I think that the ilmapps challenge that has been launched by DFID and Pakistan Innovation Foundation (PIF) http://learninginnovatio n.pif.org.pk/ilm-apps-challenge/ is a great initiative to try and focus minds from the tech space to solve the pressing problems facing education in Pakistan. I had the opportunity of mentoring a team that had entered the competition from Karachi- Edequal. (www.edequal.pk). I was impressed with their model, and the degree to which they have been able to digitise content and testing for mathematics. The only area where I felt more research is needed is that they insist that students have a basic understanding of English, before starting the maths section. The reason is that the content is all in English (sourced from around the world).
Having said that, what I liked about their approach is the assessment system. I want to lay the foundations of a system that works in replacement of the traditional educational system in Pakistan, and not work in consonance with it, as the current Edequal and other systems like Jugnu TV (www.jugnutv.com) do.
I propose the following
A complete cancellation of the school based education in Pakistan, and a replacement by a system of life learning. This life learning system would allow students to advance at their own pace and not be reliant on spotty education systems that plague Pakistan. Assessments would be possible through assessment centers all over Pakistan to be run by a National Authority (like the NTS). Assessments would be done after biometric identification and would be online. Every child that is born in Pakistan, would be given a unique learning number (ULN).
Since there would be no schools, so the question would arise that how would the students get any knowledge at all? In my opinion, learning given online and delivered through various mechanisms (tablets, pcs, mobile phones, blended learning in learning centers) is going to be more useful than the current state of both government and private school systems, barring a few high end schools where quality is delivered.
The second thing is that the curriculum would be completely overhauled because different systems operating in Pakistan would all be abolished and one system with one testing system would be put in place.
In a future post I will explore the question of language in such a system, and how various language formats can be incorporated into this.
As would seem to be the case from the above argument, the issues are not really those of technology, but those of politics, and pedagogy. We have the tech to solve the problem of education in Pakistan, but do we have the political will?