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Smart Citizens – The educational journey

Date: 31 March, 2023

Writer : Afzal Hossain Sarwar & Zunaira Khan
Source : The Financial Express

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

31 March, 2023
Writer : Afzal Hossain Sarwar & Zunaira Khan
· · Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Smart Citizens – The educational journey

Smart Citizens – The educational journey

A young graduate of National University is looking for free skills-based courses to enhance his job prospects. A student in Bandarban seeks open access to an academic platform where she can learn and demonstrate her creativity simultaneously. A senior teacher wants to renew her classroom’s teaching-learning methods while she prepares to teach the next generation of Smart Citizens.

With different people having different concerns regarding the current educational system, a2i (Aspire to Innovate) Programme, under the ICT Division and Cabinet Division and supported by UNDP, works to provide quality public services through policy advocacy and digital interventions for citizens of Bangladesh where education is prioritized as a major area for reformation. There is still work to be done for Bangladesh’s educational future, but the teaching-learning process and positive interactions between teachers and students are at the core of its activities. In collaboration with Ministry of Education, Ministry of Primary and Mass Education and multiple governmental and private sector entities, a2i’s Future of Education team has launched multiple initiatives, namely MuktoPaath, Teachers’ Portal, and Konnect, in efforts to reach the last mile while achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-3 (teacher-student wellbeing), SDG-4 (inclusive and quality education) and SDG-8 (economic growth) across Bangladesh by 2030.

MuktoPaath is Bangladesh’s largest e-learning platform in Bangla for professional and skills development over multiple sectors that provides access to high-quality educational resources, including 260+ courses with in-built assessments. By leveraging technology, MuktoPaath has transformed the traditional classroom setting and created a more flexible and accessible learning environment.

It allows education to be more accessible to learners of all ages and backgrounds, addresses the education gap in Bangladesh and creates a more knowledgeable and skilled workforce, especially for graduates which contributes to Bangladesh’s economic growth and development. To assist the ministry’s efforts in disseminating the revised curriculum, Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni inaugurated ‘New Curriculum Framework 2021 Online Training’ courses which reached around 700,000 teachers. Previously during the pandemic, MuktoPaath stepped up to combat the misinformation about the virus by delivering courses among the citizens and healthcare professionals in collaboration with Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) which reached 450,000 learners.

Teachers’ Portal is one of the world’s extensive peer-learning communities with 600,000 teachers and provides resources ranging from lesson plans to skill development opportunities while acting as a networking forum for sharing teachers’ experiences. This lifestyle gateway platform empowers teachers with the health, financial and digital tools they need to succeed. A pivotal role is carried out by the 2600+ District ICT for Education (ICT4E) Ambassador teachers who are responsible for communicating with educational authorities (DEO, USEO, and DPO) to implement government mandates especially regarding the nationwide curriculum training.

Teachers’ Portal has helped motivate and recognise teachers which is essential for ensuring that all students in Bangladesh receive high-quality education.

Together with MuktoPaath, the professional development of teachers creates a culture of continuous learning and promotes innovations in teaching.

Additionally, a2i launched Konnect, a platform that provides information on health, academics, life-skills and career opportunities dedicated to the 32 million adolescents across the country. By providing a safe and supportive environment for the 2.7 million registered students, Konnect helps create a more informed and engaged youth population, or Smart Students, and eventually promotes their overall well-being which is essential for the development of a Smart Bangladesh by 2041.

All the above initiatives are under the Blended Education Accelerator (BEA), it provides strategic direction for all education sub-sectors resulting in a Blended Education Master Plan that has been formulated and is carried out by an inter-ministerial Blended Education National Taskforce. It combines all methods of high, low and no-tech resources through public-private partnerships to curate a suitable personalized learning, accurate form of assessment and adaptable teaching in a Smart Blended Education ecosystem.

Md. Afzal Hossain Sarwar, Team Leader, Future of Education, a2i, and Zunaira Khan, Young Professional, a2i

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