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AIOU-JICA promotes educational program for out-of-school children

Islamabad: A week-long accelerated training program (ALP) was arranged for quality education to out-of-school children, through an alternative learning system was jointly organized by Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) under main title ‘providing the right to education through ALP’.

The concluding session of the training session was presided over by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Shahid Siddiqui, who reiterated the University’s commitment providing all possible support, strengthening drop-out girls’ education program.

The program was aimed at developing teaching and learning materials for out-of-school children, especially those who missed their early years of schooling or dropped out before completing the primary education cycle.

It was also aimed at providing Right to Education (RTE) through Accelerated Learning Program (ALP). The participants of the program were briefed about customization and development of teaching learning materials.

The initiative to this effect was carried out under the formal agreement between the AIOU and JICA in collaboration with other stakeholders including Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MOFEPT) and Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD).

The program was developed to offer an alternative and accelerated Non-Formal Basic Education programs for out-of-school children. The MOFEPT has already approved primary level equivalent ALP curriculum and the same is being used to develop the Teaching &Learning Materials (Textbooks, guides for teachers etc.).

This program is conducted on fast-track basis, offering primary education certificate in 32 months. It is equivalent to primary level education program of formal education.

Subject specialists, curriculum development experts and non-formal education experts from National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), National Curriculum Council (NCC), National Book Foundation (NBF) and AIOU are involved in customizing and developing the materials.

Addressing on the occasion, Dr. Shahid Siddiqui further said that the university is offering various educational programs to over 1.3 million learners mostly from rural areas through its 44 regional campuses operating across Pakistan.

The University is trying its best to reach out to the most marginalized and those excluded from the education system. He added that the AIOU’s work with JICA to develop ALP materials will certainly enable the AIOU and other education providers to maximize their outreach to include the excluded.

He appreciated Bureau of University Extension of Special Programs (BUESP), particularly its head Dr. Tanzila Nabeel and her team for taking the University’s agenda forward. He also appreciated JICA for initiating such a useful and much needed program.

Abid Gill, Deputy Chief Advisor, Advancing Quality Alternative Learning (AQAL) project of JICA, expressed his deep satisfaction over the progress and thanked Dr. Shahid Siddiqui for his all-out support in materializing the collaborative partnership between JICA and AIOU that aims to serve the 22.6 million out-of-school children in Pakistan.

The program will not only provide a second chance to those who missed their first chance of education or dropped out of the education system, but also provide them with continuing education options inside AIOU system and in other public and private formal school systems.

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