The regional government of Gilgit-Pakistan announced plans to expand the idea of smart classrooms to 37 additional private schools and 130 public-sector schools. The idea is to set up a technologically driven education system that not only prioritise quality education but is accessible to all. Such reform will undoubtedly improve human development in the region and has the potential to increase enrolment rates exponentially. Past similar reforms enacted by the GB government have also been well-received and there is no reason why this endeavour cannot become a reality.
The idea of smart classrooms was first introduced through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as five schools were given the resources to set it up. These classes then went on to show remarkable results for students who had the convenience of attending digital classes, had the equipment needed to learn new STEM-based skills and were observed to be more open to pursuing new fields as potential careers. The improvement also encouraged enrolment rates as locals themselves were eager to provide their kids with the best avenues of success.
The momentum of this has been so great in fact that just recently, Meta announced its digital literacy programme for the province. The objective of ‘We Think Digital’ was to train over 30,000 students, and more than 10,000 women, and help them develop critical thinking. The plan is also to familiarise them with the internet so that they can learn from a diverse range of sources, have a global impact and can innovate simultaneously. Such projects are essential in encouraging development in the province, all the while addressing and resolving barriers like poor internet access without which the success of the whole project is jeopardized.
Very evidently so, the public is receptive to such initiatives because they have understood the impact it can have on future prospects. For this, we must acknowledge the hard work put in by the GB government as it took multiple steps to boost literacy rates. It integrated STEM into the curriculum and encouraged individual projects, rolled out a meals programme which guaranteed students free meals in schools, set up the framework for nationally known universities like NCA to create a provincial campus, and has even made standardised testing compulsory for teachers to ensure the best quality of instruction is given to kids. This is a standard that other governments must rise to as well.