Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Chairman Dr Umar Saif unveiled the government’s Literacy and Numeracy Drive (LND) system during a press conference on Friday, with the PITB chairman saying the system marked the end of ghost schools, teachers and students in the province.

The system has been developed by the PITB in close collaboration with Punjab’s School Education Department for real-time monitoring and assessment of schools across the province to improve the teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy. For the compilation of data, officials visited schools across Punjab and conducted tests for Mathematics, English and Urdu through computer tablets to gauge students’ learning progress.

Speaking at the event, Dr Saif said that with the introduction of the LND system, Punjab had no ghost schools, teachers or records of fake admissions anymore. He said the data had been generated from tablet-based quizzes for grade 3 students from schools across Punjab. “Over 6.7 Million geo-tagged quizzes were conducted across 17 Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) in the last 2 years and data of the same is now public, while results from all these quizzes are being published in real-time for everyone to see,” he said.

The PITB chairman said only a few countries of the world had as advanced a system as put in place by the Punjab government to measure learning outcomes of children. Dr Saif highlighted that the data had been collected through random visits of monitoring and evaluation assistants (MEAs) to collect real time data through a tablet PC-based student assessment app. The app has been linked with an extensive question bank tagged with the relevant student learning outcomes for preparation of result cards by EDOs. “The results are reviewed by the chief minister during stocktake every three months to assess how much students of 53,000 schools were learning or understanding by measuring their performance,” Dr Saif said, adding that the project had been recently lauded by World Bank and other donor agencies.

He added that the system also recorded missing utilities and facilities like boundary wall, washroom, drinking water and electricity in schools, saying conditions of these missing utilities had shown much improvement over the months.

The PITB chairman also said that particulars of 14 million students, their parents and 325,000 teachers had been verified from NADRA through their Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC). “About 329,000 students are assessed monthly. Almost 6.7 million assessments have been conducted by MEAs until now and the data is shared with education administrators via an online dashboard and SMS-alerts.”

He expressed confidence that the assessment platform could be extended to any grade level, “as and when the School Education Department decides to measure student learning outcomes for other grades as well”.

Dr Saif added that the government was considering to move towards a regime of monitoring quality of education in private schools’ as well in order to have comprehensive data of literacy, quality teaching and learning.

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