There isn’t any denying that technology has transcended borders, making learning accessible to people across geographies and time zones. With the proliferation of technological devices, from computers and laptops to smartphones and tablets, connectivity, communication, and collaboration is now a possibility. Technology has not only paced up the process of learning but has also minimized physical intervention in the process.
In view of this, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) has expanded student learning through innovative technology by collaborating with Elementary and Secondary Education Foundation (ESEF) KP, and TeleTaleem a social enterprise leveraging ICT to connect users with quality learning opportunities. “The Educational Innovation for Bridging the Learning Gaps of Students” is an education uplift project that covered four community schools in the areas of District Chitral and Lower Dir Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The project connected students from community schools to professional teachers online for quality education in far-flung areas. It targeted primary grade students and teachers, aiming to improve their learning and teaching skills via innovative classroom practices. Community-based Schools (CBSs) Shakahandeh, Grambat Gol and Kalashgram situated in Village Bomborate, Birir, and Rumbore respectively in union council Ayun of District Chitral and a community-based school, Anangoro Khwar in union council Koto of District Lower Dir were covered under the initiative.
This unique initiative funded by PPAF spanned over 9 months, during this time as many as 265 students including 166 girls and 99 boys were enrolled in four schools. The project cost of Rs. 7.32 million included technological support for each school in the form of a digital classroom, equipped with multi-media equipment, tablet, and internet connectivity, linked via the internet to a remote teacher and resource center. The project also provided the cost for capacity building of teachers on session delivery, familiarization and use of equipment and assessment through online remote training and remote teaching.
Technology and the internet are used to connect primary grade students in community schools with professional teacher trainers, conducting online classes every day. The teachers observe this innovative classroom practice to improve and upgrade their skill set. Separate training sessions are conducted once a month by professional trainers using the online facility. Both the teaching and training sessions are monitored by relevant education staff of TeleTaleem. In addition, access to open educational content is provided to further reinforce the learning process of the teacher and students, alike. Continuous checks by TeleTaleem are also made in the form of pre and post assessments, so both teachers and students respond to the academic needs through proper planning, design and execution of lessons.
PPAF team carries out regular visits to these schools to monitor the impact of remote teaching through the use of internet and multimedia equipment. Significant improvement has been observed in CBS Kalashgram, Rumbore in UC Ayun, District Chitral, and CBS Anango Khar UC Koto, District Lower Dir while studying the impact of satellite learning in Maths, Science and English on 4 and 5 Graders.
According to the stats being reported by TeleTaleem, there has been a remarkable improvement in students’ performance as a result of this technology-based distance learning initiative. A whopping increase from 23.14 percent to 55.35 percent was observed in Grade 4 English while an increase from 20.18 to 39.99 percent was observed in grade 4 Mathematics. Similarly, improvement has also been observed in Grade 5 subjects as well. In Mathematics the percentage has increased from 24.13 to 37.66 and in Science from 25.5 to 46.99 percent. Likewise in English, the percentages achieved by students have risen from 24.13 to 43.88 percent.
The PPAF’s initiative has opened door to new learning opportunities for teachers and students residing in remote areas. Under the agreement signed with the Elementary & Secondary Education Foundation (ESEF), Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, PPAF will hand over these four schools to ESEF by the end of this month. ESEF will be responsible for maintenance of the equipment installed by PPAF in these schools, it will continue to liaise with TeleTaleem in order to ensure that the efforts made, keep on bearing fruits in the coming days.