In episode 19 of Lit’EDTech, Daastan invites members of Amal Academy to talk about the innovative capacity building models.
Meet the panelists
The panel includes three employees of the Amal Academy. Firstly, Mr. Muhammad Ghazi who is the curriculum manager, talks much about innovation at the grassroots level. Secondly, we have Miss. Sahar, the program manager, who focuses on the goals of Amal Academy. Finally Miss. Fatima, the program associate, who delves into the impact Covid has had on education on a holistic level.
Amal Academy was founded by Benje Williams, and Kunal Chawla after completing their MBA at Stanford University. It has been under consistent refinement since its inception. It was founded in 2013 as an education startup funded out of Stanford University. The academy has transformed the lives of more than 5,000 Pakistani graduates. Moreover, their aim is to bridge the income gap in our society by developing soft skills. With the rising need to bridge the gap between the public and private sector of education, Amal Academy stands as the facilitator.
Innovation in Education (Case Study : Amal Academy)
Student-centric education is the need of the hour. It involves project based learning. In addition, this type of learning deviates from the traditional rote-learning methodology.
Mr. Ghazi emphasizes that innovation in education is not restricted to simple methodology. It also pertains to the tools that are utilized- which includes technology. Therefore, it is important to teach students the basics rather than to simply expect them to adapt to the changes. With this mindset the “innovation that we are implementing becomes relevant and digestible”. Moreover, contextualisation of these innovations within the job market is the way to ensure relevancy.
Education in Pakistan: a work in progress
Within Pakistan it is important to take note of the inequality between the public and private sector of education. Amal Academy makes sure that it is not the “brand name” of one’s educational institution that guarantees them the jobs they require. Instead, it is only inadequate information that affects a person’s professional life. Thus, they focus on taking final year students from public sector institutes and help “them understand the competitive job market”. Furthermore, Amal Academy seeks to distance itself from the flaws present within the traditional education system.
The impact of Covid on the Education sector
While conversing with Miss. Fatima it soon became apparent that the onset of the pandemic forced an educational learning curve for all stakeholders involved. While initially the emphasis was on rote learning, now there is a focus on questioning the critical thinking abilities of students. Moreover, It becomes a question of efficient learning now that the knowledge is within everyone’s reach.
Teachers as Learners: Redefining Education
Perhaps what truly sets Amal Academy apart is its redefinition of the teacher’s role as a learner as well. According to Miss. Fatima, the willingness to learn by teachers and administrations has a drastic impact on the learning of students.
For these reasons they constantly try to measure the effectiveness of the methodologies being implemented. For it is “very important to remember that teachers are also learners” who are simply ahead of the curve. The panelists emphasise on the need to spark discourse surrounding unequal opportunities.
“There is a disparity in our education sector which we need to talk about”.
Lastly, they also highlight the importance of finding out one’s passion projects. The next batch for Amal Academy will start in August. Whereas, currently the summer semester is on going and applications are still open for all those interested.
We hope you are enjoying the Lit’EDTech Fiesta. You can stream episode 19 here. For more literary goodness, stay tuned.