Quality education requires quality teachers. In the early days of KEF their Pearl Valley Public School (PVPS) was staffed by volunteer teachers from the UK, and they supported the development of local teachers as the school grew. Teacher education in Pakistan is still in its infancy, so to ensure the KEF schools had a supply of quality teachers, the Institute of Teacher Education (ITE) was set up. Initially it was in Rawalakot on the PVPS site, but as KEF activities expanded it moved nearer Rawalpindi to the complex at Basali sharing the site with Soan Valley Public School. ITE has imposing and well-equipped buildings, highly motivated and trained staff, and a ‘practice’ primary school on its doorstep where students can try out their newly honed skills. Traditionally teaching in Pakistan primary (and secondary) school relied on rote learning, and examinations tested student’s ability to recall, even if they did not understand what they wrote. The principal feature of the diploma course in Primary Education at ITE is that teaching is interactive, and that children are helped to understand their world. Of course using English as a medium of study is a barrier – for some youngsters it is their third language, and many of the students in ITE arrive with little experience of spoken English. So the aim of ITE is 3-fold:
Currently there is capacity for almost doubling the number of students at ITE but funding is always a problem for the young women from the villages. There is a great need for sponsors who can pay the fees for them. Without the income from sponsorship the students would have no tutors and no accommodation.