Strengthening of Quality Education at Gilgit Baltistan by Using Digital Platforms

Currently, we are working on the development of the LMS
Background of the Project

Education is a strong vehicle for the socio-economic transformation of societies. According to education statistics 2016-17, about 35000 students were enrolled in secondary, higher secondary, and degree levels education in the public sector and private sectors of GB. This enrolment is increasing at an average of 15% per year. A good number of these students (42%) are females and in some districts like Hunza, Ghizer, and Astore, the female literacy is more than 70%. Affordability, access, and quality are the three major challenges for education in Gilgit Baltistan (GB). The absence of digital and online platforms for teaching, learning, and assessment of secondary and higher secondary education sector in GB, further worsens the quality and accessibility challenges, particularly during natural disasters.

The challenge became more severe during the recent pandemic when none of the schools and colleges in GB could provide education to their students for more than eleven months. The digital divide thus deprived thousands of school children of access to education for many months. Besides the non-availability of digital and online platforms, the poor capacity of the teachers in the use of ICT for education is another major challenge. Karakoram International University (KIU), in the meanwhile, deployed state of the art Learning Management System (LMS) and digital platforms at its main campus Gilgit and sub-campuses at Hunza, Ghizer, and Chilas. About 5100 students were registered and educated at the portals. Spring and Fall 2020-21 semesters were completed with great success.

They remained connected to education during the pandemic. Based on the successful experience of KIU and the apparent challenge of accessibility and quality of teaching in the secondary and higher secondary education at GB, this project will attempt to provide a customized Learning Management System (LMS) to the selected schools and Colleges of GB from public and private sectors, develop the capacity of teachers in these institutes for curriculum development, teaching, learning and assessment for digital and online systems. Hence the major objective of the project is to provide quality and accessible secondary and higher secondary education by providing online/digital platforms and developing the capacity of teacher and IT staff at these colleges and schools. Another major objective is to understand the challenges of digitalization in rural areas so recommendations could be made to other similar areas to address those challenges. In addition, lessons learned during this project will assist in the rapid digitalization of schools and colleges in Gilgit-Baltistan.