Moot stresses over foundational learning in country

ISLAMABAD-At two-day training workshop, the education experts on Thursday urged the authorities concerned the urgency for adopting a critical focus on foundational learning in Pakistan as a basic building block for equitable and lifelong learning.
They pointed highlighted these remarks to secure a National Consensus on Assessment of Foundational Learning in Pakistan for all children from early years up to grade 3.
MNA Mehnaz Akbar Aziz who is also convener Child Rights Caucus reminded all in no uncertain words: “today the Learning Crisis is a national calamity for child rights, it must be addressed as Pakistan’s primary challenge first and foremost as the responsibility of the State (all provinces and areas) and not be diluted as a provincial crisis only.”
Federal Secretary Waseem Ajmal reminded the experts, “we are committed to article 25 a of the constitution on right to education and SDG 4, we stand by our national and global commitmentsto define parameters of foundational learning that includes the spectrum of early years and lower primary grades up to grades 2/3 in the country (3-8 years) with an inclusive approach and respecting diversity of the child and the contexts.” Other than ASPIRE, the Ministry has initiated major reforms and action plans for ECE in 200 schools of ICT/ Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and for support to children with disabilities especially those suffering from dyslexia and ADHD.
Five government and non-government learning tools were reviewed by the experts with emergent criteria for sound assessments for millions of children of the country. The consensus concluded that “Foundational Learning in Pakistan must emerge as a movement and a high priority investment” of the Government of Pakistan, non-governmental organizations, CSOs and development partners.
All experts agreed to become active members of National Coalition for Foundational Learning and Assessment, inspired by similar successful experiments in Sobral, Brazil to work towards What Works and How, in making all children learning well in Pakistan by 2030.  
Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq reminded the gathering that whilst we adopt a holistic approach to Foundational learning in early and lower primary years, we must also ensure that we must be able to “assess it, diagnose it and cure it.” She spoke about the NCRC’s areas of focus including children in emergencies, child refugees with a focus on protection; both education and health are important areas for timely and caring services.
Dr. Maryam Chughtai, Director National Curriculum Council, Dr. Muhammad Shahid Soroya, Director General PIE, pledged full support to the movement as did government assessment bodies from Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, GB, KhyberPakhtunkhwa. Reprsentatives from the Sindh Education Foundation (SEF), Pakistan Bait ul Mal, The Citizens Foundation (TCF), Taleemabad, ITA/ASER, Tabadlab, Pakistan Alliance for Mathematics and Science (PAMs) provided critical inputs and voice committed to working as Coalition members for ensuring that Foundational Learning becomes a priority in the country. “We must work together on this vital area as one and not in silos forentitlements of quality learningfor our children.”
The consultation concluded with the adoption of the National Consensus document on Assessment of Foundational Learning in Pakistan to develop a common Assessment Tool for All children inclusively across the country by November 2023.
To implement the commitment made for addressing the Foundational Learning crisis at the Transforming Education Summit (TES) 2022 in UN, and accelerating the action, 50 experts assembled in Islamabad from across Pakistan. Technical support was provided by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), the Pakistan Institute of Education (PIE) and the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE).
The sessions were inspired by the Champions of Education and Child Rights in Pakistan. Ms. Mehnaz Akbar Aziz (MNA), Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Ministry, Convenor Parliamentary Caucus of Child Rights; Mr. Waseem Ajmal, Secretary Education, Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training (MoFE&PT); Ms. Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chairperson National Commission on the Rights of the Child (NCRC). Mr. Qaiser Alam, Chairperson, FBISE, Mr. Rahman Shah, Secretary Education GB, Dr. Mariam Chughtai, Director of National Curriculum Council (NCC), Mr. Sajjad Khan, Additional Sec. (Education) to the Chief Secretary/ Secretariat, Gilgit Baltistan, Mr. Pyaro Khan – Director, Directorate of Curriculum, Assessment & Research (DCAR) Jamshoro SELD, Govt of Sindh, Dr. Muhammad Shahid Soroya, DG Pakistan Institute of Education (PIE), Dr.Nasreen Bano Joint Education Adviser, MofE&PT and Baela Jamil, CEO ITA. Representatives from FCDO, UNICEF, VSO and JICA provided valuable inputs to the consultation.

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