The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Pakistan Reading Project, held a closing ceremony for a 4-day workshop aimed at developing regional and provincial Reading Improvement Strategies (RIS) to improve students ability to learn to read across Pakistan. Each participating provincial group developed its own framework for their province to improve reading instruction and students’ reading abilities. Each province will finalize these strategies with the respective governments and then make it part of the official education strategy. Pakistan has developed a National Reading Framework, which includes reading instructional time, reading curriculum, and language of instruction, teacher training and continuous professional support for teachers, textbook and other supplementary reading materials, and reading assessment Reading assessment
The Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, Mr. Baligh ur Rehman and USAID Education Director Dr. Christopher Steel, participated as key note speakers in the inauguration ceremony of the workshop; Mr. Muhammad Rafique Tahir, Joint Education Advisor, from the Ministry of Federal Education and USAID Basic Education Team Leader Jaime Oberlander spoke at the closing ceremony. Participants of the workshop include key officials and technical leads from the provincial governments of AJ&K, Balochistan, FATA, GB, ICT, KP, and Sindh. All participants worked with the national framework to develop RIS for their own provinces and regions.
At the opening ceremony, Dr. Steel highlighted “While we’re working in many different areas to support and promote reading in the early grades in the country, there is no denying the fact that long term sustainability – and therefore long term impact and results – are only possible when changes, policies and systems supporting reading are made at the institutional level.”
On the closing ceremony, USAID Basic Education Team Leader Jaime Oberlander said “The challenges face in the education sector today cannot be addressed in isolation. These challenges require a holistic approach.” She further added, “The RIS development process was consultative and addressed the voices and concerns, the suggestions and solutions from all the experts working in the field. I hope, the strategies developed and presented in the workshop will be owned by each and every stakeholder and endorsed by your respective education departments.”
The USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project is a $165 million project, designed to support provincial and regional departments of education improve the reading skills of primary school children across the country. This program is designed to utilize three interrelated components to affect the quality of early education: improved classroom learning environment for reading, improved policies and systems for reading, and community based support for reading in Pakistan.