Transforming Education with Innovation

by Waseem Ajmal Chaudry
3 mins read

The MoFEPT has taken impactful initiatives that allow access to learning materials for all children from any location.

We know the world today has entered a new technological era, bringing with it a social, political and economic interdependence. And because today’s world is far more complex than yesteryear’s, it requires innovative education systems to meet its emerging needs.

The global crises of climate change, food security, pandemics, natural disasters and conflicts now require our youth to be fully equipped, not only with basics of science, mathematics, technology and language, but its application in complex situations.

We know that school closures and resulting academic losses during Covid-19, followed by massive floods of September 2022 in Pakistan, have shown us how fragile our systems are and what improvements we potentially need in our education system to effectively continue learning during such crises and beyond. It is high time that we re-envision and re-set our education service provisions and its management to ensure Pakistan’s education remains relevant and allows our young children to compete and thrive alongside the world. We need key measures to meet constitutional and international commitments for education of our children including Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4).

An estimated 26.2 million school-age children are out of school (OOSC) in Pakistan as per recent statistics released by the Pakistan Institute of Education in January 2024. In addition, after the pandemic and September 2022 floods, the learning poverty is estimated to have risen to 79%. Nearly four out of five children in Pakistan cannot read and understand a simple text by age 10. The global literacy rate for people aged 15 and above is 86.3%, while Pakistan struggles at approximate 60% with serious issues in the quality of learning.

Given the aforementioned realities, the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT) is working round the clock in collaboration with all the provinces, development partners, private sector, non-governmental organisations and civil society to improve the educational conditions. Recently, the MoFEPT has taken several high impact initiatives that allow national access to learning materials for all children from any location, focusing on improvements in the quality of teaching-learning processes and learning gains.

Key initiatives include improving the national curriculum and production of improved reading resources, supply of additional classrooms for primary and middle schools, creating community learning spaces and accelerated learning centres in collaboration with Basic Education Community Schools (BECS), National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) and NGOs. Further proposals include provision of improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities for children especially the girls, school transportation for students and female teachers, development of early childhood educational programmes in alignment with international best practices.

Moreover, a National Distance Education Strategy has been developed to introduce innovative digital platforms including an OTT TeleSchool Application that runs learning resources including multi-media centric content for various grades for formal and non-formal education including accelerated learning modules for out-of-school children. E-Taleem portal with a learning management system will soon be available for educational resources and be accessible by all children from any corner of the country. Furthermore, a Digital and Innovation in Education Framework is being developed to rollout such initiatives that can bring visible improvements in the education ecosystem in Pakistan.

Recently, the school and classroom conditions are being improved with all latest facilities, labs and IT equipment in MoFEPT-managed school networks, including deployment of blended learning opportunities, smart classrooms, STEM maker spaces and after-school online coaching opportunities.

For capacity building of teachers, highly structured serial training programme with mentoring modules have been launched across Federal Directorate of Education for the teachers that shall soon be scaled-up for other regions in Pakistan.

Recently, the Net ZERO OOSC Initiative in Islamabad show positive results while enrolling more than 71, 500 out-of-school children into the learning process in less than a four months’ effort.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Planning and Development, the MoFEPT launched a RS25 billion fund for out-of-school children in August 2023, encouraging provinces to implement initiatives in disadvantaged locations to mainstream OOSC into learning system.

Addressing learning poverty, the MoFEPT has recently launched the Pakistan Foundational Learning Hub targeted to work on foundational literacy policy work, bringing various stakeholders together to form a coalition in improving foundational learning in Pakistan.

National Achievement Test (NAT), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (LaNA) assessments are being pursued recently, providing a picture of Pakistan’s learning levels and how we can improve those while using the findings of these assessments through further policy development and planning. A National Data Standardisation Framework has been approved by the IPEMC in 2023 and a National Open Data Portal is being developed to help timely report against national and international educational reporting commitments.

Acknowledgement: Published in Daily Express Tribune on 28th Feb 2024

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