Asian Perspective opens in Karachi

Karachi, September 16, 2014 (PPI-OT): Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agaahi, along with Education and Literacy Department, Government of Sindh Pakistan, South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED) and development partners (OSF/DFID/Dubai Cares and Oxfam GB)convened a regional conference on the Right to Education and Early Childhood Education and Development; Foundation for Quality Learning-Evidence from South Asia- in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan from September 16th – 17th, 2014 at Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi.

The conference was attended by senior government officers across Pakistan, practitioners, policy makers, academics, civil society organizations, development partners and delegates from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Special Guest was Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Senior Minister for Education and the conference was presided over by Mr. Fazallullah Pechuho, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Education and Literacy Department, Government of Sindh.

The conference titled “Right to Education and Early Childhood Education and Development; Foundation for Quality Learning –Evidence from South Asia” is aimed to upgrade the ECE/ECED profile in education initiatives – policy, curriculum and standards, teacher education, assessment and research and innovation as part of the right to education movement and its accompanying legislation/rules in Pakistan and in other South Asian Countries.

Moreover, it underscored the critical positioning of ECE/ECED as a cross cutting multi-sectoral goal to meet several indicators in the Post 2015 Development Agenda (Child/Maternal Health/Nutrition/Poverty) and create a South Asian/Asia Pacific learning/research platform for ECE/ECED supported by ARNEC, CECED, SAFED, UNICEF, UNESCO and others to enable collaboration across borders.

Recognizing ECE/ECED as a comprehensive learning and multi-sectoral agenda within the diverse contexts of South Asia, the conference covered key principles, recommendations and actions in five areas: Policy and Right to Education, Curriculum and Standards, Teacher Preparation, Assessment and Research and Innovations. Each session was chaired and moderated by distinguishable personalities in the field of education with discussions leading to far-reaching goals.

Baela Raza Jamil, Director Programs, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), said: “There are compelling reasons for undertaking this endeavor; for over 66 years we have seen that to make human resources strong, the investment must be consistent and embedded in foundation. This begins at birth and progressively it must be supported through a strong early year’s program.

Unfortunately, to date we are not convinced in making the investments that are critical for this age group as the critical pillar for equity without any discrimination targeting the most excluded and the disadvantaged…making mind shifts is imperative now!”
The session was inaugurated by Dr. Bernadette Dean, Director of Valy Mohammad Institute for Education (VMIE), followed by an introduction by Saba Mahmood, Chief Program Manager, Reform Support Unit (RSU), and Government of Sindh. Dr. Ghazala Rafique, interim Director of Agha Khan University, discussed the process of evaluation for ECED and Baela Reza Jamil concentrated on the post-2015 development agenda and setting global goals.

Dr. Fazaullah Pechuho welcomed the participants from the South Asian countries and acknowledged the role of the private sector for the education sector in not only Sindh but also the national policy. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Senior Minister for Education, Government of Sindh, highlighted the significance of Sindh Education Sector Plan (SESP) 2014/15 -2018/19 in Early Childhood Education (ECE) within the province.

He quoted “It gives me great pleasure to know that the debates and dialogues that have been taking place globally, regionally and within countries on the post 2015 development agenda – overseen by the UN Secretary General – Open Working Groups (OWGs) on Sustainable development and UNESCO’s EFA’s Steering committee and the Global Education for ALL meetings most recently held in Oman (May 14,2014).” He noted Sindh Government’s commitment towards implementation of ECED policy:

1. “Develop ECE policy and minimum standards for ECE(e.g space and ) enrollment, etc

2. Phase wise establishment of model ECE-centers across the province and transforming Katchi into ECE classes

3. Establish ECE teachers’ cadre

4. Review and revise ECE curriculum and ensure provision of learning materials

5. Supporting learners’ transition from home to school and ECE to higher classes”

After the inauguration session the conference was formally begun with the policy and RTE status of all provinces along with ICT. The conference continued the entire day along all the themes of teacher preparation, curriculum and standards to form five groups to discuss next steps forward and also shape a Karachi Statement which will be in presenting at international and UN forums.

For more information, contact:
Muhammad Nadim Farooqui
Provincial Coordinator Sindh
Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA)
Bungalow No. F-70, Block No. 8,
KDA, Scheme No. 5, Kehkashan Clifton, Karachi
Tel: +92-21-32006627, +92-21-35295030

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