Islamabad – On Wednesday May 17 2017 Knowledge Platform hosted the Learn Smart Pakistan 3rd Annual Education Forum to celebrate the successes and stories of Learn Smart Pakistan and to discuss the Future of Learning.
The Forum was divided into 2 Sessions.
Session I discussed and examined the Future of Learning especially in relation to the K-12 curriculum, and the role of digital learning in the Pakistani context. It brought together some of the leading authorities in Pakistan’s education sector including Mr. Yusuf Hussain (CEO National ICT R&D Fund), Mosharraf Zaidi (Campaign Director, Alif Ailaan), Judith Herbertson (Deputy Head, DFID Pakistan), Athar Osama (Ministry of Planning and Commission) and Baela Raza Jamil (CEO, Idara-e-Taleem o Aagahi).
During Session I, a thrilling key note address was delivered by Mr. Yusuf Hussain who said that the future belonged to STEM specialists as well as to individuals who could ideate and individuals who had excellent social skills.
A digital learning challenge was hosted by Alif Ailaan using Knowledge Platform’s blended learning solution, where Mosharaff Zaidi tested the audience on questions like the number of out of school children in Pakistan. The audience used ‘clickers’ a hand held device to answer the assessment questions.
A panel discussion on the Future of K-12 Education in Pakistan was held. Panel speakers included Mosharraf Zaidi (Campaign Director, Alif Ailaan), Yusuf Hussain (CEO, National ICT R&D Fund), Judith Herbertson (Deputy Head, DFID Pakistan) and Baela Raza Jamil (CEO, Idara-e-Taleem o Aagahi). The session was moderated by Mr. Mahboob Mahmood, CEO of Knowledge Platform. These renowned scholars and public policy practitioners discussed the escalating growth of private sector education, the emerging priorities of private sector donors, the use of technology in education and the direction of the K-12 Curriculum.
Key messages from the panel suggested that there is scope for cautious optimism across the education sector in Pakistan. The panel also discussed how there were a growing number of participants within the education sector who are doing positive, potentially transformative work. Emergent economic and social realities are clearly pushing learning-to-learn as the central capacity of the 21st century individual.
The experts concluded that the right combination of governmental reform, private sector development, bilateral and multilateral catalysis, and social venture innovation could lead us to a tipping point in the coming few years.
Session II of the Forum celebrated the stories and successes of the students and teachers of Learn Smart Pakistan. Mr. Ali Ibrahim, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Jazz spoke about the role of technology in leading the world into the future of learning. He said, “As a socially responsible corporate citizen, Jazz always strives to develop sustainable solutions for the communities that it works in. Under our Make Your Mark initiative, Jazz has been introducing innovative digital solutions to address socio-economic challenges. I am confident that through these initiatives we will be able to provide customized digital services for the next generation and assist the government of Pakistan with its ‘Vision 2025’ and contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 2030.”
Mr. Athar Osama (Member Science and Technology and ICT, Planning Commission) also spoke about the future of learning.
Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal, at the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform was Chief Guest at the session and handed out awards and shields to winning students, teachers, parents and principals. He said, ‘’the government needs to work hand in hand with corporations like Knowledge Platform and initiatives like Learn Smart Pakistan to ensure that we meet our education goals by 2025.” A representative from Developments in Literacy represented DIL as Best Performing Private School Network.
This year, 11,212 students and teachers from 3,447 schools across 290 cities in Pakistan participated in Learn Smart Pakistan (learnsmartpakistan.org). The rate of participation of students and teachers in Learn Smart Pakistan has grown 7.3 times since last year.
This is the 3rd year the Challenge was held and this year, the Knowledge Platform team extended the challenge to last a year. Students and teachers could participate in Summer, Micro, Fall and Winter Challenges. The Winter Challenges included a test series and digitized past paper questions to help students prepare for the upcoming Board exams.
The Learn Smart Pakistan 2016 report was launched at the Forum as well. It provided insights into the best performing public and private school networks. Amongst other things, the report benchmarked schools, students and identifies struggling areas for 9th and 10th Class Students. It indicated that in 2016’s Learn Smart Pakistan Challenge 49% of students accessed LSP through mobile devices. Interestingly, students spent an average of 18 minutes per learning session using their mobile device compared to 13 minutes when on their computers. The most struggling topics in Math were Factorization (grade 9) and Quadratic Equations (grade 10), whereas Grammar was found to be toughest for students in English topics.
All winners of the challenges were awarded tablets and shields.
Network Partners for the event included Alif Ailaan, AFAQ, School of Leadership, Pakistan Innovation Foundation, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aaghi, American Pakistan Foundation, Open Islamabad and TIE Islamabad. Express Media Group, ProPakistani and Tech Juice are the Media Partners for the event.