The Higher Education Commission has granted funding for an innovative study designed to identify how different methods of teaching Mathematics and Science can improve children’s understanding of these key subjects.
The study will be conducted by researchers from the Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development (IED) over a period of at least three years. During this period, educational experts will analyse a demographically representative sample of children and teachers across the country to gather evidence on how educators perceive existing educational methods and to identify teaching approaches which give students the strongest grasp of concepts in these two areas.
“Students who excel in Mathematics and Science possess the skills needed to innovate and to power Pakistan’s progress. By evaluating the value of teaching methods in these two subjects in classrooms across the nation, we will be able to recommend initiatives that will raise teaching and learning standards across the country,” said Dr Sadia Bhutta, an assistant professor at IED and the principal investigator of the study.
“Through our findings, we also hope to support the government’s efforts to achieve commitments under Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to education. Achieving the targets set under the SDGs related to proficiency in mathematics and competency in technical skills will go a long way towards boosting the employment and entrepreneurship prospects of the next generation of Pakistanis,” she added.
Commenting on the need for such a study, IED Assistant Professor Nusrat Fatima Rizvi added that there were still doubts among stakeholders in the education sector on how improvements in teaching methods translate to better learning outcomes for students.
“An absence of evidence on which teaching approaches are the most effective means that it is difficult to encourage teachers to try new methods and to gain training in new educational techniques. This can lead to the persistence of teaching methods in classrooms that fail to engage students resulting in an aversion to these key subjects. Besides finding out which teaching approaches are the best for students, our project will also incorporate findings into professional development programmes for educators so that we can immediately realise the benefits of the research.”
The study Assessing Teachers’ Pedagogical Practices and Students’ Learning Outcomes in Mathematics and Science Across Primary and Secondary School Levels: A Nationwide Study is set to begin in November 2017 and will be conducted by faculty and students at AKU-IED, under the direction of Dr Sadia Bhutta and Dr Nusrat Fatima Rizvi.