Quite recently, millions of Rupees Embezzled in Punjab E-Learn Program by school heads due to poor planning and implementation.
In February 2015, Punjab Government decided to distribute 60,000 free tablets among school teachers in Punjab. It was planned that projectors will also be provided to these teachers to help them teach with the help of latest technology in schools which was apparently a progressive plan.
It was designed in order to elevate the level of education in the province and to digitize the schools and education system, under E-Learn program. The model was inspired by the practice in other developed countries.
The first phase of the E-Learn was scheduled to be completed in the financial year 2014-15, where 20,000 schools were to be provided with latest tablets with digitized content inside them.
Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) as the technology partner in the E-Learn program then vowed to convert the curriculum of grade 6 to grade 10 into digital format.
But unfortunately, the model because of inefficient and incapable management and implementation has failed badly at the school level.
In the first place the government provided tablets to few hundred teachers for free, but then the resources allocated for the purpose were transferred to other ends, and the school heads were ordered to purchase “Tabs of their Choice” at “Their Own Expense” i-e from the available school funds.
So, as the model and specs were not fixed in the order, the little school fund in the primary schools of Punjab was “used” for purchasing these tabs.
Reliable sources in the department have shared some of the exclusive documents with us in a bid to take the matter to the higher level.
To keep the anonymity of our sources intact, we have removed the names of schools, head teachers, focal person, phone numbers and centers, tehsil and district names from the data.
If you look at the above picture, it is quite evident that within a week, these schools have purchased different models of Tabs ranging from Rs. 7500 to Rs. 24,000. The amount “spent” on the purchase of these tabs was dependent on the available amount in the school fund.
Second hand & Replica instead of new tabs
According to our findings into the scam, we have found out that second hand and replica models have been purchased in the name of original new tabs. This was made possible because the model, specs, and amount were not mentioned in the orders, which is evident from the letter sent to schools by the government.
Therefore, the school heads have taken full advantage of the situation by “digitizing” their home through these tablets.
Talking to the More News, a school head on the condition of anonymity said that PITB has forced us to buy the Tabs for the app which never works.
Talking about the PITB, LND Software (Quick Test Public), designed to be used for student testing in these tabs, Kanwal Saba, a class 3rd teacher tells her experience about the app in these words;
“It is not working, after installation it asks for internet connection and then takes several minutes to get loaded, and that takes longer n longer n longer to get started… Pathetic”.
Sana Ullah Shoaib, another primary teacher, said that this app does not work on Danny tab, so both app and tab are useless for us. Zeeshan Shahid, another grade three teachers, has experienced that app badly fails to display math questions correctly. Also, the result does not show where the assessee stands as compared to expected level of literacy with respect to his age and grade.
Another head teacher said, “This app is nothing but a wastage of time. How brilliant people in the Arfa Technology Park think that one tab is enough to test my class of 83 with this indigent app? Even the students of 1st year ICS can design a better app than this, she expressed her anger”.
However, the problem is not with the app alone; it is with the tabs too, that are not capable enough to run the app smoothly as every school has purchased the tab at their own whim and will.
It is practically impossible to test hundreds of students in a single school through one tab. What a digitization it would be when one student is taking a substandard test on an unstable tablet and all others are busy nudging one another?
What is the significance of this test when it is full of mistakes, unable to test the bright and average student equally, cannot compare the expected standards with the real ones and cannot indicate the areas that the teacher shall focus to make that student perform better?
It is a perfect example of running a “copy good ground zero” program. Digitization of schools by our government means “One Tab – One School” and unfortunately, we have lost all those school funds in this twaddle exercise which were intended to be used in minor school purchases like stationary, repairing of furniture, postal expenditures, immediate support for destitute students and refreshment of teachers.
Moreover, if we see the content of the test, it is shaky, full of punctuation and spelling mistakes, vague questions and very ordinary. In fact, a closer look reveals that both tab and app measure nothing in the end.
Above, we have exclusively brought the facts to your kind notice because the authorities in the PITB and Punjab Education Department have turned a blind eye as Millions of Rupees Embezzled in Punjab E-Learn Program.
Will the Chief Minister Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif take notice? Question remains…