Quality and Relevance in Education

7.1. Quality Education

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Quality education has been neglected for many years. Recently there has been an increased awareness of its importance by the Department of Secondary Education and the sector plan considers it essential to a sustainable impact of education on socio-economic change. Determinants of quality education for the purpose of the sector plan consist of curriculum, textbooks, teachers, assessments and school environment. School language issues have been added to this section as the approach to language use for education plays a critical role in outcomes for quality and relevance.

7.1.1. Key Findings

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Quality has been at the periphery of education reforms in the past and neither the education managers nor teachers understand quality beyond knowledge transfer regurgitated through rote (see Box 7.1). All key quality inputs i.e teaching, examinations and textbooks induce rote learning at the cost of cognitive development. Results from the National Education Assessment System (NEAS) tests, conducted in 2008, reveal low learning achievements for students from Balochistan. The par score of 500 has been exceeded only in social studies.

Learning Outcomes PEACE 2008

Causes of the weak quality include a low priority accorded to it, poor teaching and learning processes, a paucity of education experts able to comprehend and support development of quality inducing processes and finally the lack of ability in the community to comprehend education quality issues: an absence of demand.

The current education programmes (degrees and certificates) do not provide an understanding of key areas like curriculum, textbooks, assessments and education planning. This limits the ability of ‘education professionals’ in the province.

A disconnect exists across the quality related organisations. The Directorate of Schools responsible for service delivery has, over the years, not taken ownership of quality inputs like the textbooks, teacher training, assessments and curriculum. Similarly these externally

Box 7.1 : Role Learning in Schools

determined processes have no or little feedback, from the field to gauge the realities of the classroom.

A critical failure has been the inability to differentiate clearly between the learning needs of children at various levels like primary, middle, secondary etc. and a language policy that has impeded, rather than facilitated, the learning process.

Another study on quality has been ASER which calculates skills for children at primary level. Its results are depicted in Table 7.1. This also reveals low reading and mathematical abilities.

7.1.2. Strategic Objective(s)

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The BESP targets improvement of quality of education for all students through improvements in the ability of the key quality factors and making it a priority area in education service delivery. The main strategic objective is to:

“Improve the teaching-learning process in the classroom to shift from rote learning to development of higher order thinking”.

7.1.3. Goal(s)

The goal is to improve student learning outcomes at all levels by 5% by 2017
The indicators earmarked for gauging quality of education at school level include both direct and proxy indicators. The most direct indicator of student learning outcome can only be determined through a baseline assessment conducted by PEACE for the current year. The survival rate functions as a proxy indicator for quality as it depicts system efficiency along with drop out and repetition rates. The latter have been added to the governance and management component. The indicator at present only represents the public sector schools under the provincial Department of Education. This may be revised as BEMIS begins to collect and include data from other schools also.

7.1.3. Strategies

Improvement in quality is envisaged to emerge from the following strategies:
1. Make quality a factor in system accountability through developing standards and measurable benchmarks for quality related inputs, processes and outputs.

2. Develop separate but linked approaches to teaching and learning for primary, middle and secondary education.

3. Capacity development of education managers and professionals, including teachers, examiners, curriculum and textbook developers, to understand quality and improve delivery.

4. Create a learner and teacher friendly school environment.

5. Prepare a school language policy conducive to learning.

7.2. Curriculum

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Curriculum development has been devolved to the provincial government after the 18th constitutional amendment in 2010. It had remained an exclusively federal subject since 1976. As the provincial education department has not had any experience in curriculum review and development, beyond the minimal involvement in federally managed review processes, the government has decided to adopt Curriculum 2006 prepared by the erstwhile Ministry of Education.

7.2.1. Current Situation

Capacity to prepare a curriculum does not exist in the province at present as only under the recently passed 18th amendment the mandate has been returned to provincial governments after 1976. In view of the capacity vacuum the provincial government has decided to adopt the last curriculum prepared by the Federal government in 2006.

Curriculum implementation over the years has been limited to preparation of textbooks only. Most teachers, other professionals including examiners, parents and education managers have never seen a curriculum document. Therefore teaching and assessment remain dependent on the textbook alone. Also no feedback mechanism exists to assess the gaps between actual, taught and learned curriculum.

7.2.2. Strategic Objectives

The BESP touches two facets of the domain. First is the development of a Curriculum Implementation Framework (CIF) to increase the possibilities of achievement of the objectives of the curriculum. The second is development of a process (and capacity) for review of the curriculum. The former is based on a more immediate need while the latter may not be required till the next curriculum review becomes due. The following strategic objectives have been targeted by the BESP:

1. Effective implementation of curriculum 2006 to ensure maximum possible achievement of the objectives of the curriculum.

2. Capacity development of the education department and related organisations to implement the curriculum and monitor the implementation process.

3. Development of provincial capacity to review the curriculum.

7.2.3. Strategies

1. Prepare and implement a comprehensive Curriculum Implementation Framework

The sector plan recommends a complete ‘Curriculum Implementation Framework’ (CIF). It also calls for assessment (and strengthening) of the current capacity of the Bureau of Curriculum as the organization responsible for future curriculum reviews and the central body for CIF. The curriculum will be implemented in coordination with the BISE, BTBB, PITE, DOS and DOC.

CIF consists of the following components:
a)	Dissemination of the curriculum
b)	In service teacher training
c)	Pre-service teacher training
d)	Assessments
e)	Textbooks
f)	Feedback mechanism for future review of curriculum 

2. Capacity assessment of CIF related organisations and preparation and implementation of a capacity development plan

Organisations involved in CIF will need to review their current capacity to enable effective implementation of the CIF. The BOC, in addition to capacity for CIF, will also need development of capacity for future review of the curriculum.
3. Provincial capacity development for curriculum
The first task will be to identify capacity needs for curriculum review and assess the current situation in the province. It will be critical to develop a standardized review process. These procedures will have to be transparent and include feedback from teachers and students. The latter will result from the CIF process. In fact an effective CIF will assist in improvements in the curriculum in subsequent reviews. The key steps will be:

1.	Identification and assessment of capacity needs
2.	Preparation of a capacity development (CD) plan
3.	Implementation of the CD plan 

Capacity for curriculum review and implementation will have to be enhanced at two levels; firstly the capacity of the BOC to undertake the task and secondly to ensure sustained development of expertise in curricula and also an increase in its understanding within the education sector. The pre-service teacher education programmes will have to teach courses on curriculum. To fill in the gaps in their faculties institutions may borrow external resources including practitioners from the Department of education.

7.3.

Textbooks

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Balochistan textbook board has been responsible for development of provincial textbooks since its inception in 1977. Until the 18th Amendment to the Constitution the federal government had the responsibility for final approval to textbooks for reading in schools. The function has now been devolved to the provincial government. The current reforms provide an opportunity to demarcate the processes for review and approval, to be undertaken respectively by the BTBB and BOC, as distinct functions that require separate terms of reference, while (more critically) improve the quality of textbooks themselves.

7.3.1. Current Situation

Textbooks fail to invoke the child’s interest as most are written in a dull narrative and have low learning value as per the stakeholders’ feedback. At the primary level the local context is missing and often the language transcends realistic assumptions about the child’s age. In higher classes right up to the intermediate the conceptual explanations are weak and topics in science and mathematics are not covered in required level of detail. All this induces rote learning.

The Consultations in the situation analysis narrowed to issues of absence of standards for textbooks and the flawed processes for their development as causes for the poor quality textbooks. As with most qualitative inputs, standards for textbooks have never been developed beyond rudimentary input based issues like paper quality etc. At present no feedback mechanism exists to ensure quality and relevance to the child’s level. The current process of textbook development, review and approval will have to be revised and standardized. Balochistan has adapted the Textbook Policy 2007 to outsource publishing to the private sector but it has so far been unable to implement it due to resistance from the publishers as well as reluctance of the textbook board. As implementation of the Policy is linked to Curriculum 2006 the latter also remains unimplemented.

7.3.2. Strategic Objective(s)

Fundamental changes in the textbook development and review processes are required. Three main strategic objectives for preparing quality textbooks are:

1. Prepare quality textbooks that cater to learning needs of the students and assist in their cognitive development and conceptual understanding.

2. Enhancement of provincial capacity to develop quality textbooks.

7.3.3. Strategies

1. Prepare standards for textbooks at the inputs, process and outputs levels

The sector plan recommends a standardized review process coordinated by the Balochistan Textbook Board that includes officials from the Directorates of school and colleges and any expert co-opted by the BTBB. In addition to the work of the core review committee the process should include feedback from teachers and field-testing. The committee should also develop standards for personnel involved in review and approval of textbooks and most critically a set of parameters to determine the quality of the textbooks. The standards must clearly demarcate, and cater to, the learning needs of students at each level. This means increased local context at the primary level and improved explanation and presentation of concepts in senior classes.

The BTBB, in consultation with BOC, will have to develop standards for textbook preparation that include feedback from the field. Also once books are developed an ongoing feedback mechanism will be required to improve subsequent editions of the textbooks. The roles and responsibilities of BOC and BTBB will also be reviewed as the governance and management of textbook development has undergone a transition due to three major changes: the 18th Constitutional Amendment, Curriculum 2006 and the textbooks policy of 2007. The provincial government under the Balochistan Action Plan 2011 has already approved adaptation of the last two documents mentioned.

As the standards development process will require a long period, interim standards should be developed to fast track Phase I of the implementation of Curriculum 2006.

2. Adaption and implementation of Textbooks Policy 2007 for competitive publishing through the private sector

The role of the BTBB in development of textbooks (also review) will have to be re-defined in the light of the National Textbooks Policy 2007.The Policy shifted the textbook development process from the textbook boards to private sector publishers. Khyberpakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh have already developed some textbooks under the process. Balochistan has been the only province without a book approved under the policy or prepared as per Curriculum 2006. The policy will need to be reviewed, as some sections are relevant to a federal dispensation, and be adapted to provincial requirements.

Preparation of textbooks under the policy will require the Board to function as a regulator and not a direct developer as in the past. The private publishers, through a competitive bidding process, will develop textbooks

3. Prepare textbooks under the SLO based Curriculum 2006

BESP recommends preparation of textbooks on Curriculum 2006 as per the processes developed within the parameters of National Textbooks Policy 2007 (as adapted for Balochistan). These books will be prepared in three phases spanning 2012 to 2017. As final standards on textbooks cannot be developed before end of 2013 the plan recommends development of intermediate standards to be used for books to be developed in Phase I only.

4. Capacity review and enhancement of the Balochistan Textbook Board

The sector plan calls for capacity review of the BTBB in the light of the requirements of the new policy and reforms recommended in BESP. It also includes the private publishers in the textbooks reforms process as part of the problem has been the limited publishing capacity of the private sector in the province. Therefore capacity development envisaged by the BESP for the sub-sector will include not only the Textbook Board that will undertake the role of a regulator, but also the private sector and the BOC. Similar to curriculum the expertise on textbooks will also have to be developed in pre-service teacher education.

5. Capacity review and enhancement of the private sector publishers

Finally capacity of the current set of authors, illustrators and editors also needs to be raised. This will be undertaken as part of the capacity development process of the BTBB and the private publishers. Similar to curriculum, courses on textbooks must be taught in pre-service teacher education programmes to ensure a sustained supply of quality textbook professionals and improved comprehension of textbooks by teachers.

7.4.

In Service Teacher Training

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Provincial Institute of Teachers Education and BOC & EC undertake in-service teacher education in the province. Over the years donors, as per the requirements of individual projects, have funded these trainings.

7.4.1. Current Situation

The sporadic and piecemeal approach to teacher training has been undertaken without assessment and documentation of the impact of the interventions in improved teaching and learning in the classroom. No benchmark (beyond limited project specific ones) has ever been developed. Additionally quality of the programmes has been marred by non-transparent selection of trainees and a failure to maintain a database for the trainings and hence professional development of the teaching force has mostly not been documented.

An overall continuous professional development process, based on a holistic and ongoing assessment of the needs of the teachers and students, has never been established.

Capacity of PITE and BOC&EC has also been contentious areas. Most trainers in PITE, responsible for training primary teachers, have no formal training on the process and have not been selected for aptitude or ability. Similarly the BOC&EC personnel have no backgrounds in teacher training.

The Directorate of Schools, similar to other quality inputs, has no ownership of the in service teacher education despite being the employer of the teaching workforce. All trainings are supply driven. Often disputes arise over selection of teachers for a programme between the training organisations and the DOS.

7.4.2. Strategic Objective(s)

The sector plan recommends a shift to a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme from the current discrete trainings system through sporadic donor interventions.

1. Create a system of continuous professional development to ensure all teachers receive ongoing periodic training.

2. Develop an ongoing feedback mechanism as well as benchmarks for evaluation.

3. Develop formal coordination mechanisms between the PITE and the Directorate of Schools to ensure transparent selection of teachers, realistic needs assessment and feedback on impact in the classroom.

4. Enhance provincial capacity to develop, implement and review quality in service teacher training

7.4.3. Strategies

1. Develop a Continuous Professional Development programme through adaptation of the practices in other provinces

A detailed process and programme should be designed after reviewing various models including the extant CPD processes in other province. However, provincial adaptation will be required as the demographic and developmental situation in Balochistan varies from the rest of the country.

2. Conduct a teachers’ baseline study as a benchmark for evaluating impact of the CPD.

In service teacher education programme cannot develop absolute benchmarks as it is handicapped by the competency levels of the current set of teachers graduating from non-standardised, mostly low quality, pre-service teacher education programmes. The starting point will be assessment of the set of capacities of the current teacher benchmarked against requirements of Curriculum 2006. Based on the teachers’ competencies study PITE will develop a continuous professional development programme. A detailed cascade model taking training down to school clusters will be developed. Modules/trainings in the programme will focus on shift to curriculum based teaching as against the current textbook focused approach. As a starting support teachers’ guides will be prepared by PITE on Curriculum 2006 and distributed to teachers after imparting adequate training on use of the guides.

Periodic review based on student learning outcomes and teacher competencies will provide ongoing feedback. The latter will be used more in the medium term of 5 to 8 years. In the long run students’ learning outcomes may be used as the sole indicator of teacher competency.

3. Create a CPD management committee to oversee its implementation

The committee must not be limited to the PITE and must include Director DOS, Focal Person PPIU and officers from BOC and the Secretariat. The committee will oversee implementation of CPD and advise on related policy issues.

4. Develop a database of teachers and participation in the CPD trainings

An important cause of low impact of teacher training has been the phenomenon of the ‘usual suspects’ wherein the same set teachers with support of teachers’ associations are selected for all trainings. To overcome this phenomenon PITE will have to develop a database on teachers and trainings with the assistance of BEMIS.

5. Capacity review and development of PITE

Institutionally BOC will pull out of teacher training and PITE will be the only organization responsible for professional development of in service teachers. In fact it will have to be responsible for development of other educational professionals as well. The transition will require capacity development of PITE in view the increased need and a shift from the traditional project based training approach.

7.5.

Pre-Service Teacher Training

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Pre-service education is arguably the weakest link in the efforts to provide quality education. The traditional certificates and degrees fail to match international standards (or even meet local needs) in duration, content, delivery and consequently the quality of graduating teachers remains poor.

7.5.1. Current Situation

Both the public and the private sectors provide pre-service teacher education. Low quality prevails across both sectors. Firstly the certification (PTC and CT in 9 months) currently, and traditionally, taught at these institutions are inadequate to prepare a quality teacher. Weak faculty and, in the case of private sector, malpractices like cheating in examinations further erode the final quality. The programmes have very basic courses on pedagogy and some training but a well rounded view on education is missing. Resultantly teachers qualifying from the programmes have very little, if any, idea of curriculum, textbooks, assessments etc. or even an understanding of the child’s learning needs. Even the 2 year B.Ed programme suffers from these deficits. The new policy on 4 year programme, supported by the 2 year Associate Diploma in Education (ADE), being introduced with the assistance of the Pre-Step Project promises improvements. The ADE is the basic course of two years, which can be connected into B.Ed degree on completion of 4 years of education. A huge challenge in terms of quality improvements and scale may appear, as and, when implementation of Article 25A begins. The current capacity may not be able to provide the requisite numbers.

7.5.2. Strategic Objectives

1. A transition to a pre-service education programme that produces quality teachers with a well rounded comprehension of the various aspects of education including assessments, curriculum, textbooks, planning , ECE etc.

2. Enhancement of capacity to develop, manage and implement pre-service programmes

7.5.3. Strategies

1. Adapt the current HEC developed curriculum for the 4 year programme to be implemented in 2 select colleges

During the consultations with working groups it was agreed that one girls and one boys college for teacher education will be selected for introduction of the new curriculum and will be scaled up later.

2. Phase out PTC, CT and the 2 year B.Ed

Balochistan will have to phase out PTC, CT and 2 year B.Ed in a stipulated time frame. This would include stoppage of these programmes after 5 years and encouragement of the current set of teachers to improve their qualifications by either appearing for the new ADE or the 4 year B.Ed programme.

3. Develop standards for pre-service teacher education

In recent years the Pre-Step project funded by the USAID has developed pre-service teacher education standards in Pakistan. These standards focus on outputs of the pre-service teacher education, as well as the processes. Presently the Pre-step project is working with the Bureau of Curriculum and Extension Centre and the Policy Planning and Implementation Unit (PPIU) to implement these standards in Balochistan. Pre-step envisages a four year B.Ed programme with the two years Associate Diploma in Education as a possible midway certificate. It also calls for accreditation of pre-service education institutions.

The Sector Plan has not developed separate recommendations for the area. Based on the work of the pre-step project and the recommendations of the National Education Policy 2009 the BESP recommends phase wise transition to ADE and 4 year B.Ed programmes.

The accreditation process recommended should also apply to private sector institutions and degrees of institutions that fail to meet standards should not be recognized for the purposes of teaching in the government sector in the short run and private schools in the long run.

4. Strengthen the regulatory mechanism for private sector institutions

Given the increasing share of private sector pre-service institutions it is imperative that they produce quality graduates. A regulatory mechanism to enforce the standards (current and those to be developed later) be applied to the private sector as well.

5. Enhance Capacity of BOC and Elementary Colleges

The BOC will need to oversee the government run colleges of education under its administrative control from an academic perspective also in close collaboration with the Higher Education Commission. The Bureau should also be the regulator of standards in private institutions.

The biggest challenge will be faculty development as most of the current teachers in pre-service institutions have neither the training nor the motivation to perform. To improve the quality of professionals engaged in pre-service teacher education, BESP recommends a faculty development programme and a career structure. At present no career structure or incentives exist for the faculty members of pre-service education.

Assessment

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Provision for three categories of assessment exists in the education sector: internal, external and diagnostic. Teachers conduct internal assessments within schools, the Directorate of Schools and the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) conduct external examinations at the primary and secondary (and higher secondary) levels and the Provincial Education Assessment Centre (PEACE) has the mandate for system wide diagnostic assessments.

7.6.1. Current Situation

The routine assessment systems (BISE, DOS and internal assessments in schools) lack standards and are criticized for inducing rote learning in the classrooms. Neither the teachers in the classroom nor examiners employed by the BISE receive training in developing assessment tools. They have normally no access to curriculum and the exams are based purely on the textbooks. Cheating in public examinations has been identified as, the second, and more debilitating perversion of the assessment system. Endemic across the province and societal divides the problem needs reforms that include all sections of government and society. Another area of assessment is the diagnostic assessments under the Provincial Education Assessment Centre (PEACE), which has become redundant as the last assessment was conducted in 2008 and now no funds are available to undertake the function. Secondly no demand exists for use of the analysis generated into systemic improvements.

7.6.2. Strategic Objectives

Examinations are the single most critical influence on the teaching-learning process in the classroom. The sector plan aims at changing the current approach and improve the quality of assessments at both the school level the external examinations conducted by the Directorate of Schools and the BISE.

1.	Improve the quality of examination at all levels to shift away from testing of memory
    to assessment of critical analytical ability.
2.	Shift to curriculum based examinations from textbooks based ones. 
3.	Ensure credibility of public examinations at all levels.
4.	Enhance provincial capacity to develop and conduct quality examinations. 
5.	Develop provincial capacity to conduct diagnostic assessments to support decisions on 
    systemic improvements.
	

7.6.3. Strategies

1. Train current set of teachers on assessments based on curriculum under the CPD process

In school assessments can be improved through interventions in the CPD conducted by PITE. These must not only be targeted at teachers but also head teachers as the latter’s role will be critical in ensuring the change.

2. Training on assessment in the pre-service teacher education programme

Similar to other specialized areas assessments are neglected in the current pre-service teacher education. The revised pre-service structure should include courses on assessments. As expertise in the area is extremely limited professionals will have to be employed as visiting faculty.

3. Standards for assessments developed at input, process and output levels

Both schools and the BISE will have to transit to standardised assessments, that test not only content and memory, but also higher order thinking. This will require interventions in pre-service and in-service teacher training as well as standardization of examination processes of the BISE.

Similar to other quality areas the BESP calls for standards to be developed for examination papers, supervision and examiners.

4. Eradication of cheating in examinations through social awareness

The BESP includes strategies and plans for encountering the problem of cheating through improvement and standardization of the examination system as well as creating societal awareness on the seriousness of the problem.

5. Enhance capacity of BISE to conduct quality examinations

The purpose, as in teaching and textbooks, is to transit from the current rote inducing textbook based examinations to an assessment system that tests critical thinking and is based on curriculum. It specifically recommends training and certification of examiners. The BISE (and PITE) will have to review its current capacity and approach to make the shift.

Similar to BISE the public examinations conducted by DOS will also have to transit to curriculum based assessments that test critical analytical ability and not just memory. The sector plan recommends a separate education body, Balochistan Examination Commission, under the administrative control of DOS for the purpose.

6. Revival of the function of PEACE through capacity development and financial allocations

Finally the diagnostic assessment by PEACE should be revived as it would provide an important feedback on BESP implementation in terms of quality improvements in students’ learning.

7.7.

School Environment

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The sector plan covers physical infrastructure, (basic facilities, additional learning options of libraries and laboratories) and the social environment of the school.

7.7.1. Current Situation

The findings in the situation analysis narrowed to five key factors: learner unfriendly school construction, missing facilities, low availability and usage of libraries and laboratories, hierarchical and coercive school culture with high incidence of corporal punishment and erosion of co-curricular activities from school programmes.

Missing facilities include water, electricity, toilets and boundary walls. The current calculations of missing facilities are based on the definition used in the questionnaire administered by BEMIS. About 55% of the primary schools are single teacher schools, 26% have no rooms (34% for girls) and 11% have only a single room. Also 14% are 2 room schools. Teachers have not been trained in multi-grade teaching as all inputs assume a ‘normal’ school. This impedes the teaching learning process in the classroom.

In middle and secondary schools libraries remain unused and laboratories dysfunctional. The importance of both in learning cannot be overestimated. Head teachers and teachers must encourage (and ensure) library use by students.

Laboratories’ functionality depends on technical personnel as well as replenishment of consumables. There are no separate funds for the latter and limited availability of the former.

Social settings in schools replicate the hierarchical nature of social and family life in the community. Coercive approach to discipline discourages questions and corporal punishment is often used. The resultant fear invoked in the children compromises their ability to learn, damages their personality development and creates risks of possible sexual abuse. The last mentioned often remains unreported due to social pressures.

Over the years co-curricular activities including sports have receded from most schools.

7.7.2. Strategic Objective(s)

Importance of the school environment in learning processes has been lowered in priority over the years. Resultantly it has become a factor in lowering interest of the children in education, reducing quality and increasing drop outs.

Develop a child and learning friendly school environment, as per local socio-cultural norms, both physically and socially to make learning an interesting and comfortable experience. .

7.7.3. Strategies:

1.	Child friendly school designs should be developed in consultations with educationists
	for all future constructions. 
2.	Awareness campaign within community and educationists on the impacts of corporal punishment
	and other forms of child abuse with the aim to mobilize local community against the practices.
3.	Missing facilities replenishment plan should be developed to fill in the current gaps over the
	next 3 years.
4.	A plan to minimise the impact of multi-grade schools through minimising their numbers and 
	training teachers on multi-grade teaching through PITE.
5.	Functional laboratories should be provided in all secondary schools that include funds for 
	replenishment and technical expertise. 
6.	Library usage should be increased and current set of books reviewed to upgrade as per 
	curricular and age needs.
7.	Teacher training components should include a component on friendly classroom and shift in
	attitudes towards corporal punishment.
8.	Revival of co-curricular activities in the province in terms of sports competitions, debates etc.

1. Child Friendly School Designs

A learners’ needs approach is required, wherein the school design and facilities should envisage child friendliness and not bureaucratic convenience. The Sector Plan recommends a review of the current school design in consultation with teachers, head teachers and district officials of the department of education as per local needs across the various climatic zones in the province .

2. Awareness campaign against corporal punishment

The Sector Plan recognizes the endemic nature of these attitudes and the difficulties of transforming the approach through punitive measures alone. Therefore recommendations to change the school culture have focused mostly on awareness and attitudinal change. The plan also recommends inclusion of modules on child friendly classrooms in CPD.

3. Missing facilities replenishment plan

The Sector Plan recommends a review of the definition and scope of facilities in schools and also for the government to develop a plan for replenishment of missing facilities as per the current assessment by BEMIS.

4. Minimise impact of multi-grade teaching through teacher training and material development

Multi-grade teaching has been targeted in two ways:

i.	Reduce the number of single room and two room primary schools
ii.	Training of teachers on multi-grade environment and preparation 
	of learning material suited to multi-grade teaching.
	

While the former has been addressed in greater detail under access and equity the latter requires PITE and the BTBB to develop specialised packages for multi-grade teaching.

5. Functional laboratories

The sector plan recommends enhancement of both the human and financial capacity of schools to ensure functionality of laboratories. Head teachers and teachers must encourage (and ensure) library use by students.

6. Library usage should be increased

The sector plan recommends enhancement of both the human and financial capacity of schools to ensure functionality of libraries. Head teachers and teachers must encourage (and ensure) library use by students.

7. Teacher training components should include a component on friendly classroom and shift in attitudes towards corporal punishment.

Given the autonomy of the teacher in the classroom the change has to be first made within the teacher through both in service and pre-service training programmes.

8. Revival of co-curricular activities in the province in terms of sports competitions, debates etc.

The Directorate of Education should develop a separate wing for revival of co-curricular activities throughout the process and district officials should ensure compliance.

7.8.

Relevance

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The concept of relevance of school education in the province (like the rest of the country) has been limited to (hard) technical and vocational skills. All programmes initiated under the concept have been practically shelved. The BESP considers relevance as a critical factor in all quality related inputs designed above as it is not simply a function of hard technical skills but also the softer skills like communication. Language education also impacts relevance and has been discussed in detail in section 8.9.

7.8.1. Current Situation

At present no record of careers of drop outs or graduates of the system exist as a feedback and therefore the outcome of the efforts remains undocumented even if known to be poor through anecdotal evidence. Relevance to the market is not determined in a systemic manner during preparation of courses (especially at the secondary levels). Traditionally the education policy makers have focused on English language, (as the conduit to white collar jobs and social mobility), and technical skills. While the approach of English language enhancement has the right idea it does not follow a process that assists a student in developing either cognitive ability or English language skills. This is discussed in greater detail in section 8.9.
Technical skills programmes introduced in schools usually have not been based on market needs and have mostly failed due to lack of funds and expertise to sustain them. The process of curriculum and textbook development and also overall education policy does not include a mechanism to receive feedback from the market.

7.8.2. Strategic Objectives

The system needs to be responsive to the market needs, especially, as students enter middle and secondary schools. The following strategic objectives will be pursued by the BESP in the domain of relevance:

1.	Systemic ability to gauge outcomes of education for students
2.	Ensure market feedback impacts education policy and curriculum development.
3.	Improve educational outcomes for students in terms of employability. 

7.8.3. Strategies

The first task to be undertaken is a ‘tracer study’ to document outcomes of school education for individual students. Secondly the business and employer community should be included in development of key inputs like curriculum, textbooks and assessments.

1.	Undertake a ‘tracer study’ to document outcomes of education of the graduates
	and drop outs of the system
2.	Ensure a continuous feedback mechanism on outcomes of education for future 
	policy development.
3.	Include officials from key employers, both government and private sector, in development
	of the curriculum, textbooks and assessments standards.

7.9. Language and Education

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Multilingual Balochistan has not been able to develop a language policy for school education that caters to needs of quality and relevance. Urdu and English have been used with the exception of three years when the province adopted the mother tongue for primary schools.

The problem lies in the manner in which language policies have been made in the past. These have been based on unrealistic assumptions about student learning processes, learners’ need and teachers’ competency in public schools. Objectives in the curricula have been set independently for each language and a policy for the whole set of languages based on educational, social, political, cultural and economic ramifications has never been developed.

7.9.1. Current Situation

English language proficiency helps acquisition of the best white-collar jobs and social mobility. As a language of the elite it has a role in defining a social hierarchy, especially, in urban settings. Over the years Pakistan has had debates about moving completely to Urdu or to English to remove the divide: neither has worked and the cleavage has deepened. The National Education Policy 2009 recognises the importance of English in a world that continues to globalize by introducing it as a compulsory subject from grade 1 but also calls for a more realistic school language policy based on research.

The second language of education in the country, and the province, has been Urdu. Effectively a lingua franca in Pakistan, and also multilingual Balochistan, the importance of Urdu as a language of communication cannot be overestimated. Again the language cannot be treated as the mother tongue or even a familiar language for learning for most inhabitants of the province.

The policy imposed across the country fails to accommodate the early years of children from different communities, most of whom have a monolingual environment.

Most graduates of the secondary and higher secondary levels have proficiency in neither of the two languages taught at the school level: English and Urdu. This is partially due to weak cognitive development in the absence of mother tongue as the medium of instruction in the early years. Other important factors include poor teaching capacity and unrealistic courses at senior level which have a heavy emphasis on classic literature than language. Practically even students in 9th grade can learn English only as a second language. They are not prepared for the literature heavy courses. The same is true of Urdu also, though to a lesser extent in urban areas.

Capacity to teach languages is also poor. This is, especially, true of the mother tongue and the English language. Any policy to introduce a different language set will have to address capacity issues.

7.9.2. Strategic Objectives:

BESP views three purposes for language policies in schools:
1.	Development of a school language(s) policy that balances the following
a.	Cognitive development of the child, especially, in early years. 
b.	Relevance to social and economic life. 
c.	Strengthening and development of local cultures.
2.	Strengthen capacity to teach all languages, especially, the mother tongue(s)

7.9.3. Strategies

The Sector Plan considers all three language sets (English, Urdu and the mother tongue) as per the needs of children at primary, middle, secondary and higher secondary within the local endowments of settings in which children live and grow. At the primary level the foremost consideration is cognitive development and use of the best language for the purpose. Second (and third languages) should be introduced at later stages. The policy details may vary as per the needs of different parts of the province. At the primary level the most familiar language provides the best medium of education. In most cases, especially, in monolingual societies, the mother tongue provides this medium and it must be introduced after due preparation.

English and Urdu introduced at later stages can follow a separate curricular course as compared to children who begin the language in early stages. Basic standards should be defined for each level and the final year (year 12) for all children. Rationalization of school language will require many years. The sector plan does not prescribe a transition process but recommends a more detailed study for a school language policy. In the short run two policies must be introduced. Firstly optional mother tongue courses must be encouraged at middle and secondary levels. Secondly the current literature heavy secondary and higher secondary courses in English and Urdu must be replaced with language courses that cater to the needs of the students. The following strategies are recommended to cater to both the long term and immediate needs:

1.	Conduct a school language study to help prepare an improved policy
2.	Pending the results of the language study encourage adoption of optional 
	courses in local languages
3.	Revise language courses at secondary and higher secondary levels to shift 
	away from literature heavy content
4.	Set up an academy of Provincial languages

1. School Language Study

The study should explore the state of languages in the province to evaluate in detail the current situation of language teaching, and language (Balochi, Brahvi and Pashtu) to adopt as the mother tongue for each region, the current state of preparedness to introduce mother tongue(s) and finally approaches to prepare the system to teach them. It must also evaluate options for introduction of second and third languages in terms of grade at which each must be introduced and the degree of proficiency required in each at the end of schooling.

2. Optional Courses in local languages

The sector plan recommends encouragement of optional courses in local languages at the middle and secondary level. Relevant departments of languages of the University of Balochistan should be involved to support strengthening of the school education sector’s ability to promote local mother tongues. The plan also recommends setting up of an ‘Academy of Languages in Balochistan’ to further support the process.

3. Review language courses at secondary and higher secondary levels

For grades 9-12 the sector plan calls for a change from the literature heavy English and Urdu courses to functional English and Urdu as per the requirements in the world of work, higher education and communication within society. The present set of courses are based on, unrealistic, assumptions. Practically the most suitable course would be to teach English as a second language at this level for a few years before the language situation can be rectified. Curriculum 2006 provides an opportunity to shift to language based courses for these grades and new syllabi should be based on the objective of teaching English and Urdu as language courses and without heavy literature content.

4. An ‘Academy for Languages in Balochistan’

The academy should be set up with the assistance of the University of Balochistan to promote learning of local mother tongues and also support development of capacity of the education department to introduce them at the earliest.

7.10.

Early Learning Focus

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Consistent with the overall emphasis on quality the sector plan specifically calls for a focus on early learning in terms of reading ability and numeracy. The purpose to develop an early learning base in the formative years of the child. This would require specialised teacher training and testing ability.

7.10.1. Strategic Objective(s)

1. Target early cognitive development through a focus on numeracy and literacy in early classes

7.10.2. Strategies:

1. Conduct a baseline survey for children from grades 1 to 3 to determine the literacy and numeracy skills.

2. Develop a strategy focusing teacher training and periodic testing to improve the literacy and numeracy skills.

7.11.

Pre-Primary Early Childhood Education

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The BESP has a three pronged purpose in the ECE area: increasing acceptance of the concept within the education sector, institutionalization of ECE policy framework for sustainability and expansion of ECE beyond the current small number of schools. It also links child health and nutrition to the ECE framework.

7.11.1. Current Situation

Most schools in the province have the traditional ‘Kachi’ class as the pre-primary education outlet. These classes do not follow a prescribed curriculum nor are norms of the modern ECE applied in these institutions. The Federal Ministry of Education prepared the first ECE curriculum in 2003. It has not taken root in Balochistan as only a small number of schools initiated pre-primary ECE (called Releasing Confidence and Creativity (RCC) based on the national curriculum, with the assistance of USAID-Agha Khan Foundation (AKF) and later the support was continued with the assistance of Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Phase-III. The current enrolment in these programmes remains very low. A few private schools also follow the more modern ECE teaching practices. Two critical flaws exist in the structures. Firstly there is no clarity on (and acceptance of) ECE concepts among most education managers, head teachers and community. Secondly flowing from the first cause schools have no capacity to undertake pre-primary ECE classes.

7.11.2. Strategic Objective(s)

In line with the above the Sector Plan recommends preparing a policy framework for ECE, educating society and education managers on benefits of ECE as a foundation for quality education. The framework includes a mechanism for monitoring implementation and a process of ongoing research for improvements. The main objective is to “Institutionalise ECE teaching into all primary schools in the public sector”.

7.11.3. Strategies

1.	Prepare a policy framework for ECE
2.	Increase awareness among educational planners and implementers 
3.	Phase wise expansion of ECE
1. Prepare a policy framework for ECE

In order to institutionalise ECE in the province it is imperative that a policy framework for introduction of ECE in the province may be developed. This framework will provide a road map for universalisation of ECE in all the primary, primary sections of middle and high schools in a phased manner. It will also include the private sector educational institutions most of whom are already catering pre-school education in one or the other way. The private educational institutions will however be encouraged to use the National Curriculum.

2. Increase awareness among educational planners and implementers

ECE is a new concept in the education system of the province. The teachers, head teachers, education managers and the communities are not fully aware of the importance and need of ECE in Quality Education. ECE is also not covered by Article 25A of the Constitution. Therefore, apparently it is not on the priority list of the educational planners and implementers. In order to register the collaboration of the stakeholders, it is proposed that an advocacy drive to establish the importance of ECE.

3. Phase wise expansion of ECE in the public sector

The introduction and expansion of ECE will require the following interventions:

a. Separate teachers for ECE class will be recruited and in order to ensure competent teachers ECE will be included in the pre-service training program and the existing teachers who are assigned ECE will require training in the ECE concept and practices.

b. ECE class needs separate classroom with configuration required for the dynamics of ECE learning practices

c. An ECE teacher cannot meet the physical and learning needs of young children. She will be provided assistance of an Ayah who will be imparted training in supporting the teacher.



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