Tuesday 12 November 2013

Report reveals 94% of teachers lack minimum standards for provision of quality English medium education

A British Council initiative is to help improve English medium education in Pakistan after a report released today (12 November) revealed the current situation is a ‘cause for serious concern’.

Despite a number of advancements to the country’s education system since a shift to English instruction in mathematics and science four years ago, the testing of 2008 primary and middle school teachers in Punjab highlights that appropriate language skills are still lacking.

According to the report from the British Council’s Punjab Education and English Language Initiative (PEELI), at present 94% of teachers do not meet the minimum standards necessary to deliver quality English medium education with a majority of teachers not agreeing with the English medium policy having come into force at all.

However, in its commitment to ensure all school children in Punjab are enrolled in high quality English language teaching by 2018, PEELI is committed to working with the School Education Department of the Government of Punjab to improve the situation and has used the findings to make a series of recommendations to this effect.

The recommendations include the certification of teachers as an incentive for them to advance their skills and facilitating consultations between teachers and policy makers to make the case for English medium education and to listen and respond to concerns.

With other key findings in the study highlighting that all teachers are highly motivated to improve their skills and that younger teachers have higher levels of English than older ones, it is foreseen that things are starting to positively progress. The research also indicates that the support from PEELI is seen as providing teachers with the resources they need to be able to better their ability to deliver quality English medium education.

Richard Wyers, Director Punjab at the British Council said, “This report shows that the British Council’s PEELI project is absolutely invaluable in providing much-needed support to teachers of English medium education in Pakistan. We are committed to continuing to work with the School Education Department of the Government of Punjab to improve the situation for both teachers and learners and ensure that English medium education is of the highest possible quality.

“This research is invaluable in providing a solid foundation for taking this forward and we will continue to do our best to empower and enable teachers across Pakistan to deploy English language skills in the classroom using the latest teaching techniques.”

A full copy of the report entitled ‘Can English Medium Education Work in Pakistan? Lessons from Punjab’ is available to download.

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact Kristen McNicoll in the British Council Press Office on +44 (0)207 389 4967 or kristen.mcnicoll@britishcouncil.org

Punjab Education and English Language Initiative (PEELI)

The Punjab Education & English Language Initiative (PEELI) will assist the School Education Department (SED) of the Government of Punjab (GoP) in Pakistan to achieve significant and structural improvements in the ability of 300,000 Primary (Grades 1-5) and Middle school (Grades 6-8) teachers to use English and, where appropriate, deploy English language skills as part of its English Medium of Instruction (MoI) policy. The project will run from 2013-2018 (5 years) in close partnership with GoP Education agencies and a set of international stakeholders working in the broader Education sector. It is expected that by 2018 the outputs of the project will be fully embedded in the teacher education framework of the Punjab Strategy for Teacher Education, as part of its wider Punjab School Education Sector Plan. Specifically the proposal is to

  • improve the ability of all Primary teachers to be able to teach English as a foreign language.
  • improve the English language skills of subject specialist Middle school teachers of English, Maths and Sciences (including Computer Sciences).
  • Improve the classrooms teaching skills of Middle school subject specialists in English, Maths and Sciences to be able to teach through the medium of English.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.

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