The result of 8th Class Board Examination is out, and the province which quite heavily advertised its educational schemes and projects failed to show anything remarkable. Out of the 36 districts of Punjab, Lahore stood at 36th position highlighting the epitome of the failed education system. The city now has wide roads and metros running across the city but houses students who are the victim of low-quality education.
Under E-learn initiative, we have seen that the government distributed tablets to eight public schools in Punjab but when it came to results, like other educational schemes we were left with dead silence.
Last year Punjab Government allocated Rs. 312.8 billion for education and apart from the advertisements of educational schemes like Parho Punjab Barho Punjab, there is no significant change in this sector.
Flawed priorities of the government make us all glad about the billions wasted on the development projects that can wait a few years and not let us recognize the education emergency in the country.
Punjab government’s failed attempt to integrate education with technology through giving away tablets and laptops makes one think whether our government wants to bring a digital revolution by continuing to raise intellectually poor people in Pakistan?
The Internet serves various purposes across the globe, for some, it is the way they earn their living, and for many, it’s the place where one can find cute cat videos (guilty as charged) but the sad reality for Pakistan is that we still take this miracle for granted.
The Inclusive Internet Index, released earlier this year by The Economist, an English weekly magazine, revealed that out of 75 countries, Pakistan stands at 68th position on the level of literacy. The study assesses how literate population accesses the Internet for useful purposes, such as to read news, access health or educational information.
Despite flawed and destructive education system in Pakistan, the Internet is one place that if utilized effectively can bring about a new way of learning in the country. The Internet that we mostly use to keep our social status updated and to try new music and videos offer us virtual classrooms that can be entered with just a few clicks.
Quality education is celebrated as a luxury in our country, but with the rise in Internet penetration, this gap can easily be filled without the high priced schools and universities. The Internet is filled with many online courses from top rated universities of the world that are free for anyone to join.
How to get Education Online?
Over the course of years, MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) has become a major source of online education where students enroll themselves in their desired course without paying anything and end up learning at their own pace.
Following are various platforms that a person can use to tap into various resources to augment what the current Pakistani education system fails to offer.
edX is a nonprofit organization created by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University in May 2012 and is also one of the massive online course providers, that offers MOOC from the best universities of the world including MIT, Harvard, and many others. It user-friendly, all a person has to do is to register on their website.
The students can also earn university credits through edX for a fraction of a cost. At the end of last year, around 10 million students took more than 1,270 courses online through this platform and as of March 2017, it has more than 110 partners.
Coursera, founded by Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, is an education-focused company that provides a wide range of online courses. Partnered with various universities and organizations around the world, it brings a variety of topics under one umbrella.
One of the best things about this platform is that a person at the same time is attending courses from various universities around the globe. As of February 2017, Coursera had more than 24 million registered users, and it also houses more than 2,000 courses on its site.
Khan Academy is one of the most popular places for people who are looking for an accessible platform to acquire quality education. Founded by educator Salman Khan in 2006, it is a nonprofit organization that produces short lecture videos for Youtube whereas the website provides supplementary materials like exercises, teaching tools, etc.
Khan Academy provides quality education to billions of people around the globe. The company is funded by donations from various philanthropic organizations and offers content in Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, French, Bengali and Hindi languages as well. As of now, its content is being translated into many other languages as well by various volunteers.
It is the hub of all online offerings by the Stanford University which offers both self-paced and session based courses. Though the number of courses on the website is limited, they offer invaluable resources and insights for the students.
It is an initiative by MIT to bring together all of the educational materials from undergraduate to a graduate level where they can be accessed free of cost by anyone online. The courses feature an amalgamation of various interactive demonstrations, textbooks, audios and videos that can also be downloaded to be viewed offline. OCW can also be accessed via iPhones with LectureHall mobile application
Udacity started off in 2012 with free online computer science classes and is now a large platform for offering MOOC. Apart from university-style lectures, one thing that truly differentiates Udacity from other MOOC sites is its focus on vocation training courses. Udacity also features various quizzes and follows up on the lectures with prescribed homework and assignments.
It is yet another online resource platform that offers various online courses and video lectures from the leading universities of the world. The site is like Netflix for online courses but better because it’s open where it can be embedded
Course Buffet is relatively different site than the ones mentioned above as it provides not the actual courses and lectures but serves as an online catalog for various courses offered by different sites and schools. It is just like a library, where a person needs to look at the catalog to get an idea of where they will find the relevant information or book that they require at the moment.
An extension of TED’s education initiative, TED-ED offers various informative and interactive videos that provide knowledge-rich experience to the viewer. The videos are aimed at both educators and the students. They can be accessed through their website and more conveniently through their YouTube channel. It also runs various series carrying a single theme and exploring various topics around it while making it fun at the same time.
University of Oxford Podcasts
The site offers open audio and video content featuring recordings of series of various lectures. Many of the podcasts are divided into specific series, making it easy for people to subscribe and look at multiple lectures on a single topic.
Apart from above mentioned online resources, there are several other websites that also offer free online courses. One of the biggest online sources of education is YouTube that offers various tutorials and lectures, where students can pick and choose the videos that offer them the most value. Though the online education can never replace the university experience, it gives an opportunity to any professor to reach not just 40-50 students but creates an impact on millions of people around the globe.
Online Courses for Children
The world of the internet doesn’t just offer the valuable lessons to the grownups but can also be used as supplementary material for children. Pakistani education system is more focused on grade based education thus killing any and all creative potential of a child.
From the start, they are taught that the only way to excel is to learn everything by heart. Parents spend an enormous amount of money on separate tuitions and academies for their children, but they fail to recognize how they can use the Internet to achieve the same purpose.
Following are some dedicated websites that look towards endowing the gift of knowledge to the young ones:
- National Geographic Kids– it provides fun-filled activities and videos to teach children about the world
- E-learning for Kids– it provides free quality courses for children ages 5 – 12.
- Code Academy– it teaches the young minds how to code
- Youth Digital– it offers coding, animation, and design courses
- Basic Mathematics– it helps children with basic math problems
- TechRocket-it helps kids and teens to learn graphic designing, game designing and how to code
The online world is a vast library that houses the incomprehensible amount of knowledge and data. In our current edition, we have only highlighted a few resources for children, teens, and grownups which can broaden their minds and can give them access to the quality education that has been denied to us by faulty schemes and masked government interests. One can also look for other ways through searching free online courses and videos on the internet themselves.