Regional conference on right to education begins

September 15, 2014 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi in collaboration 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) began a two-day regional conference on theme of’ Right to Education & Early Childhood Education and Development; Foundation for Quality Learning-Evidence from South Asia- in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan’ at a local hotel here on Tuesday. It will continue till 17th.

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 Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Senior Minister for Education. The conference was presided over by Fazalullah Pechuho, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Education and Literacy Sindh.

The conference was aimed at upgrading 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.

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 endeavour; 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. Fazalullah 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).”

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.

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