Three school education depts merged into one authority

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LAHORE: The Punjab government on 14 June 2024 established the Punjab Education, Curriculum, Training and Assessments Authority (PECTAA) after merger of three departments -Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB), Quaid-i Azam Academy for Educational Development (QAED) and Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) with a view to reform school education.

Earlier, the government had constituted a five-member committee to integrate the three departments working on curriculum development, teachers` training and assessment framework into one overarching body, states a Punjab School Education Department (SED) notification issued on April 26.

The SED special secretary has been made the convener of the committee while other members include the PCTB managing director, QAED director general and PEC chief executive officer.

According to another notification issued on June 11, available with Dawn, the decision was made in a meeting chaired by the chief minister on April 4, 2024 in order to improve teaching, learning and assessment grades. It states that a summary was initiated by Administrative Department whereby the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department advised to take necessary legal steps.

It also directed to procure/hire legal consultants to prepare the Act of PECTAA under the provisions of relevant rules/policy to proceed further in the matter.

A head of one of these three departments, on condition of anonymity, told Dawn the PCTB was a self-sustained autonomous body, responsible for formulation and implementation of curricula, development and approval of textbooks and supplementary reading material related to textbooks and production of textbooks.

`The PCTB would get service charges from the government to print books for schools and had a Rs3bn budget. The PEC is also an autonomous body, responsible for designing, development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of systems of examination up to elementary education while the QAED is responsible for pre-service and in-service teachers training.

He said the government planned to merge these departments in the name of improving the quality of education but it was hard to understand how it would help improve the quality. He revealed that the government had hired some consultant who devised this plan without taking these departments into confidence from these departments and it did not organise a single consultation.

The official expressed fear that the new move would be a huge risk to hundreds of employees of these departments and it would not help the government improve the quality of education.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 15th June 2024.
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