The entire education sector of Pakistan is facing an acute shortage of quality subject teachers. The education system of OPF is not an exception in this regard. The situation is more evident in the OPF institutions located in remote parts of the country from where quality human resource often migrates to bigger cities in search of better opportunities. To overcome these challenges, the educationist across the globe are embedding effective use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to improve student teacher interaction. When ICT is embedded in education system – particularly for improving the teacher and student interactions using ICT, the phenomenon is usually referred as ‘E-Learning’. While realizing the significance of e-Learning for improving Education System, Education Division of OPF has initiated online lectures for providing quality education to students studying at OPF educational institutions at far-flung areas of country. These online lectures are conducted from OPF’s flagship institutions situated at Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The e-Learning Studio Rooms equipped with necessary IT equipment have already been established at these flagship institutions from where online lectures are conducted for the students enrolled at OPF schools operating across far-flung areas of country. This aspect of e-Learning (Online Lectures) is bundled as ‘Synchronous Mode of E-Learning’.
Inauguration of online Lectures
Since the inauguration, online lectures are being started for the approved OPF Educational Institutions. The lectures are initially conducted for 9th and 10th class for 5 subjects i.e. Physics, Chemistry, English, Biology and Maths. Online lectures are also being monitored by Education Division from OPF Head Office, Islamabad. All the lectures are being recorded and accordingly a repository of online lectures is being maintained so that it can be utilized by OPF’s students for enriching their knowledge during preparation for exams.
To deal with the shortage of teachers across various OPF’s Educational Institutions operating in different parts of country and to deliver lectures to a network of classrooms at other OPF institutions, all inter-connected with technology, OPF has selected the following three institutions located in Islamabad and Rawalpindi:
- OPF Boys College Islamabad
- OPF Girls College Islamabad
- OPF Girls Higher Secondary School Rawalpindi
To achieve the above said purpose, following activities have been carried out:
- Established Sound-Proof E-Learning Studios at each of the Leading Institutions mentioned above
- Installed Interactive White Board at E-Learning Studio
- Provisioned Laptop with Focused Camera with pre-installed Net meeting Software
- Installed Dedicated Internet Connection for uploading/airing the online lectures
- Imparted Training to teachers of Leading Institutions to use the Interactive White Board for conducting Online Lectures
The students of following schools receive the online lectures carried out by experienced teachers of OPF’s flagship institutions such as Girls College Islamabad, Boys College Islamabad and Girls Higher Secondary School, Rawalpindi
- OPF Public School, Sheikhupura
- OPF Public School, Sanghar
- OPF Public School, Quetta
- OPF Public School, Karachi
- OPF Public School, Hangu
- Chatter OPF Public School, Kotli
- OPF Public School, Muzaffarabad
To attain the above said purpose successfully, following activities have been carried out:
- Installed Interactive White Board (This is used as Screen when online lectures are carried out while in other time it is used to impart education to students at each of the beneficiary schools)
- Provisioned Laptop with Wide Angle Camera with pre-installed Net meeting Software
- Installed Internet Connection for downloading/receiving the online lectures
- Imparted Training to teachers of Beneficiary Schools to use the Interactive White Board for carrying out Lectures/Classes for its students
Feedback meetings regarding online lectures
In order to improve e-Learning Program and to obtain feedback from concerned Principals of OPF educational institutions regarding online lectures and general impacts of e-Learning program on their respective institutions, the feedback meetings are also being carried out periodically to better steer the e-Learning initiative. For this purpose, meetings are held at OPF’s Head Office, Islamabad under the chairmanship of Director General (Education).
In this regard, two feedback meetings have been conducted successfully. During the meetings, Principals of both Leading Institutions and Beneficiary Institutions provided positive feedback and also recommended doable suggestions to further enhance the program.
Besides conducting online lectures, e-Learning program also includes following activities:
- Access to Digital Content (e.g. e-Books, Video Lectures, Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs etc.)
With respect to Access to Digital Content, Education Division of OPF conducted workshop in collaboration with Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) to train the OPF Teachers to access the digital content developed by PITB. It is important to mention here that PITB in collaboration with Education Department of Punjab Government has launched “eLearn.Punjab” project. It is official repository of free online digitized textbooks augmented with animations, simulations, videos and interactive assessments of Science and Math subjects for grade 6 -10. The website, https://elearn.punjab.gov.pk/ (managed by PITB), can be accessed for 21 Science and Maths textbooks for Grade 6-10 which have been augmented with 13,047 Video Lectures, 592 Simulations, and 1,830 Animations.
In order to train the teachers of OPF on “Effective Utilization of Digital Content” available under eLearn Punjab Project, Education division of OPF conducted three training workshops at Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi in collaboration with (PITB). During these workshops, teachers were informed about the e-Learn Punjab project of PITB. Exhaustive information was provided about the online access of digital content using smart phones, tablets, and computers. Besides accessing the content, the participants were also informed about its offline access particularly in the absence of Internet connection.
Following were the main objectives of workshop:
- It will help teachers of OPF institutions to better access the above-mentioned interactive material
- Subsequent to training, the teachers can better transfer the knowledge to other teachers and their students about utilization of interactive material available at https://elearn.punjab.gov.pk/.
- Besides accessing the digital content from respective schools, students will be able to access the material from their homes during preparation of tests/ exams.
More than 100 teachers have been trained in this regard with latest contemporary methods of teaching using Information Technology to enhance the quality of education in Educational Institutions of OPF. Subsequent to trainings, the knowledge was transferred to students and their parents in order to ensure that students are accessing digital content from their homes.
- Implementation of Learning Management System (LMS).
LMS is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs. This is usually installed in institution where students and teachers are connected online through web-based software application.
With respect to implementation of LMS, Education Division is planning to implement LMS in following educational institutions:
i. OPF Girls College Islamabad
ii. OPF Boys College Islamabad
iii. Girls Higher Secondary School, Rawalpindi
It is important to mention here that these institutions are providing online education to other OPF schools while engaging their experienced teachers however the students of these institutions are not benefited from e-Learning program. With this implementation, the students of these institutions will be the direct beneficiaries. Moreover, the implementation of LMS will help these institutions to better compete with other institutions operating in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
After establishing e-Learning Studios and installation of equipment at each of the leading and beneficiary institutions, e-Learning Program was officially launched on 29th March 2018. Since then more than 300 online lectures are conducted. Following are some of major accomplishments/intended accomplishments in this regard:
- Provision of quality teaching to students enrolled at schools operating at underserved locations.
OPF Public School Hangu can be cited as one of the successful case study where there is a dearth of Physics Teachers. With online lectures, the students are getting quality education from experienced teachers of OPF Boys College, Islamabad.
- Provision of conducting online classes for students enrolled at Pakistani Community Schools operating at GCC Countries.
Pakistan International School, Riyadh is one the pilot schools that will be provided online education through OPF’s flagship institutions in subjects like Pakistan Study and Urdu. The Education Department is in process of procuring the equipment for the school. BOG in its 142nd meeting held on 3rd April 2018 has already approved the extension of OPF’s e-Learning Program to GCC countries, initially to be started in two Pakistani Schools at KSA and UAE.
- Likelihood of collaborating with other International Schools for sharing educational information beneficial to Institutions and Students.
Girls Higher Secondary School, Rawalpindi can be cited as case in this regard. Recently, the school has successfully conducted a live session with Everest English School, Nepal under its International School Award (ISA) program that is being facilitated by British Council, Pakistan.
- Provision of Chinese Language Courses to students of beneficiary schools
The hiring of Chinese Teacher at OPF Girls College, Islamabad is in process. Once hired, he/she will conduct online classes for students of beneficiary schools from e-Learning Studios besides conducting face to face classes for students of OPF Girls College, OPF Boys College and Girls Higher School Rawalpindi.
OPF has completed its pilot project of e-Learning successfully and planning to expand the project to facilitate its remaining institutions to maintain and enhance the quality of education. In this regard, OPF has premeditated to expand e-Learning Program to the remaining OPF educational institutions in the course of current year.
With respect to conducting online lectures, the scheduling of online classes will be made as per demand of the beneficiary schools for specific grade and subject.