UNICEF and the Asian Development Bank holds a conference on effective distance learning measures during the novel coronavirus pandemic

English Official News Press Information Department

Islamabad, July 01, 2021 (PPI-OT):On June 17, there was a conference held by UNICEF and the Asian Development Bank on effective distance learning measures during the novel coronavirus pandemic. UNICEF in partnership with Viamo conducted surveys of students, parents, and teachers through Interactive Voice Response (IVR) calls. 8553 responses were collected from 63 districts across Pakistan. This included data from 1665 teachers, 3161 parents and caregivers, and 3727 youth. 45% of the respondents identified as female and 63% of all responses were from rural areas. At 34%, television seems to be the most common mode of youth access to technology where an active 30% claimed to use the TV programs for distance learning. At 41%, most rural youth reported receiving regular learning instructions during school closures.

 

Pakistan is a nation that already had a massive out of school children population as well as massive inequities in access to education and technology. By utilizing a combination of different modalities, both low tech and no-tech solutions, the Government of Pakistan was able to effectively implement a strategy that was able to cater to all kinds of learners. The Government immediately and timely shut down schools as soon as cases began to rise, safeguarding the community of educators and learners of the nation.

 

Understanding the need for a more accessible form of distance learning, the Government was quick to launch Teleschool, a dedicated TV channel that was widely used to and found to be effective during school closures. Radio content as well as physical learning packs were also developed to ensure that no learner is left behind. These notes were also shared with teachers and published online as a free resource. While many other countries in the region struggled to continue learning in a safe and conducive environment, Pakistan was able to take the lead particularly with its innovative Ed-Tech partnerships to develop and disseminate distance learning content swiftly.

 

While other states in the region made active strides in their own capacity, such as Sri Lanka’s initiative to provide laptops and tablets to its students, Pakistan’s solutions aimed to cater to all learners regardless of class, gender, or geography. The Country Director UNICEF has expressed their satisfaction over the implementation of ongoing projects by Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and are looking forward to further collaboration.

 

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