The future of Sindh’s education is digital

E-learning classroom set up in Thatta; educationists urge more such facilities

Kashif Hussain March 22, 2022
Professor Dr Shahid R Mir teaches underprivileged students in far flung areas of Sindh through online application. Photo: express


If the Coronavirus pandemic has taught the people of the province anything, it is that the need for digital education and e-learning is greater than ever. Couple this with the fact that remote areas of Sindh have little access to quality education, and the method of teaching makes all the more sense.

Taking note of the situation, a professor at the Institute of Business Administration has embarked on a mission to arm people of all ages in Sindh, including women, with an education through digital classrooms.

IBA Assistant Professor Dr Shahid R Mir has earlier been instrumental in introducing digital technology to Tharparkar’s skilled women. He has enabled them to network with the country’s leading designers to adapt their handicrafts to market requirements.

Now, he has developed an e-learning model through which teachers, based in the city, will be able to provide online education to children and adults in remote areas of the country with the help of audiovisual materials.

Dr Shahid has selected the underdeveloped area of Thatta for this purpose. A digital classroom has been set up in the space of a school built by an NGO. The classroom consists of a solar power system, a large LED screen, a laptop, CCTV cameras, speakers and microphones.

Dr Shahid has also created a unique portal for e-learning, with the help of which, teachers will be able to easily communicate with students sitting hundreds of kilometres away by using their laptops.

Pakistan is the second-largest country in the world when it comes to the proportion of out-of-school children. Across the nation, 23 million children, between the ages of five and 16, are out of school. In Sindh, this number is around seven million.

There are many reasons children stay away from schools, such as no teachers and no regular teaching schedule. These issues are the ones motivating Dr Shahid to educate the children away from school.

The results of this experimental digital class, which started in February 2022, are very encouraging. In just a few weeks, children from the backward areas of Thatta have become familiar with English words, counting, as well as English and Urdu nursery rhymes.

Dr Shahid says that he has a long association with the underdeveloped areas of Sindh, especially regions of Tharparkar district.

He believes that if the people of a these areas are provided with a source of employment, many fundamental problems will be solved, including malnutrition, and poverty.

He adds that to improve the quality of life in the areas of Sindh, they are working on a project to train people for health, education and employment by using digital platforms. A communication model has been developed in this respect.

“Teachers in Sindh’s schools do not come at all, and even if they do come, they do not teach children regularly. These school structures are primarily empty and deserted,” Dr Shaid bemoans.

Read More: ‘Promoting education top priority’

On the one hand, he is personally teaching young educationists digitally in Karachi by using audiovisual materials and modern methods of communication. On the other hand, he is organising a pilot school in Thatta.

According to Dr Shahid, the lack of internet and electricity is a significant problem for e-learning education. “The solution has been found through technology.”

He continues that from Thatta to Tharparkar, special devices can be used to amplify Internet signals. “The digital classroom will also be used for community medical counselling, women’s health and hygiene awareness, and local skills development.”

He continues there is a need to invest in a project that the government or private sector can provide for through its social services budget. Dr Shahid has spent up to Rs500,000 out of his own pocket to build a digital classroom.

“Private institutions can adopt one or more schools, which will help carry out this mission,” he says.

According to Dr Shahid, the children of Tharparkar have shown a keen interest in e-learning. “Children of all ages participated and it involved a large number of girls.

Due to the lack of schools and teachers, parents employ their young children in household chores or in a place where there is a small daily income. Holding digital and online classes will help connect such children with education and shape their future.


Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2022.


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