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HomePoliciesInclusive policiesUNESCO launches the third phase of the ´Mobile Based Literacy´ program
Education through text message

UNESCO launches the third phase of the ´Mobile Based Literacy´ program

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The six-month initiative will be managed under Mobilink Foundation’s “mTaleem” scheme, which provides education to underprivileged communities across Pakistan. For 1,500 women in Pakistan, an SMS message will soon be a tutor, textbook and school all rolled into one.

Mobilink has partnered with UNESCO to launch the third phase of the ‘Mobile Based Literacy’ program – A broad based initiative continuing since the year 2009. The program is a unique initiative that utilizes mobile technology to improve literacy for female students, aged 15 to 25 years, in rural and deprived areas.

The ‘Mobile Based Literacy’ program is an evolution of the previous ‘SMS for Literacy’ program, with the third phase of the project designed to use the mobile phone both for learning and communication between the teachers & students, as well as teachers & supervisors.

In the third phase of the program 2500 students will be given basic literacy skills through bycommunicating with teachers through SMS based interactive lessons. As a value addition the third phase will also enable 100 participating teachers to coordinate with supervisors and report on student progress via data enabled SIMs provided by Mobilink. The current phase also extends th outreach of the program, reaching out to learners in KPK and Punjab through 100 learning centers.

The programme, which will now enter into a fourth phase, aims to educate 1,500 illiterate women in Punjab and Sindh using tutorials that will be sent via text messages in Urdu. At least 4,000 women have previously benefited from the same programme.

In the latest phase, UNESCO has collaborated with government education departments and agencies to increase the project’s outreach. As a result, 500 male students at 20 centres in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will also be taking part.

The six-month initiative will be managed under Mobilink Foundation’s “mTaleem” scheme, which provides education to underprivileged communities across Pakistan.

Throughout the programme, the women, who will be selected by community-based nonprofit organisations, will be given basic training on how to use mobile phones and practical hands-on experience.The learning performance of the students will be tested using a special software developed by Mobilink.

During this phase, learners at 20 centres, namely Multan, Sahiwal, Okara, Thatta, Jacobabad and Shaheed Benazirabad will be participating in the programme. The phase also includes UNESCO’s initiative for the capacity building of rural female teachers, whereby 150 teachers in Islamabad will be trained about Early Childhood Education while 30 teachers in Multan, Sahiwal and Okara will learn about literacy and non-formal basic education.

The mobile phones, however, contextualise the learning to suit modern day realities.The phones can be used for sending and receiving text messages in the future, thereby helping the women retain the basic language skills they have learnt, said Nagata.

Incentives such as permanent ownership of the phone sets and free SMS from Mobilink for a fixed duration also fuel interest, she added.

Of interest

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