Education Sector – innovation in the delivery model is a must: Experts
KARACHI:”We need to forget about the way education was delivered in the pre-COVID19 era, we can’t and must not go back to the old state” said Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan.
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) hosted a series of conversations with representatives from higher education, school system, corporate sector and education technology providers from Pakistan, the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.
The experts largely agreed that adoption of digital technologies for education has been a discussion for a while, the question has always been ‘when and how’. With COVID19, circumstances have forced the education sector in Pakistan to showcase either its readiness or a lack of it.
The conversation was divided into three focus areas: the higher education, school systems, and the technological considerations, allowing experts to carefully assess the sweeping effects of Covid-19 on learners of different backgrounds and review the availability of technology to support a contingency plan.
It was pointed out that despite the lack of preparedness, the majority of private sector educational institutes were quick in their response and were successful in restoring learning using online methods. However, a lot needs to be done to provide an ideal environment to learners and enable effective assessment of their progress.
The education leaders urged the government to ensure availability of fast internet connectivity across Pakistan to support their ambitions of introducing new models of blended learning that are not exclusive to students living in large cities only.
It was also highlighted that online delivery is pointless if institutes don’t move to online assessment. Options like online exams and remote invigilation were also discussed. Under remote invigilation, exams are taken online and supervised remotely by a live invigilator. There is a thorough system of checks involving biometrics, artificial intelligence and recording – rigor, security and integrity are paramount.
Commenting on the future trends in the education sector, Lee Rubenstein, Executive Vice President, edX, said, “The world is moving to stackable, modular education in which you focus on the immediate learning needs of a learner unlike current degree programmes in which we teach a long string of courses. The business model of the future in education is to develop lifelong learners in which the delivery of learning is omnichannel, making it more accessible for everyone to learn on the go.”
Sharing the perspective and experience of higher education institutes in Pakistan, Dr Sadia Nadeem, Dean, Fast School of Management, National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences, shared,
“We even intend to retain online learning post Covid-19 and the teachers have to embrace blended learning as a new normal. HEC’s guidelines for faculty readiness to teach online are very useful. In online learning, there’s also a need for a change in university-student contracts as onus of learning is more on students and they have to self-motivate themselves to progress. Also government needs to ensure there’s access to reliable internet in every part of the country.”