In the COVID-19 schools' closures, Pakistan’s domestic digital and innovative learning industry has come together to offer free internet-based education products and services to students, teachers, and schools to combat educational disruption.
The resources can be reached by using smartphones or any internet-enabled devices on the web portal of Ilm Association that allows students to continue to learn and engage teachers with students while staying at home.
According to a press statement issued on March 31, at present, members of the association offer free services which include Azcorp entertainment, Sabaq MUSE, Knowledge Platform, Learning pitch, KarMuqabla, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, Sabaq Foundation, Edkasa, and Orenda Taleemabad. In the coming days, more members are expected to contribute more resources as the days pass. However, during the COVID-19 school closure, the already provided resources will be regularly updated.
Because of the closure of schools, online learning is the only readily available means for continuing education at home. “We consider it our civic duty to provide our online products and services for free to the affected Pakistanis during this time of national emergency”, stated Ilm Association President Hassan Bin Rizwan.
It is estimated that more than three million children currently utilize domestically created online learning products and services in Pakistan. They benefit from cutting edge multimedia content and pedagogical innovations in English and local languages, which makes learning more interesting. The content is matched to national and provincial curriculums and backed by online assessments.
“Getting these solutions into the hands of tens of millions of students, hundreds of thousands of teachers and schools affected by this crisis is our biggest priority at the moment. We want all responsible Pakistanis to assist us in this offer reaching as many of them as possible through social media and all other channels”, urged ilmA board member, Baela Raza.
The COVID-19 pandemic is fueling the conversation for more focus needed around online learning among parents, teachers, and educationists. During the school shutdown, there is a need to explore innovative ways to help students learn at home. The options for learning through social distance include Television, Radio, Online, and its hybrids through social media WhatsApp, SMS, Instagram and restricted face to face in communities with shared mobile phone facilities. Learning solutions during the crisis also requires an aggressive communication strategy with all media to enable solutions offered to reach all citizens.
“We are looking to partner with the government, NGOs, donors, charities, corporations, internet device makers and media so that we can continue to provide these solutions for free beyond current disruption and to reach more children inclusively” explained executive director of ilmA, Zulfiqar Qazilbash. This online offer will continue during the current disruption.
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