Pakistan responded to Covid-19 pandemic challenge in education sector with innovative approach

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Zubair Qureshi

Federal Minister of Education and Professional Training, Shafqat Mehmood while attending Huawei’s ‘Igniting Innovation through Education’ summit as a key-note speaker Tuesday spoke about the unprecedented challenge brought by the pandemic that called for innovation and digitalization of education.
“Within 15 days of the pandemic, the Ministry acquired an exclusive television channel to launch a Tele-school,” said the minister adding “for ten hours a day, lessons for Class 1-12 were broadcast in different modules.”
The Minister was amongst a prominent list of keynote speakers; experts from the ICT ecosystem, government, and international NGOs. Hosted in partnership with the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, the summit recognized the role of education as a catalyst for change, bringing people closer and making society more sustainable and prosperous.
Shafqat informed an SMS system was established with the help of telecom companies to give students a medium for feedback on the lessons.
Knowing that not everyone has access to television sets, especially in the rural parts of the country, a radio school was also launched by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. For Higher Education Institutes, all mechanisms; classes, teaching examinations, were moved online.
This transition came with its own set of challenges, the biggest one being unavailability of stable internet in some parts of the country, which the government is planning to further expand to ensure that the entire country is covered. The minister further added, “We have established a department of distance learning within the Ministry, as we feel distance-learning will have a huge role, even after the pandemic ends,” he said.
With ICT solutions now widely recognized as building blocks of an intelligent society, supporting innovation and imagination through education is increasingly important to the national development agendas of nations across the Middle East.