Experts call for adopting advanced learning methods through use of technology

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Zubair Qureshi

The current educational policies at national and provincial levels have little room for Edtech or use of technology for education purposes and therefore, it is desired that advanced learning methods must be adopted through research initiatives to compete in the advanced world.

This was stated by Bella Raza Jamil, the Chief Executive Officer of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi while speaking at a seminar on ‘Investigating the Impact on Learning Outcomes Through the Use of EdTech During COVID-19: Evidence from an RCT in the Punjab Province of Pakistan ’organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute(SDPI) at a local hotel.

In her remarks, Bella Jamil stressed the need to explore more pathways of accelerated learning through edtech and address the issues of financing and costing in different age groups.

Dr Nasir Mehmood, Dean of Faculty of Education, Allama Iqbal Open University also emphasized the need for a forum where research findings on edtech can be consolidated to prevent the loss of information. “We need to improve enrollment in terms of gender parity and also find authentic data on it, as there is a lot of contradictory research on this subject,” he added.

Susan Nicolai, Research Director of EdTech Hub, said technology had the potential to solve the global learning crisis, which was under-realized and is caused by gaps in evidence and gaps in the use of evidence. She said that 9 out of 10 children in low-income countries are disadvantaged in terms of literacy and numeracy, which has been intensified due to school closures during COVID-19 pandemic.

She said the systematic use of technology for educational purposes is limited by schools and students despite its widespread use and expansion in mobiles. She informed the audience that the edtech sector is predicted to reach worth US$ 404 billion, and the world governments, including Pakistan, has shown keen interest in promoting the sector but no structured plans for preferred edtech technologies have been devised so far. She further said that research in five low-income countries exposed gender-based inequality in edtech access and use but female students demonstrated higher utility and benefit upon access. She added that teachers found innovative ways to use edtech, but it is most effective when aligned with curricula and is oriented around the community of learners, and those involved in this process. She emphasized building a culture of evidence-based decision-making to address the global learning crisis.

Dr Fareeha Armughan, SDPI Research Fellow, said community perception of technology must be factored in the planning of any edtech programme. Referring to the SDPI study, she said that 90% students have access to television, but only 43% use it for education. Parents’ perception about its utility for educational purposes is negligible, she said. She pointed out that low-income groups surveyed in the Punjab for this research are not well-versed in technology.

 

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