Abstract

This paper draws on a larger study conducted to examine the Effectiveness of the MA ECE program at the Institute of Education and Research, University of the Punjab. Various aspects of the teacher education program were examined regarding their effectiveness as a preparation for teaching. Three sessions of focus group discussions were conducted with program graduates who had embarked on teaching careers. Twelve graduates of the program were identified for participation in the focus groups by snowball sampling. It was the experience of the focus group participants that the program was focused more on theory and provided fewer opportunities for putting this into practice. Pre-school education is mostly provided by the private sector. Consequently, job opportunities for ECE teachers are mainly in the private sector. At the time of the study, IER did not collaborate with the private sector to prepare teachers according to private sector demands. It was suggested that a four year, concurrent program for professional training would better equip prospective teachers with the knowledge, skills and attitude they require to teach at ECE level rather than a two year, consecutive program, as the current MA is. The concurrent program would prepare effective teachers by providing them practice opportunities for their theoretical knowledge and by developing a strong relationship with ECE settings, including private sector ones. Further research to assess the knowledge and skills requirements of prospective ECE teachers is required.