Tue. Oct 4th, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The current education policies at the national and provincial levels have little room for EdTech (education technology) and there is a need for exploring more pathways of accelerated learning through the use of technology and addressing the issues of financing and costing in different age groups.

This was stated by Bella Raza Jamil, the chief executive officer of Idara 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 (randomised-controlled trial) in Punjab’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), says a press release.

Dean of faculty of education at Allama Iqbal Open University Dr Nasir Mehmood emphasised the need for a forum where research findings on EdTech could be consolidated to prevent the loss of information.

Research director of EdTech Hub Susan Nicolai said technology had the potential to solve the global learning crisis. She said nine out of 10 children in low-income countries were disadvantaged in terms of literacy and numeracy, which had been intensified due to school closures during the Covid pandemic.

She said the systematic use of technology for educational purposes was limited by schools and students despite its widespread use and expansion in mobile phones.

She added that the EdTech sector was predicted to reach worth $404 billion and the governments of various countries, including Pakistan, had shown keen interest in promoting the sector. She, however, regretted that no structured plans for preferred EdTech technologies had been devised so far.

SDPI research fellow Dr Fareeha Armughan said community perception of technology must be factored in the planning of any EdTech programme.

Referring to a study, she said 90 per cent students had access to television, but only 43pc used it for education as parents’ perception about its utility for educational purposes was negligible. She pointed out that low-income groups surveyed in the Punjab for the research were not well-versed in technology.

SDPI deputy executive director Dr Sajid Amin suggested that in order to promote the educational use of technology, mobile network companies should provide concessional data bundles for various applications widely used for educational content to increase accessibility for low-income students.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2022

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