The project was a unique attempt to use Information and Communication Tools (ICTs) for the professional development of teachers in remote areas where there is a lack of resources to train the teachers in conventional, out of the class room, manner. As we know more than one-third of the world’s adult population, most living in the developing world, has no or very limited access to printed knowledge, new skills, technologies and training facilities that could improve the quality of their lives.
Inequalities in access to education continue to pose major barriers in the developing world, and the delivery of cost-effective and quality education remains a persistent problem. In the attempt to find viable solutions to these problems, ICT-PDT Project was designed, developed and implemented in remote areas of KPK and Punjab.
A cadre of teachers, willing to participate in the project has been provided internet enabled mobile handsets and necessary training to download the training content for use in class room. Of the many different forms of ICTs, mobile phones are thought, for several reasons, to be a particularly suitable tool for advancing education in developing regions.
First, mobile phones are the most prevalent ICT in the developing world, and the penetration rate is rising rapidly. In Pakistan, mobile penetration has doubled within a short span of time. Also relevant is the fact that mobile phone ownership is increasingly more common in the lower socioeconomic segments of society.
Training workshops were conducted at the home towns of participants hence needing no or very less travel and hassle to join the training. The majority of teachers trained were female who are more often not allowed by their families to attend training at distant areas especially where lodging is required.
-In consultation with Ministry of Education, senior teachers and other stake holders a comprehensive course material for teachers training was designed by Agahi/Mishal including syllabus and teaching aids.
-A dedicated server was established and necessary software was acquired to upload the content in audio visual format on server for retrieval by teachers on their mobile handsets through internet.
-Teachers were selected through a consultative process to participate in the program. Selection criteria included basic knowledge of IT, formal education, location of school and willingness to be a part of the initiative.
-Selected teachers were given basic training on the use of selected mobile handset and use of data from NED server databank.
– A monitoring system was devised to track record of performance and level of participation by selected teachers, trouble shooting of problems encountered and monitoring of program efficacy for development of second phase of the project.
-Transfer of ownership of the initiative to teachers showing best results and effective use of material while delivering their class lectures.
The project was partnered by UNESCO Pakistan and NOKIA and supported by Provincial and Federal Education Ministries and a few partner NGOs.