On Friday, September 20, 2019, the Syed Ahsan Ali and Syed Maratib Ali School of Education (SOE) at LUMS conducted its first ever Practicum Meeting for the MPhil Education Leadership and Management (ELM) class of 2020. The session was attended by SOE faculty, SOE MPhil students, Mr. Shahid Hussain, Member, LUMS Management Committee, Mr. Osman Khalid Waheed, Member, LUMS Management Committee, Dr. Alnoor Bhimani, Dean, Suleman Dawood School of Business, and representatives of Practicum organisations.
This event was part of a series of trainings and rigorous coursework that has been conducted with MPhil students at the School in order to prepare them for the Practicum, a semester-long residency where students are placed at educational organisations to conduct research, based on their specific interests, as well as look at particular challenges that the organisation is facing. For this purpose, SOE has collaborated with various educational organisations, including private school systems, government organisations, and NGOs. These include Beaconhouse School System, Akhuwat Foundation, Syedanwala Secondary School, Programme Implementation and Monitoring Unit (PMIU), Punjab Education Foundation, Punjab Examination Commission, Teach the World, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, Maktab, The Citizens Foundation, Progressive Education Network, and Teach for Pakistan.
Each organisation has been assigned up to three students who will be working with them over the course of the last semester of their MPhil programme. These selections have been done by the SOE faculty keeping in mind the students’ professional interests. In preparation for this immersive field intervention, all MPhil students have taken a mandatory course in practicum planning and development, supervised by a faculty mentor.
This course builds on previous courses in educational theory and methods, leadership and management and a variety of special topics that students have studied as electives, including sustainable development, inclusive education, and education technology. This course and the practicum itself also builds upon the analytical and reflective skills that students would have gained through the school-based field engagement component of the programme.
The event began with the students having an introductory meeting with representatives from their assigned practicum organisations under the supervision of their respective faculty lead. This provided an opportunity for the students to discuss the complexities and scope of the project.
On their expectations from the upcoming collaboration, Dr. Lawrence Burke, Chief Education Advisor, Beaconhouse Group, said, “It is a unique opportunity to link the public and private education sectors through the work the MPhil candidates undertake in schools within the Beaconhouse Group, and schools in the public education sector. Our vision of the partnership is that the theoretical and practical approaches to education embodied in the programme, including the research undertaken in the practicum, will contribute to more effective educational planning and policy implementation in both the private and public education sectors in Pakistan.”
Following these meetings, a plenary was conducted by Dr. Tahir Andrabi, Dean SOE, where he emphasised on the pivotal role the practicum will have on paving the way for the MPhil graduates to not only secure a career in education, but also to make a positive impact on Pakistan’s education sector. He said, “What is really constraining the spread of quality education in Pakistan is the capability and the capacity of the educational resources. People need to understand the nuances in education and the problems being faced in Pakistan, and have the ability to lead and manage this change. SOE’S ELM programme is designed particularly to meet this challenge.”
The event concluded with the venue buzzing with activity, as the students shared their initial ideas and research, and were met with mutual excitement by the organisations and faculty.