Pakistan has a turbulent history when it comes to education reforms. Early 70s saw complete state control over public school and then following denationalization policies paved way for private schools. This created a huge gulf in quality of education between urban population and the rural masses.
More than 100 attempts have been made since the year 2000 to improve the quality of education by reforming learning facilities, curriculums but even then what stands to be alarming is the drop-out rate of Pakistan which is amongst the highest in South Asia. Also, the fact that less than 50% of third-grade students in rural areas can barely practice basic subtractions.
In the midst of all this uncertainty, one person stands out to challenge this status quo. Sabahat Rafiq has an accomplished career in working as a consultant and coordinator for major global NGOs. With her experience and expertise in Islamic Investment Banking and Textile Trading, she is extremely passionate about education and religious harmony.
She realized that the world is moving forward at a fast-pace and with subsequent technological advances, it is important to create educational reforms coupled with latest technologies. With a plethora of information available across various technological platforms, dynamic learning can be introduced with great success. In order to accomplish that, as the Executive Director of United We Reach, she spearheaded a large-scale collaboration between Government of Punjab and her NGO.
In the first phase of this collaboration, 300 new schools will be set up with latest communication and information technologies to enhance competitive learning and improving learning capabilities for students in Primary and Secondary levels. Students and faculty will be provided with state-of-the-art tablets armed with thoroughly planned lessons and teaching methodologies. In short, this initiative is capable of providing our students with the same world-class standard as their counterparts in highly-developed countries.
United We Reach is an education-technology NGO which has been creating success stories across Pakistan and Kenya with technology-based education models. United We Reach has distributed over 11,000 Scholarship awards in Kenya in 2016. In Pakistan, the technology-based learning became fully functional in 2017 in Amal School (Tulspura), Light of Hope School(FC College), and the Creative Learning School at NUST. With the help of California Educational System to create a global-standard curriculum, the focus is shifted towards creating an evolving and comprehensive learning experience for the young children.
They would learn not only to understand and process complex information but also to apply their comprehension in real-life situations. This will consequently increase personal autonomy and independence in learning and adapt. Furthermore, it will enable parents and teacher to document and understand strengths and weaknesses of the students and then create a customized learning plan to help students reach their utmost potential without any major hindrance. This intervention would not only bridge the gap between the student of private and public educational institutions but may even exceed the expected outcome.
With an ever-growing population of Pakistan in excess of 200 million, tech-based education system seems to be a hope in these seemingly dark times for our education sector. This is a testament to Ms. Sabahat Rafiq’s passion and dedication towards Pakistani children and the education system and we hope this will ignite the flame of hope for millions of young Pakistanis and their future.
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