KARACHI: The solution to all our problems lies in the access to better education, for which we have to train our teachers first or else all efforts would go futile.
This was stated by the Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday at a ceremony organised to announce the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the Sindh education department and Durbeen, an NGO, to run Government Elementary College of Education (GECE), Hussainabad.
Durbeen also announced its partnership with University of Helsinki, Finland, to bring global best practices in teacher education to GECE.
The programme was attended by the Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah, Education Secretary Qazi Shahid Pervaiz, Durbeen Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Salma A Alam, International Business Development Manager of University of Helsinki, Finland, Minna Saade, Zindagi Trust President Shehzad Roy, the key donor of Durbeen and others.
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The CM said that the first and foremost hindrance for better education was teachers' absence from schools. The education department has designed a biometric system to ensure teachers attendance in the schools, he said and added, "When biometric system started functioning, most of the teachers, instead of attending schools and taking classes, chose to get early retirement."
He said that the government has more than 40,000 schools, "If we succeed running only ten schools successfully we would be able to produce enough students who would make their parents and the nation proud."
Shah said that the government schools being run by Zindagi Trust, Kiran Foundation in Lyari and Narayan Jagannath Vaidya (NJV) High School, being operated by an NGO, have proven to be very efficient and good schools. This showed that the PPP mode was the best mode to improve and revolutionise education with the management of private sector.
Shah said that the recruitment of policemen was being made purely on merit which was as much necessary as teachers' recruitment. "The government decided to make recruitments in the education department through third party but even then results were not encouraging," he said adding that hence he has decided to start best teachers' training through the private sector.
Shah said he was happy to hand over the management of GECE, Hussainabad to Durbeen - a partner of University of Helsinki, Finland. "In this way, we would be able to bring global practices in teachers' education to Sindh. We will make it necessary for every teacher to undergo a four-year B-Ed training programme designed by Helsinki University to be offered by Durbeen at GECE for in-service and fresh candidates."
The Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah said that there was a problem of ownership as government teachers and headmasters do not give ownership to their schools. Giving an example of Zindagi Trust schools, he said that their [school] buildings were government-constructed, their teaching and non-teaching staff were government-recruited and yet their schools are well-maintained and providing the best of education. He added, "This is because Shehzad Roy has given them ownership. We will have to do the same with our educational institutions."
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2019.