As the pandemic spread globally, schools all over the world were challenged with an unprecedented dilemma. Educational institutions became potential hubs of covid19 spread and were shut down. As per UNICEF, more than 168 Million Children have been forced to stay out of school for more than a year missing integral years of education.
This led to an urgent technological disruption creating a new era of virtual schooling allowing children to continue education using the power of the internet. Teachers had to bring themselves up to speed to new ways of engaging and imparting knowledge to children of all ages. The majority of teachers had not yet been properly equipped with the knowledge and certification needed to teach remotely and digitally. To address this issue, the Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training joined hands with Tech Valley and Google to scale up the Google for Education pilot program in government schools across Islamabad.
Under the pilot program previously, Tech Valley Pakistan’s Google certified team added and incorporated 4500+ students and 500+ faculty members in Google for Education Admin Portal. 100+ teachers from all the schools were trained on how to use Google tools to carry out distance and digital learning at their schools, and more than 20 Google classrooms were activated in schools across Islamabad.
After the success of the pilot program, Google has decided to step up the program and partner with the Ministry to revamp 450 more schools & colleges in Islamabad. Nick Bauer, Public Policy Manager at Google, said, “We would like to thank the Ministry of Education for giving us this opportunity to demonstrate how Pakistani students and teachers can achieve learning outcomes with Google Workspace for Education’s free suite of tools. The tools are specifically designed to make collaboration easier, streamline instruction, and keep your learning environment secure.”
To officially launch the program, an MOU was signed between the parties at the Ministry of Federal Education where representatives from Google, Ministry, and Tech Valley Were present. In this regard, Federal Secretary for Education, Farah Hamid, said, “We have a great working relationship with Tech Valley Pakistan projects and look forward to scaling up this program. In the future, we hope to include more Google programs and build a long-term relationship with Google to work in the digitizing of the education sector”.
Umar Farooq, CEO Tech Valley Pakistan said: “Our team is extremely excited to digitize the government education institutes of Islamabad as per the vision of Prime Minister’s Digital Pakistan. Throughout the pilot project, Google & Ministry of Education have been highly supportive in transforming the schools & colleges of Islamabad.”
The Ministry of Federal Education has been putting in constant efforts throughout the pandemic to safeguard the student’s future and their educational interests along with putting their lives on priority. The present government is extremely invested in different Ed-tech initiatives and it has been included in core plans of government policy.
COVID has triggered technology intervention and digitizing the schools with Google tools will help ensure the safety of the students as well as enable them to continue learning in a distant virtual environment even after the pandemic.