Government of Sindh is introducing teaching licensing policy to take the teaching profession to the next level
The Sindh cabinet has approved a new teaching licensing policy aimed at attracting talented young people to the teaching profession and raising the status of the profession.
This groundbreaking reform aims to give the teaching profession the same rigor and respect as other skills-based professions, including medicine, accounting, law and engineering. New entrants to the field of education will be both required and encouraged to receive professional training before seeking employment.
Sindh Provincial Minister for Education, Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Syed Sardar Ali Shah shared his view, saying, “It has not been easy to devise and bring to life the education licensing policy. However, I am grateful to Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED), Sindh Teachers Education Development Authority (STEDA), Durbeen and all other partners who have worked tirelessly to make this policy possible. The success of the next generation of teachers and students ultimately depends on a smooth implementation.”
He further added, “Sindh is the only province to have adopted a teaching licensing policy, which represents a proactive approach to recognizing the value and importance of effective teaching. With the policies pursued, the government of Sindh has laid the foundations for a more robust and professional teaching workforce, which will have a positive and lasting impact on the education landscape in the province.”
The Sindh government has already taken the first step in rolling out the new policy. 700 new vacancies have been created for primary school teachers (eligible to teach grades 1-8) across Sindh at BPS-16. Previously, Junior Elementary School Teachers (JEST) were initiated at BPS-14 and required to graduate in every field. These new 700 job openings are offered only to graduates of the B.Ed. training who have also passed the licensing exam.
A growing body of research clearly shows the value of effective teachers. Econometric research over the past decade shows that effective teachers can learn three times more in one academic year than ineffective teachers.
As we know, a good teacher can transform a mediocre curriculum into a very rich learning experience. This strongly argues that education reform should focus on improving the quality and support of teachers. Teacher licenses are one way to do this.
The teaching license sets a minimum standard for new entrants, which will raise the status of the teaching profession in the public perception. This has been seen in several other professions both in Pakistan and worldwide. In the short term, improved public perception justifies raising teacher salaries. In the long run, it helps to attract talented young people to the profession.
The policy preparation was preceded by a year-long research and consultation led by AKU-IED, resulting in a white paper jointly launched in June 2022 by AKU-IED, STEDA and Durbeen. Pakistani universities, school boards, teachers, teacher unions, parents and students. Scholars from several other institutions, including Ziauddin University, contributed to policy writing.
Under the new policy, Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) graduates can now apply for a licensing exam. This license exam tests both substantive knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. After passing the exam, they are awarded teaching licenses in one of three categories: elementary (grades 1-8), primary (grades 1-5), and secondary (grades 6-12).
Existing, full-time, government educators can choose to continue their jobs as per the status quo, or, if they meet the requirements of the policy, choose to apply for the licensing exam and advance their promotions. Contract teachers in government schools who meet the requirements can expedite regularization through the licensing process.
This reform occupies a unique position in the history of education in Pakistan. Most of the reforms have been created and funded by donor agency regulations. They have seen mixed results and generally die out once donor support ends. In comparison, this teacher licensing policy was initiated by the Sindh government and developed in consultation with Pakistani academia, teachers, unions and other stakeholders.
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