Originally posted on Dawn
Jazz, Pakistan’s leading digital company, and the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) focusing on the need to prioritise digital education.
The initiative intends to improve student learning outcomes, teacher efficacy, and the quality of educational content nationwide.
This partnership has a nationwide ambition to raise public awareness, inspire and engage Pakistani youth so they learn digitally on critical financial literacy; e-commerce basics; health and hygiene; agriculture and STEM knowledge. In-class content is often archaic and sometimes not industry-relevant. Online content collaborations such as this one advance the overall development objectives of Pakistan’s vision 2025 faster and more effectively.
‘DisruptEd: Ideas that matter’
As part of this collaboration, a speaker series, DisruptEd: Ideas that matter, was conducted to serve as a platform for stimulating discourse and disruptive ideas that connect different facets of the contemporary ecosystem and create pathways for un-learning and re-imagining.
The inaugural talk for this series was given by Aamir Ibrahim, CEO Jazz, on ‘Leadership in the Age of Rapid Digitalisation’. In his keynote on how to be a leader in the age of rapid digitalisation, he discussed the discourse on disruptive ideas that connect digital learning to youth.
The second lecture series took place on June 13 and 14 in LUMS, Lahore and Aga Khan University Karachi, respectively.
Over 700,000 students nationwide have attended these lectures so far in the auditoriums and live broadcasts on LUMS’ Facebook page and DigitalPakistan.pk
These talks were conducted by Dr Barbara Oakley, a digital learning expert who has been teaching millions of students globally over the past few decades.
Dr Oakley announced distribution of her ‘learning to learn’ course material to the DisruptEd initiative for free.
The course remains one of the most downloaded online instruction pack with over 2.5 million views on how students learn and retain knowledge, and how to effectively work towards being a domain expert. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) often outnumber the reach to students of leading universities for the same content.
Prior to Dr Oakley’s session, a panel of various renowned academia and private sector leaders held a discussion on how to transform Pakistan’s digital learning agenda.
The main premise of the conversation was to identify the core inefficiencies in Pakistan’s education system and to recommend the optimal way forward to digitalise education in a way that expands industry and economic growth.
When asked about the enormity of the scale that the system has to respond to in the delivery of education, Dr Tahir Andrabi highlighted that while the demand for education has skyrocketed, crisis lies at the end of supply of education, where provision is barely keeping up.
From the number of schools to the quality and diversity of education required, Dr Andrabi stated that government schools are sub par, whereas private sector accounts for a very minor percentage of the system. He concluded his remarks by explaining that as a nation, we simply do not have the resources for mass reform.
Commenting on trends evident in the local job market, Ali Naseer said that while several job roles will become obsolete in the upcoming years, twice as many will be created. He said that Jazz is morphing too and focusing leveraging connectivity in areas such as mobile banking; wellness and education.
“With the data we now have and the technology that now exists, we are in a position in Pakistan to make quantum leaps in development areas.”
“This is what Jazz is interested in and that’s what we want to collaborate on with educational experts,” he added.
Dr Kamran Asdar Ali focused on the importance of a liberal arts education and how the existing system, the lack of curiosity and focus on critical thinking has led us to the current crises. Dr Ali explained that a liberal arts education consists of two parts: equipping the student with a knowledge-base through a multi-disciplinary approach, whilst simultaneously instilling a sense of what it means to be a good citizen.
Concluding his note, he asked: “How do we operate while being more conscious of the world and changing technologies and massive disruptions in the coming years?”
Dr Arshad Ahmad explained that LUMS has an important role to play in education as an equaliser. He listed down three focal areas that the university needs to focus on. Firstly, how can LUMS support and collaborate with other universities to improve professional faculty development? He said it is also important to listen to students and give them a voice about what they want to learn.
Digital learning takes on a special meaning in Pakistan because it is the sixth most populous country in the world with a demographic profile where 2 out of 3 people are in their 20s or even younger.
This partnership follows global case studies, where the connectivity industry and universities are reshaping the global future by reimagining job creation. They do this through entrepreneurship and learning through digital spaces.
Jazz is an established market leader connecting millions of Pakistanis and creating opportunities to improve their economic and social wellbeing. CEO Jazz, Aamir Ibrahim said, “We are glad to have partnered with LUMS to roll out our digital learning initiative across Pakistan.”
LUMS is a national comprehensive university that has produced over 13,000 alumni who have made their mark in leading companies and not-for-profit organizations in Pakistan as well as around the globe. Applauding the initiative, Dr Arshad Ahmad said, “When you think about the empowerment of youth, you have to think Jazz.”
ICT readiness scores and internet penetration ranking of Pakistan are well below the global and regional average. There is an urgency to not just address the series of missteps but allow for policy-making, civil society, and academia to work closely with corporates to ensure a young Pakistani has job and innovation opportunities he deserves.
Jazz and LUMS came together because the transformation of Pakistan into a digitally ready state requires more collaboration.
Excellence rests securely on the ability to have fast, reliable and nationwide connectivity.