Pakistan Ranks Lowest in Digital Education Readiness among ADB Developing Member Countries

Pakistan is the one that is least prepared for digital education amongst the developing member countries (DMCs) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Asian Development Bank Report on Digital Education Readiness In Pakistan

The Bank in its report titled “Toward Mature Digital Education Ecosystems, the Digital Education Readiness Framework,” the Bank emphasized that Pakistan has a number of areas that need to be improved, including its low internet connectivity (only 34.1% of households have access), slow fixed broadband speeds, expensive fixed line broadband, and low access to electricity in rural areas.

Uzbekistan and Indonesia are the two nations that are most prepared for digital education compared to the model nation. Pakistan is the nation that is least prepared, followed by Fiji.

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The Provider’s pillar has the lowest performance across all five pillars, with six of the ten DMCs (ranked from highest to lowest score) in the “initial” category of readiness:  Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mongolia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, and Fiji.

The other four nations (Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Uzbekistan) fall under the “emerging” readiness group.

The normalized score of the model country and the highest-scoring country differ by over 45 points.

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The 10 DMCs do well in keeping their mobile broadband costs to a low proportion of GNI per capita, but fixed broadband prices vary widely. Bangladesh, Mongolia, and Uzbekistan have the lowest broadband prices, followed by Cambodia, Indonesia, and Pakistan which have the least affordable costs.

Access to Electricity:

The majority of nations score well in terms of urban electricity access, with all or nearly all urban households having access to power.

The 10 DMCs’ rates of access to rural power range from 90% to 100%. In Pakistan, which is somewhat behind, 41.3% of rural families lack access to electricity.

With an average share of 81.7 percent of TV-owning households, most nations perform admirably on this metric. In the countries under consideration, the proportion of 1,000 people who subscribe to cable TV ranges from low to moderate.

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Of all the nations for which data is available, Pakistan has the highest subscriber rate.

Even while Pakistan’s household TV coverage percentage, at 62.8 percent, is on the lower end, it outpaces all other nations in terms of the number of cable TV subscribers (with almost 482 subscriptions per 1,000 people).

The Government of Pakistan has created “Open Courseware” as one of its many projects, which acts as a digital library of course materials for college students.

Pakistan’s National Education Policy

The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training’s 2017 publication, Pakistan’s National Education Policy 2017–2025, makes the following observations:

  • provision of access to ICT in schools
  • use of ICT to improve the quality of teaching and to enhance student learning
  • development of corresponding approaches to ICT in education
  • building on best practices in current ICT programs, and
  • Increasing the capacity of educational institutions is one of its ICT policy goals. However, the policy does not go into detail on the scope of device access.

The policy’s “revision of the curriculum and teacher training system, including pre-service and in-service, in order to make it learner-centered and IT-based” is one of its focal points. There is no mention of a digital curriculum, though.

Largely in response to the pandemic, the government has put into place a variety of measures to offer widespread access to digital information. The “TeleSchool” program is one such endeavor.

It consists of “educational programs broadcast on television across the country that promote online education for students from grades 1–12, emphasizing English, Mathematics, Urdu, and Science subjects.”

The study findings indicate that there is a lack of teacher training in ICT capabilities, with an emphasis on providing online education.

One of the specialists who were questioned observed that the scant training programs available are mostly concerned with teaching instructors how to use IT tools rather than developing or presenting a curriculum.

Although the majority of teachers acknowledged that they also produce their own teaching materials, the content’s structure is often straightforward, consisting mostly of documents and presentations.

Regarding Internet quality, school teachers can utilize it for the majority of tasks, such as watching videos, consuming audio information, and downloading papers.

However, downloading heavy stuff like audio clips and videos from the Internet is less advisable. Teachers in higher education and TVET reported generally good Internet quality across the board.

Need for improvement in Schools:

There is a definite need for improvement in schools when it comes to the institutional support provided to teachers in providing online education.

Most schools collect and analyze data using paper-based techniques. Additionally, the majority of school teachers said they didn’t get IT support for resolving hardware and software problems.

However, it appears that such assistance is easily accessible for teachers in higher education and TVET.

The majority of students in Pakistan’s primary and secondary schools, colleges, and TVET programs are competent in a range of digital skills, from more fundamental ones (such as using social media platforms, organizing and storing files, and discovering information online) to more sophisticated ones (like using productivity software and productive tools).

A large number of students at all levels have learned how to use the tools needed for digital learning on their own, with university teachers being the most likely to affirm this. Less than half of pupils in elementary and secondary schools, higher education, and TVET levels have access to a personal computer or laptop in their homes, which is below average.

The survey shows a comparable percentage in terms of TV availability. However, smartphone access is widespread.

Just over thirty percent of teachers across Pakistan who teach in elementary, secondary, higher education, and TVET levels use private EdTech platforms. Additionally, relatively few teachers in primary and secondary schools are allegedly using these kinds of tools to interact with pupils.

Pakistan has one of the lowest percentages of ICT graduates (1.1% of all higher education graduates) among the 10 DMCs.

Global Partnership for Education (GPE):

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) counts Pakistan as a partner nation. The province of Sindh utilized a $66 million GPE grant to make sure teachers were sent to where they were needed most. while in Balochistan, apps maintain records of teacher attendance by recording when teachers are inside a certain geo-radius of the school; they work offline in more remote areas, uploading details when they have internet access, according to the GPE report on progress on grant usage by Sindh and Balochistan areas from October 2020.

In addition, it says that the grant money is helping to launch an “ambitious distance learning program throughout Pakistan.”

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My name is Muhammad Ehsan I had been part of different websites and news agencies as well. I am interested in Media and news writing.

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