Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presiding over a Board meeting of Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) approved the `Digital Learning’ project to be launched in collaboration with Tech the World Foundation (TTWF) to bring out of school children to school.
The primary objective of the Digital Learning project is to lay the foundation for solving the education crisis in the province by bringing out-of-school children to school. The project would leverage digital learning which offers the most effective solutions to the crisis.
The meeting which was held at CM House on Tuesday was attended by Minister Education Syed Sardar Shah, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput, Chairman P&D Hassan Naqvi, Qaiser Bengali, Secretary Finance Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary School Education Akbar Leghari, MD SEF Kazi Kabir and other concerned officers.
MD SEF Kazi Kabir briefing the CM said that it would be a joint project between the SEF – Sindh government, and TTWF, which has pioneered digital learning in underprivileged communities, and their expertise has been recognized by the World Bank and various other such institutions.
As per plan, the project would start as a pilot program for around 10,000 out-of-school children in Southern Sindh and 2500 In-School children; if successful, it would be scaled to millions across the province.
The Sindh government runs over 42,000 schools, representing the vast majority of schools in the province, with SEF being one arm running over 2600 schools.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that we have an education crisis in Sindh – the crisis of Access, Quality, and Accountability. He added that there was little to no accountability for learning outcomes and the situation has been vastly worsened by the recent floods.
During the discussion, Education Minister Sardar Shah said that the traditional approaches would not solve this crisis in an acceptable time frame. He added that the estimates of six to seven million out-of-school children in Sindh were not authenticated figures but even if [estimates] accepted we need 150,000 additional teachers, and 25,000 new schools to bring them to schools.
Talking about the opportunity, Sardar Shah said that Digital technology offered an unparalleled opportunity to solve this crisis in a relatively short time.
It was observed that digital technology solved all three crucial problems causing the educational crisis – Access, Quality, and Accountability.
It [Digital technology] promotes self-learning, and enables gamified learning which creates high engagement, resulting in accelerated learning and higher learning outcomes. It provides digital skills which are now a crucial component of functional literacy. Digital learning Is the new wave. It was massively validated recently by Covid. It enables adaptive learning, augmented reality, and virtual reality which would further enhance learning, MD SEF Kazi Kabir told the meeting.
The CM was told that TTWF used the world’s best educational games to teach reading, writing, and math, delivering them on tablets/smartphones, in a facilitated setting.
The proposed solution is a mix of Digital Micro schools (MS) and In-School Digital Classrooms (IS) to provide access to out-of-school children in localities without schools and quality education for children enrolled in existing SEF schools.
The meeting was told that the SEF in collaboration with TTWF could launch a Micro school for 100 children within two months and it would cost Rs. 3,500 per student/per month. The TTWF In-School program for 105 children costs Rs. 1,700 per student/per month. The program is managed by a facilitator who is trained in less than a week.
The chief minister approved the proposal and directed the chief secretary to provide funds to start the project.
Murad Ali Shah directed MD SEF to start 125 Micro-schools in the suburban areas of Karachi and Hyderabad immediately.
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