COVID-19 and the (Broken) Promise of Education for Sustainable Development: A Case Study from Postcolonial Pakistan

A new book, COVID-19 and the (Broken) Promise of Education for Sustainable Development, by Javed Anwar, Sher Rahmat Khan, Mir Zaman Shah, Seth Brown, Peter Kelly and Scott K. Phillips charts the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact that it has had on the lives of young people and their communities, education systems, the teaching profession, governments and NGOs in postcolonial Pakistan.

COVID-19, the climate crisis, and the crisis of development in the globalising, neoliberal version of capitalism, present profound challenges for meeting the already limited aspirations of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Numerous UN report cards point to the qualified success in relation to many of the SDGs and their associated targets – in the ‘over-developed’ neoliberal democracies, and in the middle- and low-income economies. Indeed, these crises have amplified the challenges associated with the development aspirations, plans and policies of many postcolonial nation states, and in particular Pakistan.

This book draws on theories of postcolonialism, feminism, and neo-liberal globalisation to explore the development of Pakistan as a postcolonial nation-state, and examines the legacies of colonialism in education systems and policies, teacher education and development. Emerging from the extensive knowledge and experience that the authors bring to these challenges, this case study of the ‘broken promise’ of education for sustainable development will have significant impact in post COVID-19 Pakistan, South Asia more broadly, and in other postcolonial development contexts around the world.

A webinar to launch the book was chaired by Professor Peter Kelly of REDI and can be viewed below. Dr Farid Panjwani, Dean of the Aga Khan University-Institute for Educational Development (Pakistan) introduced the book and highlighted its potential contributions. He underlined the different ways the book can contribute to the discourses of education and teacher education in Pakistan. Dr Panjwani highlighted the Constitutional promise of education in Pakistan and identified a number of significant challenges in realising that promise.

The three Pakistani co-authors, Dr Javed Anwar, Dr Sher Rahmat Khan, and Dr Mir Zaman Shah discussed the background of writing the book, its use of creative non-fiction stories and Urdu chapter titles, its major themes, and the contributions and impacts that they and the other co-authors hope the book produces.

Dr Hafeez Ahmed Jamali, the Director General of Balochistan Civil Service Academy, in Quetta (Pakistan), discussed how the book will contribute to reconceptualising teacher education in Pakistan. He highlighted how the book elaborates the postcolonial context of Pakistan and why this is important for understanding the current education issues, challenges and possibilities in Pakistan.

Mr Ghulam Nabi Marri, an economist with the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the other panellists, applauded the book’s use of storytelling as compelling, and suggested that the book will make significant contributions by setting the direction of research in education in Pakistan.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in the webinar please contact Professor Peter Kelly.

Watch the recording

You can watch the recording of this book launch and webinar online here.  This recording was made between 5.00 pm—6.00 pm  AEST on Wednesday 10 May 2023.

Speakers and discussants

Chair: Professor Peter Kelly, School of Education and REDI, Deakin University (Australia).

Introductions: Dr Farid Panjwani, Dean of the Aga Khan University-Institute for Educational Development (Pakistan).

Speakers: Dr Javed Anwar Shahwani, Dr Sher Rahmat Khan and Dr Mir Zaman Shah, RMIT University (Australia).

Discussants: Dr Hafeez Ahmed Jamali, Director General of Balochistan Civil Service Academy (Pakistan) and Mr Ghulam Nabi Marri, Economist with the UN-International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (Pakistan).

Download flyer

Download the publisher’s book flyer – includes code for 25% discount (PDF 5mb)

News 23 May 2023