Updated draft by MAK-C 8th Jan 2012
Kashmir Education Foundation (KEF)
Promoting 21st Century Best Quality Education in Kashmir and Pakistan for generations to come
COLLEGE OF TEACHER EDUCATION (CTE)
Basali complex situated near Rawat off GT Road in Village Pakhowal
It is an established fact that teachers form the core of any educational system and are a vital force that can positively influence young minds. Standards of learning and levels of educational achievement are therefore inevitably linked to the ability and competence of those who are responsible for supporting all learners to achieve their potential and for the more able to aspire beyond their potential. Quality education that KEF is committed to cannot be delivered without teachers who are personally motivated, who have a wide range of pedagogical skills to develop child centred learning environments with a focus on interactive teaching methodology to promote advanced cognitive performance. KEF made a conscious decision to invest in establishing and developing our own College of Teacher Education (initially established as a Teachers Training programme, developed into Institute of Teacher Education- ITE and recently progressed into CTE) in order to take the best available teachers and support them towards becoming outstanding teachers using the most effective research orientated continuous professional development techniques.
During the year 2000 KEF decided to send teachers from Pearl Valley Public School (PVPS), our first ‘pilot’ school in Rawalakot, to Ali Institute of Education in Lahore for training. We monitored the impact of this training and the findings of our review indicated that the progress was unsatisfactory. After serious consideration of professional advice and exploring available options the Board of Trustees took a brave and important decision to set up our own Institute of Teacher Education within the premises of PVPS. KEF UK provided the requisite academic and professional support through leading international expert educationists and experienced teacher trainers from reputable institutions including University of Gloucestershire and Office for Standards in Education (OfSTED). The curriculum content and the strategic approaches towards raising standards were based on a school centred – ‘on the job’ – training and mentoring support and it was decided to closely monitor progress led by highly competent professional volunteers from VSO (UK) and Australian Volunteers International. This process resulted in producing some locally trained Advanced level school based Master Teachers (AMT). The most able AMTs through their own personal and professional development have become KEF’s Master trainers at CTE.
The first three ITE Post Graduate programmes of 11/2 Year were conducted between 2001 and 2005 at Rawalakot, AJ&K. Teacher effectiveness was transformed and the entire educational environment at PVPS went through an exciting reform. ITE invited many other schools from within Rawalakot District to take advantage of the opportunities and work collaboratively with PVPS based AMTs and the impact on an increasing number of teachers from neighbouring schools soon become the measure of ‘quality’ amongst the private English medium schools. Slowly but surely ITE provision together with PVPS raised parental aspirations within the district and made educators aware that there is a lot more to being a teacher than they previously envisaged and that ‘learning about learning’ and ‘applying their own learning to future learning’ are very important aspects of ‘teaching to learn and teaching to learn’
A large number of female ITE ‘trained’ teachers have since opened their own schools to provide quality education in their respective rural and some remote areas and in other NGO schools – having a ripple effect on an increasing number of children and their families in their thousands. They have all been through a collaborative and participative professional development programme at CTE and are carrying in their hearts and minds the following message and a much clearer understanding of what is involved in helping and supporting children in their learning – that great teachers focus on learning as opposed to teaching; set high expectations for all students; have clear well-thought-out child centric objectives; are prepared and organized; engage their students in defining their approach to learning and get them to look at resolving issues in a variety of ways; form strong relationships with their students and show that they care about them as people; master their subject matter confidently; communicate frequently with parents; listen actively to their students before deciding when to concentrate on learning to teach and when on teaching to learn. At CTE we ensure that teachers take ownership for their own personal growth and professional development and become thinking and reflective ‘leaders who do not just see learning in terms of what is being taught (LBT), but know that learning is individual sense-making (LIS) and that learning at its most effective level is building knowledge as part of doing things with others (LBKO)
The successful outcomes encouraged the Board of Trustees in 2003 to make these opportunities offered by ‘ITE’ available to a wider range of beneficiaries in other rural areas. Search began for a ‘central’ location where this facility could be extended to teachers with potential in rural areas (from across the whole country) and offer the ‘in service’ professional development programmes. In 2005 the new purpose built Institute of Teacher Education (ITE) was thus constructed as part of the second KEF initiative at Basali. The Pakhowal Campus near Basali includes the Soan Valley Public School (SVPS) as an essential part of the schools centred resource and facility for ‘teaching practice’ and a model child centred and activity based learning environment. The Ministry of Women Development provided partial funding towards the establishment of this project and KEF UK made a substantial contribution towards its construction. Fortunately, ITE was able to attract a constant supply of overseas experienced and professionally qualified consultants and ‘teacher trainers’ who continued to make a valuable contribution in maintaining standards. ITE successfully ‘trained’ a large number of mostly female teachers including those from interior Balochistan and Sindh, Mianwali, Hafizabad, Rewalakot and other places whilst making a significant impact on in-house capacity building and long term sustainability.
CTE has its own hostel accommodation for 48 trainees and regularly conducts a number of short courses and workshops to raise education standards particularly in private and Government schools around Rawalpindi and adjoining areas. CTE is also asked to prepare, plan and provide bespoke professional development programmes by NGOs and other like minded educational organisations. This service is provided at a negotiated rate with mutual benefits and is recognised by the KEF Board of Trustees as part of an ambitious educational reform within Pakistan and AJ&K which could have a radical impact on improving the quality and standards of the educational services provision in the country. ITE, in association with the University of Gloucestershire UK and the prestigious Bahria University in Islamabad developed award bearing B Ed, Diploma and Certificated courses. These accredited professional courses are validated and have allowed CTE (KEF) to create the structural framework of its overall quality assured educational programme based on the UK standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in association with the University of Gloucestershire. Bahria University and the professionalism of our own highly qualified and experienced faculty of Master Trainers have collaborated in enhancing the quality of provision even further to develop the only English medium B Ed programme of its kind in Pakistan which is underpinned with essential aspects of localisation and the culture specific socio-economic context within which education of the future for the future must be located for sustainability. All CTE programmes promote an approach to professional development which takes into account the latest research findings on how children learn and how best to empower learners through:-
Relating new information to prior knowledge,
Being strategic and thinking proactively
Engaging in self-regulation and being reflective,
Restructuring prior knowledge,
Aiming towards understanding rather than memorization,
Helping students in their learning to transfer,
Taking time to reflect, ponder and think about the process of learning,
Recognize developmental and individual differences,
Creating motivated learners,
Learn to learn
At KEF we continue to aspire for excellence in all our projects.