Realising the close correlation between quality of teachers and achievement of students learning outcomes, Pak-Norway Institutional Cooperation Project was launched. This project involved a partnership between LUI’s International Service at Oslo University College (LINS) and two Pakistan-based universities; Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) and Institute of Education and Research, Peshawar University (IER-PU) for institutional networking among public and private sector national and international teacher education institutions.
The project focused on improving pedagogies and practices for enhancing prospective teachers’ learning, developing faculty and students’ research and scholarship capacity in teacher education, generating indigenous knowledge through large and small-scale joint research studies and disseminating research findings and experiences with other higher education institutions to strengthen teacher education as a basis for improving quality of education in Pakistan in general and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwain (KP) particular. It also aimed at creating a broad forum at the system level for teacher educators and key stakeholders to discuss problems and issues faced by the education system and contribute to their successful resolution.
The adverse law and order situation in Pakistan during the project period (July 2007- July 2011), which led to unscheduled holidays, delays and deferments in meeting deadlines, hindered face-to-face interaction with the faculty of LINS, Oslo University College. Despite these challenges, the project exceeded in developing a research culture and accomplished significant qualitative results and contributed to the education sector in KP by sharing Whole School Improvement Programme (WSIP), research knowledge with public sector higher education institutions through research and issue-based seminars, video conferencing, poster presentations and publications. The publication of research findings in the form of an edited book, research monographs on one large-scale and seven small-scale joint research studies and project newsletters further contributed in reaching out to a large number of teachers and teacher-educators throughout country.
The project provided technical support to IER-PU in transformation of institutional milieu by improving professional skills of faculty, MPhil/PhD students in teaching pedagogies and research theorization, developing research tools, analysing data and writing research report and improved frequency of publishing their research work in national and international journals. Latest international publications/textbooks were provided to IER-PU to assist in improving faculty and students’ knowledge base which enabled them to enhance their skills and perspectives about teaching-learning in schools and in higher education institutions.
Responding to the needs of partner institutions emerged as a key success indicator in the project. There has been visible impact on teaching, learning, research and publication practices of the faculty and students at IER-PU. This academic alliance provided valuable insights into learning from a public-private partnership. The success of this project provides a model to be emulated and demands for scaling-up of such collaboration at national and regional levels. In order to sustain and replicate such alliance in other provinces, there is a need for engaging in second phase of the project.