Thursday 03 December 2015

Significant reforms aimed at improving one of the biggest public education systems in the world will commence in early 2016, thanks to a new Memorandum of Understanding [MoU] signed today between the Government of the Punjab in Pakistan, and the British Council.

In the presence of a formal delegation led by the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif, The Minister of Education for Punjab, Rana Mashood Ahmad Khan signed the MoU on a visit to the British Council’s offices in London this week. The British Council has committed to greatly expand its existing Punjab Education and English Language Initiative (PEELI) with the overall aim of bringing world-class education to Punjab’s school system. 

The British Council has been working with the Government of Punjab to reform and improve their in-service teacher education provision with the PEELI programme launched in 2013. Having successfully delivered almost 17,000 training days a year to approximately 5,000 Pakistani teachers and teacher educators, the programme will now be expanded from 2016 with the aim of delivering one million training days over the next three years, with 200,000 participants attending face-to-face training each year. This will contribute to improving the education of millions of Pakistani children.

Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, is home to over half of the country’s 180 million people. It has almost 11 million school children taught by over 300,000 teachers in about 50,000 schools.  In 2009 the Government of Punjab extended the use of English as the medium of instruction in mathematics and science in all Punjab’s public schools. However, there was a great shortage of qualified teachers both in terms of subject and the ability to teach their subject in English. 

Sir Ciarán Devane, the British Council’s Chief Executive said, “Locally, in Pakistan, the British Council has some six decades of hands-on experience and globally we are recognised as leaders and experts in education and English language. The success of PEELI is due to the synergy of these two factors, as well as our excellent relationship with the Government of Punjab. We are delighted to build on our successes so far and enter into a new and more ambitious phase of our efforts to support the development of education in Punjab. We believe that this is key to a more prosperous and secure future the peoples of both of our countries”.

Abdul Jabbar Shaheen, The Secretary for Schools in Punjab, added “The British Council has long been a valued friend and ally to us in our efforts to bring world-class education to Punjab and we welcome this new phase in our partnership.”

The Minister of Education also signed two further MoUs describing the intention of the Government of Punjab and the British Council to collaborate in order to bring benefits to the Punjab Examinations Commission (for school exams and student assessment), and the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board in order to address the need for stronger system-wide alignment.  

The broad aims of these MOUs – which are likely to provide opportunities for the wider UK sector - are to:

1. Commission and/or conduct a review and needs analysis of PEC / PCTB and make recommendations relating to how these needs can be addressed;

2. Enhance the institutional capacity of PEC / PCTB to contribute to the achievement of the Chief Minister’s ambition for quality education in government schools in Punjab;

3. Establish systems to increase the integration and strengthen the collaboration between PEC / PCTB and other governmental bodies including those responsible for teacher development, curricula and textbooks, examinations and assessment in order to put in place the system-wide alignment necessary to maximise the effectiveness of the Chief Minister’s ambition; and

4. Embed sustainable and effective policies and procedures that reflect international best practice.


Notes to Editor

For More Information please contact Tim Sowula, Senior Press Officer, British Council, on 0207 389 4871 or 

About PEELI [Punjab Education and English Language Initiative]

PEELI specifically aims 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

This approach accords with British Council Pakistan’s strategy of:

• Imagining the Future- by using ground breaking research and thought leadership to add value to policymaking and democratisation around the use of English in the School Education Department.

• Preparing for the Future- by enabling teachers to develop their skills to deliver world class levels of teaching.

• Shaping the Future- by ensuring that PEELI INSETT, CPD and certification systems are embedded in government education policy.

• Scale- by achieving a step-change in the transformation of the use of English in schools in Punjab.

PEELI’s reach between March 2014 and November 2015:

Direct reach: 298 courses delivered by PEELI Training Consultants in 33 of Punjab’s 36 districts to 8,177 participants (teachers, teacher educators & educational leaders) for a collective total of 37,970 training days

Indirect reach: we made 60% of these participants our “agents of change”; we trained them to train, mentor or support other teachers, taking our total reach to an estimated 117,356 teachers, who teach approximately 4.1 million children.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. 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 8,000 staff – including 2,000 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.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 20 per cent of our turnover which last year was £864 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.