Challenge, Response and Learnings from Other Contexts

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Challenge, Response and Learnings from Other Contexts
Background Note


Background Note
Situation Analysis
• Only 14% primary schools have at least one teacher for each grade in Punjab.
• 94% of primary schools having less than six teachers are in rural settings.
• The common practice for clubbing greades involves seating together Grades 2&3 and Grade 4&5.
• The required instructional time for each grade is compromised by at least 50% in a multigrade setting.
• Teachers divide instructional time between different grades while exact time allocated to each grade remains fluid. In some cases, the lower grade receives more time than the higher grade.
• Teachers, in general, feel concerned that multigrade teaching does allow them to fully impart grade-specific competencies to the students.

Background and Context
Children across the globe are taught in classroom settings that accommodate students of different ages and are enrolled in more than one grade. Multigrade teaching and learning is generally considered a rural, developing world and resource-constrained system’s phenomenon. However, evidence and learning from several education systems in the world shows that such practices are common in developed countries as well where lack of resources is not a huge challenge. It is acknowledged that multigrade teaching is prevalent in rural areas in general and in some cases adopted as a choice rather than a necessity.
Pakistan also faces a major multigrade challenge where a significant number of students are taught in multigrade settings. One thing that differentiates our approach from the rest of the world is that the multigrade challenge is not recognized and addressed at the policy level. And here lies the major problem. The curriculum is not designed for multigrade instruction, teaching and learning resources are neither adapted for such practices, and the teachers are not provided adequate training and tools to deal with such settings.
The Punjab province of Pakistan is no different from the rest of the country as more than three-quarters of the primary schools do not have one teacher per grade, i.e., less than six teachers per school. Nevertheless, the Punjab government has recognized that multigrade teaching and learning, without adequate support mechanisms in place, brings disadvantage to the students being taught in these schools. Therefore, in line with the international, national, and provincial commitments on inclusive education and ensuring equity in education, Government of the Punjab has planned to develop a multigrade teaching and learning policy for the province.

Objectives of the Webinar
The process of multigrade teaching and learning policy development is multifaceted. On one hand, a comprehensive review of literature and experiences from other contexts are probed. To contextualize the multigrade challenge and the proposed solutions, a technical working group has also been formed to deliberate upon various contours of the policy, and the implementation plan and modalities. The Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS), under the Punjab Education Sector Programme (PESPII), is providing technical support to the School Education Department, Government of the Punjab, for developing the multigrade teaching and learning policy for Punjab.
In this context, a webinar has been organized jointly by the School Education Department, Government of the Punjab, Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), and I-SAPS to discuss and deliberate upon the multigrade challenge in Punjab and gathering expert opinions around addressing the challenge. This webinar will help us in developing a policy that is robust, conforms to the localized needs of our education system, and aims at promoting equity in education in the province.
Mr. Ghulam Farid, Secretary School Education Department, Government of the Punjab, will be the guest of honour for this webinar. We are also honoured to have Dr. Angela Little with us as the keynote speaker, a well-known and recognized expert on multigrade teaching and learning diagnosis and design across the globe. The expert panel for the webinar will comprise eminent experts and practitioners having an apt understanding of the multigrade challenge in Punjab and have worked on various initiatives to improve the teaching and learning processes in Pakistan and abroad. The panel includes Ms. Saima Anwer (FCDO), Ms. Umbreen Arif (Federal Education Ministry), Dr. Irfan Muzaffar (KESP), Mr. Riaz Kamlani (TCF), and Mr. Bilal Ahmad (I-SAPS PESP-II). Mr. Ehtisham Adil (I-SAPS) will present a diagnosis of the multigrade challenge in Punjab while Mr. Abdullah Alam (I-SAPS) will host the webinar.
Time and Venue
The webinar will take place on Tuesday, 13th April 2021 from 2.30 pm till 4.30 pm Pakistan Time. It will be held over Zoom. The link to the webinar is here.
Registration and Queries
For registration and queries, kindly reach out to us at [email protected] or by dialling +92 (0)51 111 739 739.

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Challenge, Response and Learnings from Other Contexts