‘The state of a country’s education system is directly reflective of its quality of teaching’ – a thought echoed by all speakers at the ceremony presenting a whitepaper on the need for introducing teaching licenses in Pakistan.
“We need teaching licenses, not only in name but to actually increase professionalism in our teachers, thereby elevating their status! Licensed teachers will become a ray of hope for improving student learning outcomes for our generations to come,” said Dr Sajid Ali, Amir Sultan Chinoy Associate Professor at the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED), who along with Afaq Ahmed, is primarily responsible for the development of the whitepaper.
Organised by AKU-IED, in collaboration with Sindh Teachers Education Development Authority (STEDA) and Durbeen, the whitepaper was unveiled in the presence of Sindh Minister for Education Syed Sardar Ali Shah at the AKU auditorium in Karachi. Stakeholders from academia including many teachers, and public and private sector representatives attended the event.
The minister stressed that teaching licenses can help improve the quality of education. “Teaching should have a license just as other professions like medicine, law, nursing, and engineering do. This will also improve the status of teachers.”
Co-founder Durbeen, founder Zindagi Trust, and panelist, Shehzad Roy said that they are aiming for structured reforms because teaching is a science. “We want teaching to be treated with the same respect as any other profession. Just as you would not want a mediocre doctor treating a loved one, you cannot possibly hold a mediocre teacher responsible for your child's brain development. It just cannot be done,” he stressed.
Other esteemed panelists included Director of Training and Assessment, Sindh Education Foundation, Government of Sindh (GoS), Shahpara Rizvi; and Chairman National Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, Dr Muhammad Memon. They discussed how teaching licenses can help improve the preparation, recruitment and retention of quality teachers.
In his concluding remarks, AKU-IED Dean, Professor Farid Panjwani highlighted the role of teaching licenses in determining what constitutes good teaching practice that results in the best learning experience for our students. “AKU-IED, STEDA and Durbeen hope that this whitepaper will bring Pakistan one step closer to elevating the status of teachers through countrywide licensing,” he added.
AKU-IED, over the past three decades, has been preparing professionals for leadership roles in education. Informing education policies and practices and improving schools in under-served and hard-to-access areas. It aims at making valuable and relevant contributions to improving the quality of education in Pakistan.
GoS’ STEDA was established to oversee and regulate teacher education activities and to maintain the standards of the training and training providers.
Working hand in hand with the Sindh government, Durbeen is a non-profit organisation working to improve public schools in Pakistan through developing par-excellence teachers for public schools.