To make education accessible to all, the Punjab government has initiated a project by making grade six to matriculation books available online for students.
The initiative not only publishes books online but also provides students with video lectures on every topic in each book, facilitating them to study lectures on various topics of their syllabus from the comfort of their homes.
The website, elearn punjab, has a total of 2,298 videos, 527 simulations, 733 animations, 1,881 figures, 2,715 pages and 944 assessments. It aims to impart education to students who cannot afford tuition fees for all subjects including mathematics, chemistry, physics, and biology.
The Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB), an autonomous body which comes under the provincial Planning and Development Division, is currently supervising the project in collaboration with the School Education Department and Punjab Textbook Board (PTB), informed Muhammad Imtiaz, a PTB official.
“The board initiated this project in September last year on the directions of the chief minister who inaugurated the project in January this year,” PITB team leader and senior programme manager Muhammad Kashif Farooq told The Express Tribune.
He elaborated that the board had received soft content from the publishers of textbooks which they compiled to upload online, adding that the board then brought together relevant videos, assimilations, simulations/games and assessments, selected by a special team, on the website.
“We are also going to launch a DVD version from next month so the people who do not have access to internet can benefit from the programme,” Farooq said. In addition to the DVDs, the project is expected to further expand to make the course available over smart phones through mobile apps.
He explained that the facility will also be made available in computer labs of over 4,000 government schools so students can utilise the facility even without the availability of internet.
“A meeting in this regard has been arranged with the heads of the government schools on Saturday to give them an overview of the technology,” the programme manager explained.
The facility, however, will not just be limited to state-run schools. Private schools have already expressed their interest in this method of learning. The board has already briefed Lahore College of Arts and Sciences’ schools, St Anthony High School, Danish Schools and the Allied School in this regard.
The project’s next major step is to set up the e-courses for classes one to five and 11-12, which they aim to complete by November or December this year.
Giving details of the initiate, PITB Chairman Dr Umar Saif said two teams were already working on it. “The entire country can benefit from this initiative,” he said, adding that O-level courses will also be made available online.
“The board is currently working on getting courses of subjects like Pakistan Studies, Islamiat and English online,” he said, referring to the O-level subjects.
Shedding light on some of their video initiatives, Saif said recently they uploaded an animated video on the Two Nation Theory and are now working on 30 poems, in collaboration with Iqbal Academy, written by Allama Muhammad Iqbal.
“We are trying to make animated videos on Iqbal’s poems like Pahaar and Gulehri for the students,” he said, adding “This will create interest among children and help them understand the essence of Iqbal’s message in an interesting way”.
The board plans to hold a special screening of these poems on Iqbal Day, Saif informed.
“Teachers and students both are welcoming the initiative and we are getting a positive response from all quarters. We are determined to improve ourselves and to be more sophisticated with the passage of time,” he said.
He added that the initiative would reduce the dependence of students on tuition centres and guides by providing learners with easy access to the maximum resources.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2014.