Digital education is an advanced learning method that is facilitated by technology or by instructional practice that makes effective use of technology. It is the key to success in this modern era full of technologies. From empowered farmers and mobile banking to enhanced predictive analysis in economic policymaking, Pakistan is on the cusp of a digitization drive. Pakistan’s education sector had a mixed engagement with digitalization. Emphasis on digital education in Pakistan has lagged in the past, but schools and universities are now being empowered to actively embrace the digital world. Although there are still very less educational institutes that are providing facilities for digital education but this ratio is expected to improve by upcoming digital initiatives in the future.
Some of the digitized trends in the educational sector of Pakistan are as follows:
- Growing trend of digital classrooms
Most of the private schools and universities in Pakistan are making their classrooms digital by introducing interactive whiteboards, touch screens, computers, and projectors. These smart classrooms helped in an increased level of understanding on part of students.
- Access to online learning material
Nowadays all the students are encouraged to go through internet facilities and avail required detailed knowledge of topics instead of learning bookish material only. Different educational apps are also introduced in smart gadgets that help students to understand and get knowledge more easily.
The concept of getting knowledge using e-books is becoming very popular nowadays. Students can access any book by any author from around the world instead of searching for books in libraries.
- Video-based learning
Video-based learning makes education engaging, entertaining and exploring. So, it is also gaining popularity among students to understand difficult concepts using the video interfaces.
- The popularity of online courses
Many universities are offering facilities for online courses and diplomas e.g Pakistan Institute of management, Virtual University of Pakistan etc.
- Educational apps in smartphones/tablets
Different educational apps are also introduced in smart gadgets that help students to understand and get knowledge more easily. Scribd, Google reads, Evernote, todoist are some examples of such apps.
- Game learning apps
Many applications based on games are introduced for toddlers with the help of which they can start learning. These apps include unscrambling games, word games, puzzles etc.
- WI-FI availability
Some of the private institutes are providing Wi-Fi facilities in all of their departments which help students to gather information from the internet in order to do their assignments and group study. Even the Daewoo and Metro bus service is also providing Wi-Fi facility to their passengers.
Some of the private institutes are providing Wi-Fi facilities in all of their departments which help students to gather information from the internet. Some of the initiatives that have been taken for improvement of the education sector of Pakistan are discussed below:
- Jazz Smart School program
In support of the government’s Vision 2025, the Jazz Foundation was set to use innovation in imparting education to 75 schools in the federal capital. ‘Jazz Smart School’ program was launched in partnership with the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) and the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) on 19th February 2018. The Jazz Foundation has set up digital learning centers with hardware kits including laptops, projectors, clickers, tablets, speakers, UPS and mobile broadband.
The Jazz Foundation has set up digital learning centers with hardware kits, including laptops, projectors, clickers, tablets, speakers, UPS and mobile broadband. The program’s educational content includes digital textbooks, videos, practice material, interactive games, assessments and classroom activities.
- PM‘s national laptop scheme
Prime Minister’s Youth Program was a special initiative launched by the Government of Pakistan in 2013 for five years during the regime of Shahbaz Sharif. According to the eligibility criteria many students have been awarded laptops.
- Installation of IWBs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
K-P has now introduced learning methods using a combination of ICT learning tools. Around 1,100 interactive whiteboards (IWBs) have been installed in government higher secondary schools with solar panels back up. The IWBs offer immense potential to teachers to create as well as curate digital content. These technologies also promise to make the schools environmental friendly. Although some steps have been taken to improve the educational sector of Pakistan but still a lot of things need to improve. Around 1,100 interactive whiteboards (IWBs) have been installed in government higher secondary schools with solar panels back up.
Educational Budget 2018-2019
Higher Education Commission’s development budget has been raised to PKR 46.7 billion as against PKR 35.7 billion in the outgoing fiscal year. According to the budgetary document, out of total 46.7 billion, around PKR 40,218 million has been allocated for ongoing schemes, while PKR 6,462 million has been allocated for new schemes.
Pre-Primary and Primary Education
The government has allocated PKR 10.12 billion for pre-primary and primary education affairs in budget 2018-19 as compared to PKR 8.748 billion for 2017-18.
Likewise, PKR 12.365 billion allocated for Secondary Education Affairs & Services for 2018-19 which was previously PKR 10.798 billion for 2017-18.
And, PKR 71.824 billion embarked for Tertiary Education Affairs and Services against PKR 68.252 billion earmarked for 2017-18.
Pakistan’s spending on education as a percentage of GDP remains among the lowest in the region South Asia which was 2.2 percentage of GDP in the fiscal year 2017 as compared to 2.3 percentage of GDP in the fiscal year 2016. It is sad to see that children of Pakistan are way behind in getting an education than every other country in the region.
If we want to see Pakistan stand among developed nations then it is essential that the government allocates a decent budget that ensures equal and quality access to education. If we want to see Pakistan stand among developed nations then it is essential that the government allocates a decent budget that ensures equal and quality access to education for all citizens of the country; technology should be given the central stage in all this process. The first step to improve digital education in Pakistan is to make proper policies and schemes that can help in the implementation of smart systems in educational institutes.
Education must become the highest priority of the state not only in terms of GDP share but also for structural and curriculum reforms in our educational system to make it more productive, equitable and coherent. So, the first step to improve digital education in Pakistan is to make proper policies and schemes that can help in the implementation of smart systems in educational institutes. It is the responsibility of the government to provide a decent budget to make educational sector better. The government should provide short-term digital courses to teachers to enhance their capabilities. Teachers’ behavior towards students should change. They should use technology to find resources instead of delivering lectures based on old syllabus books. By taking these measures no one can stop Pakistan to lead in digital education.