On October 17, 2019, Syed Ahsan Ali and Syed Maratib Ali School of Education (SOE) hosted an EduSpeak session conducted by Baela Raza Jamil, CEO Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aghahi (ITA), on the topic ‘Research, Policy, Politics - Influencing Public Policy Through Effective Partnerships’. The session was moderated by Dr. Tahir Andrabi, Dean SOE, and was attended by SOE faculty and students.
Ms. Jamil is a public policy specialist and an activist at heart. She leads the citizens’ accountability learning initiative, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan, and is the founder of the Children’s and Teachers Literature Festival and Siyani Sahelian, a second chance programme for adolescent girls; both are nationwide scalable social movements. Ms. Jamil is engaged actively with provincial and federal governments; she served as a technical advisor in education sector reforms (2000-2004), policy, public private partnerships, innovations and financing. She is the managing trustee for the Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust.
Ms. Jamil is the Commissioner to the Education Commission chaired by the UN Global Envoy for Education-Sir Gordon Brown; she is a member of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK) Platform for Girls Education; Chair of the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning at the UNESCO Institute of Statistics; former Vice Chair of the Global Education Monitoring Report UNESCO, Adviser Global Business Coalition for Education; and of the People’s Action for Learning Network.
During the session, Ms. Jamil talked about the barriers to implementing education projects in Pakistan. She highlighted practices and policies in the government sector that need to be changed along with challenges that the education sector is facing in Pakistan including issues in enrolment, teaching and learning facilities, and accessibility. She also emphasised the importance of public sector and private sector partnerships and shared that all her projects have been executed successfully at various levels due to partnerships between the two sectors.
She also gave insight into the organisation ASER and its purpose, elaborating on how ASER collects data about children’s basic schooling, compares with the previous year’s data, interprets it and uses this data to impact policy decisions at the government level.
The discussion concluded with a Question and Answer session. To a question posed by an audience member regarding the importance of a child’s happiness, Ms. Jamil emphasised that the culture in schools needs an overhaul and a more comfortable environment for a child to feel safe. She referred to a quote by Professor Krishna Kumar that students enter a school laughing but forget how to laugh by the end of first year.
Dr. Andrabi applauded Baela Raza Jamil’s tremendous efforts in reshaping the education sector in Pakistan, and how it has resulted in producing education leaders. The session provided useful insight to MPhil students into various education projects initiated at different levels and how effective their implementation has been over the years.