Pakistan’s education outcomes are appalling. Most students have a four-year achievement gap by the time they are in sixth grade. The wide gap between students’ actual and expected learning according to Pakistan’s national curriculum implies that public education has failed spectacularly.
No amount of funds spent on teacher salaries, improved school infrastructure, or better oversight will be effective unless there is a singular focus on improving student learning outcomes. Indeed, any and all investment in the education sector should be gauged ultimately by this single measure: improved student learning outcomes. The target of education reform must be to improve student attainment rapidly and at large scale.
Technology adoption in education can help to bridge the gap between teacher quality and student needs. It can enable teachers to become more effective by focusing on the needs of students, coaching them as they progress through their learning. And it can provide students with unparalleled high quality instructional resources to understand concepts and develop analytical and problem solving skills.
Not every teacher in a school needs to gain skills to support online learning. One motivated and trained teacher can support blended learning for up to one hundred students in a rotation model. This form of teacher support allows us to both individualise learning and to have a low teacher-student ratio. Quality can therefore come at a very affordable cost.
Technology solutions in education can allow us to leapfrog learning at large scale. We need to prioritise this effort, with an initial focus on those schools where technology access is easier, whose school principals are willing to adopt change, and which have some teachers that are motivated to gain new skills.
Any blended learning effort must closely track student performance, to demonstrate that it delivers results. EDeQUAL has shown repeatedly and conclusively that its blended learning solution delivers results in student learning outcomes that are four times faster than normal classroom-based learning methods. Smart implementation of technology-enabled education will be an essential component of meaningful reform of Pakistan’s education system.