The Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) celebrated World Teachers’ Day with a focus on UNESCO’s theme- ‘The teachers we need for the education we want: The global imperative to reverse the teacher shortage.’
The event included a panel discussion featuring experts from the field of education including: Dr Faisal Bari, Dean, School of Education, Lahore University of Management Sciences; Dr Ghazala Siddiqui, Founder and Principal, Generation’s School; and Mr Afaq Ahmed, Lecturer, Government Elementary College for Education and Alumnus, Aga Khan University, moderated by Professor Farid Panjwani, Dean, AKU-IED.
In a message addressed to teachers on this special occasion, Dr Sulaiman Shahabuddin, President AKU, recognised their invaluable contributions and reaffirmed AKU’s commitment to building the capacity of teachers with the aim of supporting the development of a high-quality education system in Pakistan. He stated,
“Through its teacher education programmes and professional development initiatives, AKU-IED is actively engaged in preparing and empowering teachers who have the potential to create a substantial positive impact in the lives of their students. To further this commitment, we, along with our partners, are training 1,000 education fellows for government schools in GB, with the goal of improving the education system in the region and addressing the shortage of quality school teachers.”
The panelists focused on the causes and consequences of the teacher shortage, as well as potential solutions to the problem.
“A major rethinking is required in terms of educational policy. A commission needs to be formed which should provide policy guidelines for the next 5-10 years and its recommendations should be ratified by political stakeholders for continuity of this policy.” said Dr Bari. They also highlighted the importance of quality teachers in ensuring quality education for all children. Pakistan has a shortage of over 1 million teachers and the shortage of teachers is particularly acute in rural areas and in subjects such as science and mathematics.
“Teachers are at the heart of education recovery. Policymakers in public and private sectors need to address the impending challenges in the education sector through a holistic approach. Investment in developing skilled educational professionals for the digital age and remodeling educational policy viz-a-viz out-of-school children is the need of the hour,” said Professor Panjwani.
Dr Siddiqui highlighted that the teacher shortage is a global problem, and Pakistan is no exception. “We need to do more to attract and retain qualified teachers, and to invest in their professional development.”
The celebration also included a musical performance and an ode to teachers, by the AKU-IED student body.