Saturday, June 22

Sight savers and ITA Strives for Inclusion of Children with Sensory Impairments in Learning Process

Sight savers and ITA Strives for Inclusion of Children with Sensory Impairments in Learning ProcessIdara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and Sightsavers Host In-Country Dissemination Event for ICAN Pilot Project

Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, in collaboration with Sightsavers and PAL Network, proudly hosted the in-country dissemination event of the pilot project for Inclusive Guidelines of the International Common Assessment of Numeracy (ICAN) for children with sensory Impairment. The event took place at Ramada, Islamabad, marking the successful completion of the field trial pilots in Pakistan using the ICAN tool in 2023, which garnered the prestigious WISE Award.

Distinguished guests, including Mr. Mohyuddin Wani, Special Secretary, MoFE&PT, and Dr. Shahif Soroya, DG PIE, along with Zainab Iqbal, Education Specialist, FCDO and Noreen Hasan, Education Specialists at UNICEF, Izzah Farrakh from the World Bank, Sam Wilson, PD from MoFEPT, Greta Rollo from ASER, Abia Akram, CEO of the National Forum for Women with Disability, and key experts from the education and disability sectors in Pakistan graced the event.

The International Common Assessment for Numeracy (ICAN), available in 11 languages, is a collaborative effort by member countries under the PAL Network to provide a comparable, low-cost, and simple-to-use assessment for measuring foundational numeracy. Tailored to the realities of the Global South, ICAN is an accessible tool designed to measure and monitor progress on SDG 4.1.1 (a) and aligns with the Global Proficiency Framework.

Mr. Mohyuddin Wani, Special Secretary on behalf of the Federal Education Ministry, emphasized the need for all government institutions, including education, special education, EdTech, and reform units, to collaborate as a unified entity. He ensured his full support and suggested that they should collectively develop, test, and implement the recommendations and solutions of the ICAN assesment exercise. He ensured full support from Federal Directorate of Education.

During the event, ground-level stories were shared, shedding light on critical topics such as strengthening the application of existing action frameworks, shared priorities and challenges of the project, and sharing existing knowledge and good practices. These contributions aimed to highlight specific policy interventions on disability mainstreaming within Pakistan’s education sector, facilitating the scaling up of this transformative project.

Munnaza Gillani, Country Director of Sightsavers, has shared that children with hearing impairment enrolled in education, who participated in the ICAN piloting, tended to achieve lower scores compared to their visually impaired peers. This suggests that their schools are facing challenges in addressing the specific needs of these children, not only in terms of teaching numeracy but also in terms of teaching literacy and communication skills.
She also requested that institutes working for people with disabilities should include individuals with disabilities or organizations working for people with disabilities in the planning phase.

Baela Raza Jamil, CEO of ITA, concluded the event by stating that since 2014, ITA has collaborated with organizations as part of the Pakistan Literacy Project, including Room To Read. Deaf Reach has converted books into sign language, Sightsavers has transformed them into braille, and NBF has focused on dyslexia prepositions, preparing books for dyslexic children from Prep to Grade 8. However, there is a need for more child-friendly content, and efforts must be coordinated to generate it.

At the end, Itfaq Khaliq Khan, Senior Program Manager at Sightsavers, emphasized the call to action by stating, “It’s high time we invest in inclusive assessment to evaluate whether the efforts we are putting in are effectively improving learning levels or not.”

The event was a resounding success, attended by a large number of relevant stakeholders, including INGOs, NGOs, government institutes, and other participants who expressed their commitment to advancing the recommendations from the report.

Editor: Raja kamran