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British envoy shows interest in Punjab education reforms

Lahore:June 19:Punjab’s IT-based education reforms can be a great model for system-wide change in Egypt's schools so I was keen to meet Dr Umar Saif and learn from his work.

It was stated by British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson on the occasion of a presentation delivered by Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) Chairman Dr Umar Saif at Arfa Software Technology Park, according to a press release issued on Saturday. Casson said that the British government was assisting in Egypt’s education system for 21.3 million students with problem of both volume and quality of output."I am very interested in learning about both the technical methodology of system-wide education reform in Punjab, the data systems, transparency-cum-accountability systems and the political management of reforms such as incentives, building alliances, overcoming vested interests, etc."

He said, "I am also much interested in the role played by innovative approaches parallel to the traditional public sector, including Pakistan Education Trust and low-cost private school networks.”

Dr Saif apprised him of the e-Learning Punjab, Open Data of Smart School Monitoring and Literacy Drive. He said, “Punjab is the first province in Pakistan that has made its monitoring data of 52,695 public schools open and any citizen can challenge its credibility while sitting home. It is a large example of transparency and accountability enabled by the smart technology. Results are also very encouraging as attendance of students and teachers has increased to more than 90 percent. The visits by the monitoring staff have also been made evidence-based and transparent. Textbooks of grades 6 to 10 have been digitised with simulations, animations, videos supported with Urdu voice may revolutionise the teaching and learning process in public schools." He said the government had opted to deliver 120,000 tablets among teachers and students to transform the traditional system into high-tech system.

Casson said that it was an exciting and excellent conversation on the reforms brought about  in Punjab education sector through technology. “I hope this experience will prove much fruitful to be incorporated in Egypt.”   Dr Saif presented a souvenir to the British ambassador to Egypt.The news.