“Each day around a quarter of the country’s teachers do not turn up to school” – Sir Michael Barber, Co-chair, Pakistan Education Task Force
Peela Schools and our education systems
With the dilapidated state of education in a country where several systems of education run overlapping each other, the lowest in terms of status and performance happen to be the government schools. These ‘peela schools’, along with others that are called schools only because of a building standing erect at a formerly assigned garbage dumping plot, and not because of being a center for education and awareness, have students whose future turns as bleak as the walls that surround them.
Why has our education system more or less failed
Some of the primary reasons behind this stark failure are teachers not showing up at schools for months and still drawing their salaries, painfully low level of competence of the teaching staff and the management and absence of a carefully calibrated curriculum with a conscious purpose and effort to help children with learning difficulties and scant opportunities to go to a coaching center or a private tutor to make up for the loss at school.
How the idea of ‘Learnative’ came about?
And hence, a group of socially conscious overseas Pakistanis in USA, prominently Suhail Muhammad, the founder and chief education officer, felt the need to take up the task of dedicating their services to addressing the problem that has crippled our generations for long. And in order to compensate for the insufficient competence of the teachers and scarcity of schools located in the low income urban and rural areas, came up with the idea of producing educational DVD videos along with a DVD player and delivering it to the students . These videos are exclusively for science subjects (Match, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science) covering course material as per Sindh Textbook Board specifications.
Learnative- Phase 1
Taking a sneak peak at their Phase 1 of education designed for 5 education boards in Sindh,
- The project would be executed in stages. In the first stage 5 education boards in Sindh are included. Approximately 465,000 students are enrolled in these boards in 9th and 10th grades.
- Video lectures are prepared covering all chapters of Math books (9th and 10th grades, Math Book-I & Book-II).
- The Video Lectures will be made available on internet for anyone to access free of charge.
- Because many students do NOT have access to Broadband internet service these Video Lectures will also be made available on DVDs free of charge.
Some of the incentives initially offered to the students are:
- Student can partake in an online (web based) or in-person test. Students performing well on this test get awards or recognition.
- Say a student is in possession of a Portable DVD Player. S/he is made aware right from the start that if s/he scores good marks (say >75%) in annual Board Examination s/he can get her/his Deposit Money back and they DO NOT have to return the DVD Player.
Let’s support Malala’s cause – Education
Being in the initial phases of its operations, Learnative needs the support of people in bringing about the change they aim at, in a society embroiled in dealing with the never-ending socio-economic and political issues. And where, in our society kids like Malala YousufZai can bravely take threats and bullets to make sure education is guaranteed to everyone irrespective of the gender, the least we can do is to support and spread the cause for the biggest social reformation awaiting only if we care enough to make it happen.
Surely, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world’, Nelson Mandella.