The Punjab government formed a team of the Directorate General Monitoring and Evaluation to evaluate the project. The committee found that the Punjab School Education Department’s (SED) project of “Distribution of tablets (with e-Textbooks)” has been found mismanaged and partially successful.
The project titled “Distribution of tablet PCs (with e-textbooks) to public school students” was introduced in 2017-18 with the objectives of “enable and encourage self-paced learning through interesting content, help at-risk learners access content at any time and provide a basis for regular, timely and effective information sharing”.
Punjab’s Project to Give Tablets to Students is Partially Successful
The project cost was revised to Rs36.247 million from Rs 56.52m due to variation in the scope. The project was completed at a cost of Rs28.855m with an actual gestation period of 26 months.
The tablet PC allowed teachers to deliver lessons, using a number of different stimuli to engage the students in learning. The tablet PC was set up the entire syllabi in electronic workbooks so that students could access coursework and complete the required tasks effortlessly.
Under the project, 2,550 tablet PCs were distributed in 30 schools, 10 each from north, south and central regions in three selected districts.
The tablets were given to students from grade VI to IX in 24 schools (1,920 PCs). In the remaining six schools, 480 tablets were used by students within schools. In addition, 120 tablet PCs were given to science teachers in selected schools, 30 to headmasters for reporting and monitoring data.
The report’s major observations include: above average students perform better through the use of E-Learn content but no change was observed in the improvement of average and below-average students.
Some other observations were also made – most of the tablets were found broken, regular assessments were not planned and taken between the baseline and end-line assessment test and details of training and trainees were not shared. The tablets were not locked to use for educational purposes alone. Content of another project “E-Learn” was used in this plan. Content for this project was not developed. Only tablets were distributed and teachers were trained in selected schools.
The observation also includes that the department would need to justify the requirement of human resources on this project and expenditure of Rs 9.7m. The distribution of tablets to public schools is not a cost-effective solution in countries like Pakistan where millions of students are not attending school. Also, this intervention is not efficient in terms of making a significant effect on the performance of the students. The project highlighted that it is early to scale up this kind of intervention at the mass level.
The committee also recommended that the tablets should be locked so that students could use them for educational purposes alone; secondly, the tablets should be handed over to students with proper covers and instructed to handle carefully, digital classrooms should be developed to make them cost-effective and efficient from the learning point of view.
Source: Dawn News