Lit’EDTech Fiesta | 01 | Education, Technology and Accountability in Covid-19

In Lit’EDTech Fiesta episode 1, Daastan brings together three passionate educationists. They navigate the relationship between education and technology in a pandemic-ridden world. Ms. Zehra Arshad is a veteran of the education sector. Thus, she brings in precise insight on the issues plaguing the education system. Furthermore, she widens the discourse by elevating it to a global level. 

Mr. Mujtaba Zaidi is an educationist attempting to challenge the stereotypical representation of arts. Therefore, he brings in critical discourse surrounding the need for redistribution of resources.

Finally, we have with us Ms. Hafsa Shah. Ms. Shah is a government university lecturer. Thus, she highlights issues of quantity and quality as well as accessibility.

Educational Landscape at the Grassroots Level

All three panelists focus specifically on the unimaginable disparity between the mainstream and marginalized groups in terms of the educational opportunities. As Ms. Arshad states, “national educational policies are constructed in an isolated manner.”  Consequently, the on-ground situation is negated. Therefore, the gap between policy change and efficient implementation is further widened. 

Ms. Shah adopts an intersectional approach to the marginalized communities. In addition, she talks about all those the state turns a blind eye towards; 

“From the girls who are forced to drop out after primary school because of a lack of secondary schools within the radius of the area, to the poor and to the disabled.”

Ms. Shah identifies the problems with Educational Landscape at the grassroot level as:

  • Upholding policies that value quantity over quality.
  • The accessibility of a holistic education to be almost non existent levels.
  • An almost systematic pattern of factors that force students to drop out.

Education and Technology: Modern Age Revolutions

The onset of Covid-19 has forced a change within the education sector. Similarly, technology has forced the stakeholders to reimagine what they had taken for granted. It has bridged, to a large extent, the gaps between different segments of society. Hence, making content accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time. 

However, there is an acknowledgement of infrastructural issues that restrict this accessibility. Not only has the recent situation forced a radical move towards adapting, but it has also made the flaws within our system more blatant.  

Education beyond the Curriculum

With everything becoming available online, the question of what exactly the role of the teachers is becomes important. The key takeaway suggests that in a successful education system, the learning is beyond the scope of the curriculum.

“You are taught to open your mind to unimaginable discoveries, to mold strong ethics and to foster empathy proportional to what the struggling world demands.“

Mr. Zaidi aims to spread this ideology on a grassroots level through the reclamation of Arts as a vital learning experience for the average Pakistani student.

Active Projects Revolutionizing Education in Pakistan

Both Ms. Arshad and Mr. Zaidi, introduce the audience to a range of active projects within the education sector. Through this, they aim to eradicate the loopholes made obvious by the pandemic situation. Mr. Zaidi’s projects include “Discovering New Artists” and “Global Learners Foundation”. He tries to “bridge the gap” between private school students and marginalized students through a redistribution of resources.

In the end, Ms. Arshad mentions capacity building of communities, vote for education campaigns and engagement with parliamentarians as current active projects. All of these appear to bring forth a national change hoping to bridge the gap between policy and implementation. 

What is evident is that the way we perceive education is changing. Our mediums of conveyance are changing. Likewise, we are becoming more and more aware of our weaknesses. Hence, strengthening our resolve to bring forth the necessary change. 

For more insights into the education sector, stream the full episode here. And stay tuned for upcoming episodes of Lit’EDTech Fiesta!

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