As we are all aware of that the education sector is growing at a phenomenal rate. Being the force and fuel behind the engines of economic growth, education sector will remain a prime priority for governmental objectives in coming years. In Punjab, the reforms agenda in the sector has the backing of highest office (CM’s office). While the integrated mission of access, expansion, inclusion and quality is also turning national.
Intel Pakistan launched the 'ICT in Education Policy Toolkit' at the Education Policy Workshop on 'ICT in Education Policies for Education Transformation' on 6th & 7th June, 2012 at Lahore in collaboration with School Education Department, Government of Punjab. The objective of the forum was to support public sector stakeholders of Punjab in developing and implementing province specific ICT in Education Policies through the toolkit. ICT in education has demonstrated its great potential and utility in achieving scale, learning outcomes and administrative efficiency.
School Education Department, Government of Punjab is finalizing a policy on ICT use in school education. The draft of policy will be made public soon for inviting comments before it is finalized and rolled out. According to department’ sources, the proposed policy will have direction for all practitioners and importantly it will be somewhat aligned with Punjab’s overall IT policy as education is a bigger social sector of critical importance for economic growth. The government wants that all students from classes K-12 should acquire some competence in ICT. The schools can use it for governance, lesson planning, skill development and teacher training. The policy draft in preparation will address the divide and the challenges that the use of technology has brought with it. The ICT technologies have evolved rapidly making today’s technology obsolete tomorrow and policy has to be dynamic to respond to this challenge. In classrooms, ICT use reduces the length of period to just 1/3rd of time, leaving the teacher nearly with 2/3 of time for exploration, experiments and innovative things, blended learning has been proved to be effective in research and on ground it helps make the studies from stressful to joyful, from boring to exciting, from rote learning to discovery and creation of knowledge, and memory to thinking.
The vision is to expand, consolidate, and deepened pervasive use and penetration of ICT so that the gap between formal and informal learning is reduced greatly for leveraging learning for 21st century development in alignment with man power and economic policies. ICT creates effective learning, develops skills of learning to learn, provides skills as life skills, develop creative thinking and creativity. For teachers it helps in curriculum planning with reduced mechanical loads, and being empowered and creative.
School communities are learning to use various aspects of technologies. The technology is anyway in the classrooms and ethical use of technology need to be encouraged. The challenge is that today more information is available with children and teachers have to really keep the pace and catch up. Lots of answers to country’s formidable education challenge of outreach, quality and skill development lie in use of ICT. The educational diversity within the province is peculiar. To make education uniformly available all over the province is a key to developmental process.
Keeping in view the immense benefits of ICT use, the policy is a welcome step and provides an opportunity for increased cooperation among the government, academics and private sector. The technological scene is rapidly transforming the old logic and thinking. Combined with the policy changes, this is seen both as a challenge as well as a window to an ocean of opportunities for passionate educationists, entrepreneurships, professionals and service providers as nation's future (students) gets shaped.