A two-member delegation from British High Commission Islamabad calls on the Sindh Minister for Education and Culture Syed Sardar Ali Shah at his office on Thursday to discuss the possible areas of cooperation.

They agreed in principle to work out the possibilities for further strengthening the different policy areas and policy procedures to promote better opportunities for the minority groups including transgenders and children with disabilities and to enhance the learning outcomes of students in government schools. The National Data and Research in Education program will offer training opportunities for officials of the education department for improved evidence-based policymaking.

The delegation led by the Education Advisor, Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), British High Commission Ms Freya Perry congratulated the Sindh Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah on the landmark achievement of recruiting around 50000 primary and secondary school teachers. She remarked that it will certainly fill the gap of teacher vacancies and thus further promote the educational standards of the province.

Freya Perry discussed in detail the six-point program of the British High Commission that contained the objectives of highlighting the learning outcomes of children, training officials of SELD especially on learning assessments and data, the possibility of a data evaluation by an independent third party, sensitive data handling by the officials through data protection guidance among other possible areas of the mutual cooperation.

The delegation appreciated the efforts of the Sindh government, especially the Minister of Education Syed Sardar Ali Shah for initializing the mainstreaming of the transgender community into the government education system. They expressed their encouragement with this remarkable step towards inclusion and further requested the Minister to apprise them about the future programs in this context. They also expressed the same sentiments for persons with disabilities and those from minority community groups.

The Minister of Education Syed Sardar Ali Shah appreciated the British delegation’s goodwill gestures and offers of all possible cooperation for improving quality education in the province. He appraised them about the recent landmark efforts made by his department. He said, “We have not only recruited 50000 teachers but also have revised the curriculum completely with a pluralistic and inclusive approach, and the new textbooks will soon be published”.

He said that the department is working in collaboration with UNICEF and the World Bank on the school-cluster program that would make it easier to monitor and administer the 45000 plus schools spread across the province. “Not only that, we have now launched the Sindh Education Management Information System (SEMIS) dashboard, which will help us take better decisions based on the real-time customized data of different indicators”, said the Minister.

The Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah presented them with books on the history of Sindh during British rule as recently published by the Sindh Culture Department. The delegation thanked the Minister for the precious gift of books.

Related: SELD launches Education Management Information System

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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