KU will determine the scalability of this curriculum across its other affiliated teacher education programmes.

Durbeen maintains that it aims to deliver an outstanding quality of education in government schools across Sindh by staffing them with professional teacher graduates. For this project, the organisation has partnered with the Zindagi Trust, another non-profit organisation that has led the way to reform government schools through school adoptions and advocacy.

The trust has transformed two government schools in Karachi into model schools through interventions in governance, infrastructure, academic innovation, student development and teachers’ professional development.

Commenting on Durbeen’s project, School Education Secretary Qazi Shahid Pervaiz stated, “Just like the first step on the moon was a small one for a man but a giant leap for mankind, this PPP [public private partnership] is a giant leap for the education system which will produce 66 teachers every year, after four years, and it will impact lives of thousands of students.” The secretary remarked that the KU’s initiative to partner with Durbeen might result in other varsities following suit. “Maybe University of Sindh will step in next and Jamshoro after this,” he said, adding that he hoped that the project would help bring about a complete reform of teachers’ education.

Pervaiz said the weak standards of the current system had been producing very unsatisfactory BEds and MEds, due to which the government even considered removing BEd as a requirement in their recruitment rules.

“But that would have meant shutting down this discipline completely. We [continued with] it and today KU is taking this step, on Finland’s pattern. We are following the best model in teachers’ education,” the secretary added.

KU Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan also lauded Durbeen for undertaking the project. “When I was approached by ZT [Zindagi Trust] and Durbeen, I immediately agreed to the idea – because I have been wanting to do this for the last 20 years. I am confident that with the help of Durbeen, we will bring such a reform in the teaching system that we will raise a generation of students that will be capable of asking questions – and that is what will help our nation move forward,” the VC said.

Meanwhile, the Durbeen CEO appreciated the KU’s cooperation. “This unprecedented partnership with Finland would not have been possible without Karachi University’s support,” she said.

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