Provincial Minister for Higher Education Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz said the government of Punjab believes in investing in human development and work is being done to develop human resource. He said the objective would be achieved through opportunities of higher learning, training, and capacity building with the support of the Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC).
He was addressing the inauguration ceremony of the induction training of college faculty (assistant professors) on Monday at the Faculty Development Academy (FDA) of PHEC.
Talking about reforms in the higher education sector, the minister said the government had been focused on an overhaul of the mechanism and processes currently in place for higher education reforms. "We, as part of our 100-day programme, have placed the most ambitious education agenda in Pakistan‘s history. The professional development of college and university faculty is our top priority."
He stressed that faculty members were the real change agents of the society. To achieve their goal, the teachers would have to demonstrate and nurture excellence in research, teaching, professional activities and policy development on a variety of levels, the minister stressed.
He also shared that the government was planning to establish a state-of-the-art teachers training academy with the aim to provide world-class professional development and research opportunities to teachers. "I believe that CPD programmes are systematic and relevant to the needs of teachers and are vital for an entire ecosystem of innovation in the province."
Commending the efforts of PHEC in accomplishing the government agenda on human development, the minister said that the establishment of FDA was indeed a tremendous achievement as it effectively catered to continuous professional development (CPD),
"I am confident enough that this training programme will provide you relevant knowledge and skills that are prerequisite for quality learning and management inside the classroom." The minister maintained that PHEC had structured the FDA in a purposeful manner and engaged the best possible people as trainers.
Addressing the ceremony, Chairperson PHEC Professor Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin highlighted the aims of the FDA. He said it was a fully residential state-of-the-art training academy where 1000 newly-inducted lecturers of 715 public sector colleges, from all 9 divisions of Punjab, had been trained in pedagogy, classroom management and leadership skills. "Now in this phase, we will train 600 assistant professors from public sector colleges in four batches of 115 teachers in each batch," he said.
He added that for faculty training, master trainers had been selected rigorously from various top universities and research institutes. "Besides this, we have also taken various other initiatives to enhance the capacity of our faculty members, especially in the college sector. We have launched split-PhD programmes, foreign and indigenous post-doctoral programmes, and ITGs through which a huge amount of funding is provided to our faculty members for their professional and academic endeavours," said Dr Nizamuddin.
Stressing on the role of teachers in human development, he said there were about 25 million out-of-school children in Pakistan and it was the people’s shared responsibility to address the issue. "If each teacher at a college or school takes the responsibility to bring 50 or 100 children in their community to schools, there would be no child left out of school in the country," he added.
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