LAHORE  - The launch of five-year collaboration between the British Council and the Punjab School Education Department (PSED) took place on Tuesday at a local hotel in Lahore to commence a project called the Punjab Education and English Language Initiative (PEELI).

The project aims at achieving significant improvements in the ability of 300,000 primary and middle schoolteachers to use English and, where appropriate, deploy English language skills as part of its English Medium of Instruction (MoI) policy of the Punjab government.

The PEELI will focus on improving the ability of all primary teachers throughout Punjab to be able to teach English as a second language, improve the English language skills of subject specialist middle schoolteachers of English, Mathematics and Sciences (including Computer Sciences).

The five-year project will run from 2013 to 2018 in partnership with the Punjab Government Education agencies and a set of international stakeholders working in the broader education sector. It is expected that by 2018 the outputs of the project will be fully embedded in the teacher education framework of the Punjab Strategy for Teacher Education, as part of its wider Punjab School Education Sector Plan.

At the event the British Council PEELI project also released the data from their publication “Can English Medium Education Work in Pakistan: Lessons from the Punjab” which surveyed teachers and their skills in English which laid out the challenge before Punjab to create improvements in the classroom. An engaged panel discussion took place which debated the means by which the English Medium of Instruction policy could be achieved.

Chair of the British Council Sir Vernon Ellis said, “I look forward to PEELI doing excellent work and hope that it colours education in Punjab for the better, and extend my thanks to the Punjab government for taking this initiative to collaborate with the British Council to improve educational outcomes, something of crucial importance for Punjab, and Pakistan.”

Provincial Education Minister Rana Mashhood outlined the commitment of his government to education and explained numerous initiatives being taken to improve the education system and expressed his hope that the PEELI would contribute to the overall strategy of improving education in the province.