Islamabad (Adnan Hameed): The British Council hosted the School Leadership Excellence Awards in Multan, Islamabad and Peshawar to recognise the achievement of 423 outstanding Head teachers in Federal, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa towards enhancing leadership empowerment, promoting good governance, inclusive leadership and driving instructional excellence in their schools.

The events were attended by the Minister Elementary and Secondary Education Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Mr Faisal Khan Tarakai, Director General, Federal Directorate of Education – Mr Tanwir Ahmed, Education Secretary South Punjab – Dr. Ubaid Ullah, Director General Education, Overseas Pakistanis Foundation – Mr Mahesh Ahuja along with the British Council team.

James Hampson, Country Director of the British Council in Pakistan said: “Our Schools Connect Leadership programme for headteachers is specially designed to improve school governance and enhance quality, access, engagement, and learning. Our focus is on building capacity of headteachers so that they can play an efficient and effective role in creating a more inclusive and enabling environment for quality education in Pakistan. Congratulations to all the headteachers who participated in the training and earned the School Leadership Excellence Award.“

Faisal Khan Tarakai, Minister Elementary and Secondary Education Department, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said: “Our collaboration with the British Council has empowered some of our school heads with the skills needed to lead their schools towards excellence. This partnership underscores the importance of international connections in enriching our educational landscape, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”

Completing their professional development journeys around the national school head teacher Standard, leading and managing teaching and learning (instructional leadership), school leaders have shown real results in their schools and the communities they serve. Some have gone on to create school based projects on sensitive topics like mainstreaming transgender students which has sparked interest and conversations not only during panel discussions but among this wider thriving community of head teachers and communities.

The partnership between the British Council, Federal and provincial governments has enriched the educational landscape, inclusive leadership practice and inspired school heads to lead educational reform.

Despite many challenges, 131 head teachers from all seven Merged Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participated with 84% female head teachers. Head teachers developed instructional leadership knowledge and skills through school-based projects resulting in 39 award winners from Merged Districts.

The British Council Schools Connect programme is designed to bring about school system development and reform for quality and inclusion. It responds to demand from Pakistan for connection to UK expertise on key educational themes and facilitating these connections through policy dialogue, advocacy and technical assistance. Schools Connect supports inclusive and quality education for all learners, including for girls and marginalised children, and enhances the professional knowledge of school sector policy makers and leaders.

In collaboration with Education Ministries, the British Council has introduced Leadership Standards for Head Teachers. This is the first time such Standards have been introduced in Pakistan. A scoping study with Federal and provincial senior practitioners, educators and with UK expertise, recommended school leadership standards under a leadership competency framework. The British Council co-created Leadership Standards focusing on five key areas essential for effective school leadership. These standards empower headteachers to lead their schools into the future, lead and manage teaching and learning effectively, develop staff, organize schools efficiently, and lead meaningfully with their communities.

The Leadership Excellence Award ceremony celebrated the achievement of head teachers in collaboration with Federal, South Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government partners; Federal Directorate of Education, Secondary Education Department, Directorate of Professional Development of the Elementary and Secondary Education Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation. Out of 1,500 head teachers, 423 competed and won the prestigious award.

The British Council’s technical assistance is also aimed at empowering parent teacher councils in KP and schools councils in Punjab at the community level to address educational challenges and promote inclusivity. This comprehensive approach ensures better governance, community engagement, and support for girls education and marginalised students, ultimately creating a brighter future for all students in Pakistan.

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