University of Tasmania
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Design-based research to inform the creation of an early childhood education framework for Pakistan

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posted on 2023-05-28, 01:04 authored by Khan, MA
Evidence from research suggests that early childhood education (ECE) programs can create a robust base for success in life (Karoly & Levaux, 1998; Nores & Barnett, 2010; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], 2016). To ensure young children receive good quality education, several countries across the world have created ECE frameworks responsive to their socio-cultural contexts, sensitive to their ideological needs and appropriate to the development of their young children. These frameworks are based on contemporary ideas and best classroom practices. A local ECE framework better serves the needs of children, families and the nation. Importation and imposition of an education model which does not match cultural, contextual, social and educational values, needs, identities and dynamics of the host country can create hurdles for children. This importation model can also create challenges for teachers, parents and schools. Thus, when an imported ECE approach was implemented in the context of Pakistan in the past, it created challenges for several stakeholders. Currently, the education system in Pakistan largely follows a didactic approach to teaching and learning. This didactic approach encourages rote memorisation rather than developing conceptual understanding and children's holistic development. ECE in Pakistan is based on traditional approaches to education which promote the teacher's authority and students' dependency. For a more holistic approach to the development of young children, Pakistan was in dire need of an ECE framework based on contemporary ideas and evidence from research, responsive to its cultural dynamics and sensitive to its ideological needs. Thus, this investigation has created an early childhood education framework for the context of Pakistan. This was achieved cyclically, after exploring developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive practices of education in the contexts of Australia and Pakistan. This study was conducted in five main phases using design-based research. The research process included ECE framework document analysis, then in-depth semi-structured interviews with principals and focus groups of ECE educators in Australia and Pakistan. Qualitative content analysis (QCA) strategy was used to analyse data collected from these interviews and focus group discussions. The second level of analysis of the same data was carried out using the data management and content analysis software called NVivo to aid the analysis process. The work of Reeves (2006) 'phases of design-based research' provided the theoretical framework for this study. The framework design was an iterative process throughout the study, consistently informed by the data collected during the research. The major outcomes of this study are the creation of an ECE framework teacher and parent guides for the context of Pakistan. These documents may be provided to early childhood educators in Pakistan to facilitate them to develop effective and culturally sensitive curriculum programs for the children they teach. The major findings of this study suggest the development of an ECE framework is an ongoing process. It requires extensive consultations, deliberations and discussions. An effective development process includes multiple methods such as classroom observations, public consultation, online forums, consultation seminars, feedback sessions, and listening to experts in order to obtain input from a range of stakeholders.


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