The Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) launched its newest academic offering – a 1.5 year Bachelor of Education (BEd) programme while commemorating UNESCO’s sixth International Day of Education 2024.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Education is to promote inclusive and quality education for all. Faced with the daunting tasks in the country’s educational landscape fraught with discrepancies in educational standards, gender inequality in access to education, inadequate school facilities, and insufficient number of qualified teachers, the new programme seeks to address these challenges by offering capacity development of aspiring teachers and those in the early years of their teaching career.
Articulating the aims of the new programme, Professor Farid Panjwani, Dean of AKU-IED, noted that it seeks ‘to make a significant educational impact by enhancing teacher status, increasing employability in both public and private sectors, providing international opportunities, and elevating the overall quality of teaching and learning.’ He observed that the ‘programme is more than an individual academic pursuit; it is envisioned to serve as a model of excellence in teacher development, contributing not only to the advancement of education in Pakistan but also beyond its borders.’
One of the distinguishing features of the B.Ed. programme is its flexibility, allowing individuals currently working either full-time or part-time to study for the degree. The inclusion of practicums, where student teachers (STs) will be placed in various schools, is a vital aspect of the journey.
The new programme is underpinned by the same commitment to access to quality education, as all other AKU programmes are.
Associate Professor Kim Insley from Institute of Education University College London (IoE), UK, remarked, “AKU-IED is embarking on developing a programme designed to empower teachers in schools to solve their own challenges in the classroom; to be critically thinking and reflective practitioners.”
The launch of this programme comes in response to concerning statistics in the education landscape, including poor student learning outcomes, the crucial role of quality teaching, and a lack of formal training for a significant percentage of schoolteachers in the country.
With a renewed commitment from governments towards teacher quality, as evidenced by policies like the teaching license policy in 2023 in Sindh, AKU-IED’s BEd programme seeks to address these challenges head-on.