Can Khan Academy Spark Education Revolution in Pakistan?

The revolutionary Khan Academy is a brainchild of Bangladeshi-American Salman Khan. It is growing in popularity among Pakistanis wishing to take advantage of "Free World Class Education" offered online via short 10-15 minute videos. The subjects range from math, physics, chemistry and biology to astronomy, history, economics, finance, engineering and medicine. Khan counts Microsoft founder Bill Gates among his fans and students. Gates has described Sal Khan as his favorite teacher, and Gates Foundation has provided funding to enable Khan Academy to grow.



Former hedge fund analyst known as Sal Khan in Silicon Valley, the Academy founder has an MBA from Harvard Business School and three Bachelors degrees in Math, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science from MIT. Here's how Khan explains on his website why he decided to become a teacher to the world: “A lot of my own educational experience was spent frustrated with how information was conveyed in textbooks and lectures. I felt like fascinating and intuitive concepts were almost intentionally being butchered into pages and pages of sleep-inducing text and monotonic, scripted lectures.”

The number of unique visitors to Khan Academy has grown fourfold from about a million a month in 2010 to 4 million in December, 2011. Bulk of the hits to the educational website still come from the United States, but the latest Alexa traffic data shows that Pakistan is among a handful of countries (shown in green on the map) which are bringing a growing number of learners to it.





Khan's ties to Pakistan go beyond Pakistani visitors to his online academy; his wife is from Karachi, and the man in charge of translating Khan's videos to Urdu and other foreign languages is former Pakistani president's son Bilal Musharraf who lives in Silicon Valley.

Pakistan is ranked fourth in the world for expansion in broadband Internet access which is fueling growth in traffic to video sites like Khan Academy. Planned Urdu translations of video tutorials will only add to the already increasing traffic.

Bilal Musharraf told Pakistan's Dawn newspaper that the goal is to have 1000 videos ready in 10 different languages in a year or two. And the project is mostly volunteer-driven. Khan academy offers best practices of “how-to-dub or re-do Sal’s existing videos, and volunteers take it from there. At present, someone in Japan is working on an Indonesian playlist and engineering students in Saudi Arabia are working on an Arabic playlist. In a matter of months, hundreds of videos have already been translated. You can now learn the Khan way in Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Sinhalese, Tamil, Thai and Urdu.

Sal Khan's efforts are reinventing education and making quality teaching accessible to global population of students everywhere, including developing nations like Pakistan. One example of innovation inspired by Khan can be seen at Los Altos schools in Silicon Valley, CA, as shown by a recent CBS 60 Minutes segment.

"There are no textbooks and no teacher lecturing at the blackboard. Instead, students watch Khan videos at home the night before to learn a concept, then they come to class the next day and do problem sets called "modules," to make sure they understand. If they get stuck they can get one-on-one help from the teacher. Less lecturing, more interaction. What you think of as homework you do at school, and school work you do at home. It's called "flipping the classroom"..."

While anyone can benefit by watching Khan Academy video tutorials online any time and anywhere, it's also important to integrate Khan's video lessons as part of the classrooms learning in a way that is currently being piloted by Los Altos schools.

Here's a video clip from Khan Academy in Urdu:



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Rolls Out 50Mbps Broadband Service

More Pakistan Students Studying Abroad

Inquiry Based Learning in Pakistan

Mobile Internet in South Asia

Allama Iqbal Open University

Online Courses at Top International Universities

Pakistan Virtual University

Pasi Sahlberg on why Finland leads the world in education

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Pakistan Primary Education Crisis

Indian Students' Poor Performance on PISA and TIMSS

Pakistan's Demographic Dividend

India Shining, Bharat Drowning

PISA's Scores 2011

Teaching Facts versus Reasoning

Poor Quality of Education in South Asia

Infections Cause Low IQs in South Asia, Africa?

CNN's Fixing Education in America-Fareed Zakaria

Peepli Live Destroys Western Myths About India

PISA 2009Plus Results Report

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Daily Times report on a traveling exhibit to promote chemistry learning in Pakistan:

The International Traveling Expo ‘It’s all about Chemistry’ opened at Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) on Wednesday.

Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) in collaboration with the embassy of France in Islamabad and Scientific, Technical, Industrial and Cultural Centre (CCSTI), France has arranged the Expo, prepared by Centre Sciences-France, UNESCO and partners, for providing a first-hand picture of the role of chemistry in daily life to students and general public.

The Expo is aimed at increasing the interest of young people in Chemistry and to generate enthusiasm among students for take chemistry as a subject of their studies.

The expo started its journey in Pakistan from Karachi in January and after travelling through Tandojam, Khairpur, DG Khan, Multan, Lahore, Mansehra, Peshawar and Swat has reached Islamabad from where it would travel to Sibbi and conclude in Quetta.

Study of Chemistry is critical in addressing challenges such as global climate change, in providing sustainable sources of clean water, food energy and in well-being of people.

The science of chemistry and its applications produce medicines, fuels, metals and virtually all other manufactured products.

PSF Chairman Prof Dr Manzoor Soomro inaugurated the 3-day Expo while French Attache for Cooperation Gilles Angles, AIOU Faculty of Sciences Dean Prof Dr Noshad Khan and AIOU Chemistry Department’s Chairperson Prof Dr Naghmana Rashid were also present on this occasion.

The displays of the expo include Black and White Chemistry, Molecules in Action, Nature Returns with a bang, Intelligent Textiles-Dress Intelligently, Dress Usefully, Materials that Heal Automatically, Oil-bases or Water-based paint, Pure air at home, What’s Going on in my saucepan, Town Water or field Water, Experts against Fraud, When Art and Science Meet, Molecular Motors, Bio-fuels for Green Driving and Responsible Farming etc.

Dr Manzoor Soomro highlighted the PSF programmes and activities for promotion of science in the country for mental developmental of the nation and socio-economic development of the country.

He said PSF’s subsidiary organisation Pakistan Museum of Natural History is playing an important role in imparting education on natural sciences through informal means.

He appreciated French embassy for its cooperation to PSF in its different programmes as well as providing opportunity of higher education to students of far flung areas of Pakistan through its scholarships programme...


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\03\29\story_29-3-2012_pg5_5
Riaz Haq said…
Here's Daily Times on plans to expand open schooling in Pakistan:

Canada-based Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) have agreed on a draft plan to launch open-schooling system in Pakistan for achieving millennium goals, ensuring universal education by the year 2015.

The main features of the draft plan were explained at a presentation given by COL consultant Dr Tony Dodds at the AIOU’s headquarters. The COL was created by commonwealth heads of governments to encourage development and sharing of open learning and distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. Core funding comes from voluntary contributions from member governments in which Canada is the largest contributor. Under the proposed plan, an Institute of Open Schooling and Lifelong Learning will be established at the AIOU to impart education at primary, middle and higher secondary levels throughout Pakistan through distance and open-learning system. The system has already been successfully tested in many other countries, including the UK, India, Namibia and Tanzania, to successful overcome illiteracy. AIOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nazir Ahmed Sangi, on the occasion, said that open schooling system would be a milestone in achieving the millennium goals. The plan, he said, will be implemented in consultation and cooperation of provincial governments and other federal government institutions. The AIOU was looking forward to act as facilitator and coordinator in fighting illiteracy at all levels.

He said the university had the required capacity and academic potential for developing necessary curriculum and other parameters to implement the plan in its true spirit. Mukhtar Hussain Talpur, AIOU Bureau of University Extension and Special Programmes director, said the proposed plan would provide a roadmap for upgrading literacy at all levels in the country, particularly in the far-flung and less-developed regions.

He said the AIOU would be seeking support from relevant institutions from home and abroad to achieve the desired objectives. An NGO, Plan International, has already provided Rs 18.4 million to the AIOU to promote primary and post-primary education in the country. Dr Dodds explained that through the open and distance learning millions of Pakistanis, currently outside the formal educational system, would have access to opportunities to undertake organised educational activities at pre-tertiary level which would improve the quality of their lives.

The AIOU will develop a wide-range of educational courses at post-literary pre-tertiary level and set up effective open learning structures and system for those young and adult people who are currently outside the formal and non-formal education system...


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\04\06\story_6-4-2012_pg11_3
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an excerpt of a BR report on smartphone market in Pakistan:

(Pakistan currently has) five to six million smartphone users.

A rather bullish estimate is cast by Ericsson Pakistan which anticipates some 50 million smartphone users in Pakistan by 2016, accounting for 70 percent of operator revenues.

It could, however, be misleading to equate the potential mobile broadband uptake entirely with the incidence of smartphone users in Pakistan.

The cue might actually lie in the current mobile internet usage, which is reportedly growing despite high tariffs and laggard speeds on GPRS/EDGE networks.

According to PTA Chairman, mobile internet users crossed 15 million in June 2011, just four million shy of PC internet users.

Telenor Pakistan, arguably the dominant player in mobile internet services, shared with BR Research that every fourth Telenor customer is a mobile internet user.

High adoption rate is found in the 18-26 age, cohort and significantly higher data consumption is witnessed among business users who are mostly aged 30 and above.

Rural and semi-urban areas in the North are reported to have surprisingly high usage.

Interestingly, just three percent of total handsets on Telenors network are smartphones, when over a quarter of its customers have been mobile internet users.

This possibly means that the feature phones are at work here, which are not smartphones but have additional functions over dumb phones, including internet settings.

This could imply that the barriers to smartphone adoption may not really hold back the mobile broadband uptake, because a feature phone would suffice to access high-speed internet.

However, the appeal of a smartphone - which is capable to communicate with platforms like Android Market, Apple Store, and Blackberry App World, along with a plethora of third-party mobile applications - cannot be matched.

Besides handset functionality, the telecom leaders in their interactions with BR Research have cited two other decisive factors for the growth in mobile broadband users.

These are the development of local language content and creative mobile applications, and pricing of the data services as per needs of various segments.

There is a strong case for a large-scale mobile broadband adoption in Pakistan given the current data consumption trends.

A high penetration of mobile broadband can go much beyond mobile entertainment, social networking, and business usage.

It will augur well for areas, like education, healthcare and governance that are in dire need to be turned around for Pakistans socioeconomic progress.


http://www.brecorder.com/br-research/35:35/2382:smartphones-and-the-mobile-broadband-market/?date=2012-03-22
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a piece on Salman Khan written by Bill Gates for Time 100 list:

Like a lot of great innovators, Salman Khan didn't set out to change the world. He was just trying to help his teenage cousin with her algebra from across the country. But from a closet turned office in his Silicon Valley apartment, Sal, 35, has produced an amazing library of online lectures on math, science and a host of other subjects. In the process, he has turned the classroom — and the world of education — on its head.

The aspiration of khanacademy.org is to give every kid a chance at a free, world-class education. The site has over 3,000 short lessons that allow kids to learn at their own pace. Practice exercises send students back to the pertinent video when they're having trouble. And there's a detailed dashboard for teachers who use Khan Academy in their classrooms.

Early pilot programs in California classrooms show terrific promise. I've used Khan Academy with my kids, and I'm amazed at the breadth of Sal's subject expertise and his ability to make complicated topics understandable.

Sal Khan is a true education pioneer. He started by posting a math lesson, but his impact on education might truly be incalculable.


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2111975_2111976_2111942,00.html
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a BBC story on an experiment involving slum children learning to use computers on their own:

(Prof Mitra) has watched the children teach themselves - and others - how to use the machines and gather information.
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Professor Mitra's work began (in 1999) when he was working for a software company and decided to embed a computer in the wall of his office in Delhi that was facing a slum.

"The children barely went to school, they didn't know any English, they had never seen a computer before and they didn't know what the internet was."

To his surprise, the children quickly figured out how to use the computers and access the internet.

"I repeated the experiment across India and noticed that children will learn to do what they want to learn to do."

He saw children teaching each other how to use the computer and picking up new skills.

One group in Rajasthan, he said, learnt how to record and play music on the computer within four hours of it arriving in their village.

"At the end of it we concluded that groups of children can learn to use computers on their own irrespective of who or where they are," he said.

His experiments then become more ambitious and more global.

In Cambodia, for example, he left a simple maths game for children to play with.

"No child would play with it inside the classroom. If you leave it on the pavement and all the adults go away then they will show off to one another about what they can do," said Prof Mitra, who now works at Newcastle University in the UK.

He has continued his work in India.
Stress test

"I wanted to test the limits of this system," he said. "I set myself an impossible target: can Tamil speaking 12-year-olds in south India teach themselves biotechnology in English on their own?"

The researcher gathered 26 children and gave them computers preloaded with information in English.

"I told them: 'there is some very difficult stuff on this computer, I won't be surprised if you don't understand anything'."

Two months later, he returned.

Initially the children said they had not learnt anything, despite the fact that they used the computers everyday.

"Then a 12-year-old girl raised her hand and said 'apart from the fact that improper replication of the DNA contributes to genetic disease - we've understood nothing else'."

Further experiment showed that having a person - known as "the granny figure" - stand behind the children and encourage them raised standards even higher.

Returning to the UK, he fine-tuned his method even further.

He gave groups of four children a computer each and set them a series of GCSE questions.

The groups were allowed to exchange information and swap members.

"The best group solved everything in 20 minutes, the worst in 45 minutes."

To prove that the children were learning, and not just skimming information off the web, he returned two months later and set the same questions. Crucially, this time the children had to answer them on their own with no computer aids.

"The average score when I did it with computers was 76%. When I did it without computers, the average score was 76% - they had near photographic recall."

Professor Mitra has now formalised the lessons from his experiments and has come up with a new concept for schools called SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environments).

These spaces consist of a computer with a bench big enough to let four children sit around the screen.

"It doesn't work if you give them each a computer individually," he said.

For his experiments he has also created a "granny cloud" - 200 volunteer grandmothers who can be called upon to video chat with the kids and provide encouragement..


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10663353
Riaz Haq said…
Here's Tom Friedman in NY Times on online education revolution:

Andrew Ng is an associate professor of computer science at Stanford, and he has a rather charming way of explaining how the new interactive online education company that he cofounded, Coursera, hopes to revolutionize higher education by allowing students from all over the world to not only hear his lectures, but to do homework assignments, be graded, receive a certificate for completing the course and use that to get a better job or gain admission to a better school.

“I normally teach 400 students,” Ng explained, but last semester he taught 100,000 in an online course on machine learning. “To reach that many students before,” he said, “I would have had to teach my normal Stanford class for 250 years.”

Welcome to the college education revolution. Big breakthroughs happen when what is suddenly possible meets what is desperately necessary. The costs of getting a college degree have been rising faster than those of health care, so the need to provide low-cost, quality higher education is more acute than ever. At the same time, in a knowledge economy, getting a higher-education degree is more vital than ever. And thanks to the spread of high-speed wireless technology, high-speed Internet, smartphones, Facebook, the cloud and tablet computers, the world has gone from connected to hyperconnected in just seven years. Finally, a generation that has grown up on these technologies is increasingly comfortable learning and interacting with professors through online platforms.
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Private companies, like Phoenix, have been offering online degrees for a fee for years. And schools like M.I.T. and Stanford have been offering lectures for free online. Coursera is the next step: building an interactive platform that will allow the best schools in the world to not only offer a wide range of free course lectures online, but also a system of testing, grading, student-to-student help and awarding certificates of completion of a course for under $100. (Sounds like a good deal. Tuition at the real-life Stanford is over $40,000 a year.) Coursera is starting with 40 courses online — from computing to the humanities — offered by professors from Stanford, Princeton, Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania.
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M.I.T., Harvard and private companies, like Udacity, are creating similar platforms. In five years this will be a huge industry.

While the lectures are in English, students have been forming study groups in their own countries to help one another. The biggest enrollments are from the United States, Britain, Russia, India and Brazil. “One Iranian student e-mailed to say he found a way to download the class videos and was burning them onto CDs and circulating them,” Ng said last Thursday. “We just broke a million enrollments.”

To make learning easier, Coursera chops up its lectures into short segments and offers online quizzes, which can be auto-graded, to cover each new idea. It operates on the honor system but is building tools to reduce cheating.

In each course, students post questions in an online forum for all to see and then vote questions and answers up and down. “So the most helpful questions bubble to the top and the bad ones get voted down,” Ng said. “With 100,000 students, you can log every single question. It is a huge data mine.” Also, if a student has a question about that day’s lecture and it’s morning in Cairo but 3 a.m. at Stanford, no problem..


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/16/opinion/friedman-come-the-revolution.html
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a Nation report on PTCL's one millionth broadband subscription in Pakistan:

Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has inaugurated Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) celebration of achieving Pakistan’s first one million Broadband customers as part of the national commemoration of World Telecommunication & Information Society Day 2012 held here at Pak-China Friendship Center, says a press release.

“Telecommunications and IT are bringing encouraging economic dividends and inspiring lifestyle choices for the people of Pakistan,” said Prime Minister Gilani, who was the chief guest of the mega event and exhibition organised jointly by PTCL and Ministry of IT & Telecom to mark the WTIS Day 2012. This year’s theme for WTIS Day is ‘Women, Girls & ICT’.

“The role of ICTs matter immensely for gender equality and empowerment of women,” said Prime Minister Gilani. “ICTs are a force multiplier for girls’ education, enabling them to build their future on a level-playing field with their male counterparts.” The event was also addressed by Federal Minister of IT & Telecom, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf; Federal Secretary IT & Telecom, Farooq Ahmed Awan; and PTCL President & CEO, Walid Irshaid. The event was attended by senior government and PTCL officials, a large number of students, members of the civil society and media.

“Achieving one million Broadband customers mark is yet another historic milestone for PTCL,” said Irshaid in his remarks. “PTCL passionately believes in creating innovative yet affordable ICT and telecom solutions that meet the needs of all segments of Pakistan’s society, especially women. We are determined to utilise the full potential of ICTs by providing women with the telecommunication tools, products and services they need to empower them to be free and make their own decisions.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Gilani visited PTCL’s impressive pavilion exhibition set up in the main hall of the Pak-China Friendship Centre. The Prime Minister experienced first-hand telecom giant’s state-of-the-art products and services, and was briefed by PTCL’s team about their various features.

President & CEO PTCL, Walid Irshaid, also presented on the occasion special 1 million Broadband commemorative shields to Prime Minister Gilani and Minister IT & Telecom, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.


http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/business/18-May-2012/telecom-it-bringing-economic-dividends-pm
Riaz Haq said…
Here's a SJ Mercury News story on use of videoconferencing for education in developing countries:

Videoconferences have largely been confined to offices. Not anymore. New technologies developed by Polycom and other videoconference vendors let employees use smartphones and tablet devices join in no matter where they are.

It's a "game changer" for Chris Plutte and his line of work -- using videoconferencing to connect students from countries around the world with students in American schools to help them better understand each other and the countries they call home.

"This opens up a whole new opportunity for us. It's about access for us," said Plutte, executive director of New York-based Global Nomads Group, a nonprofit he co-founded in 1998 that is currently linking several schools in the United States with those in Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo for town-hall type meetings.

"It's pretty amazing. In the past, students and schools that participated in our programs had to have a (wired) Internet connection. They needed to have a computer. They needed to have electricity," he said. "This is a game changer for us in that (videoconferencing) can now reach more rural schools in developing countries like Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo."
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"It's called the consumerization of IT," said Costello, the IDC analyst. "These devices are coming into the workplace."

Total smartphone shipments worldwide reached 472 million in 2011, up 53 percent from 2010, said a Gartner report. Tablets are also growing, with Gartner projecting that by the end of 2015, more than 900 million will have been sold.

"This is about the ability to connect to different types of people on different types of devices on any network. It's device-agnostic. You can have a smartphone connected to a tablet to a laptop to a high-end HD videoconferencing in an office," said Randel Maestre, vice president of worldwide industry and field marketing for Polycom, which is in the midst of moving its Pleasanton headquarters to San Jose by the end of May.

"Our vision is to make video collaboration and videoconferencing ubiquitous," he said.

Polycom isn't the only company with that vision.

Last year, San Jose-based Cisco rolled out Jabber, a free downloadable application for smartphones and tablets that allows multiparty videoconferencing as well as access to voice, instant messaging and voice mail for existing Cisco customers.

"Work is not a place you go to -- it's where you are at. You can work if you happen to be at the airport," said Michael Smith, Cisco's senior director for collaborative application marketing. "These mobile devices like tablets now give us the power to do videoconferencing even when we're not in the videoconference room."


http://business-news.thestreet.com/mercury-news/story/videoconferencing-steps-out-the-office-0/1

http://gng.org/
Riaz Haq said…
Here's an interesting letter to Financial Times from two Pakistani readers:

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ed95f842-29d4-11e2-9a46-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz2C4VgKQYR

It can, of course, be argued that quality and institution-building will take some time. However, with the initiatives of some of the best American universities, the pace of reform can be quickened. Initiatives such as MIT Open Courseware (OCW), Open Yale Courses (OYC) and EdX now require just an internet connection and a laptop to access this world-class education. The word needs to be spread so that as many people as possible take advantage of this.

What American universities are doing is the beginning of a global reform in higher education. In our recorded history, no civilisation has ever opened its most advanced knowledge for others to benefit. We believe that nothing but the essence of real knowledge can truly transform our country.

It is with this faith that we meet every weekend on the outskirts of Lahore and try to gather as many people as possible to tell them what new opportunities have opened up in the shape of OCW and OYC, and how they can use those to transform themselves and society.

We also help underprivileged students understand the OYC lectures. We believe that these opportunities being offered by world-class universities can truly transform not just Pakistan but every country in the world.

Such initiatives need to be highlighted on broader and bigger forums as they represent far better opportunities than what is being offered by the profit-oriented education providers in Pakistan and other countries.


http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ed95f842-29d4-11e2-9a46-00144feabdc0.html
Riaz Haq said…
Here's PakistanToday on ADB assistance for TeleTaleem online education:

ISLAMABAD - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a technical assistance (TA) grant of US$ 1.1 million to Pakistan’s TeleTaleem (Pvt.) Limited to boost access to quality education and vocational training in Pakistan using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
“This project will open new vistas of online learning opportunities for students and teachers, currently without access to quality educational and training resources. With a click of a button, students will be able to avail quality educational services regardless of their geographic location. The project will hugely benefit students and teachers, particularly girls in remote parts of the country who seek access to good educational opportunities,” said Philip Erquiaga, Director General of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.
Leveraging Pakistan’s fast growing ICT sector, TeleTaleem will provide ICT-assisted advanced learning environment to service basic education and technical education and vocational training (TEVT) segments. The company plans to setup 500 learning centers/points-of-access over the next 5 years, reaching out to 100,000 students and 10,000 teachers across the country.
Werner E. Liepach, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan, and Asad Karim, Chief Executive Officer of the TeleTaleem (Pvt.) Limited, today signed the TA implementation agreement. This is ADB’s first-ever private-sector led investment in an education project.
Pakistan has made impressive gains over the last decade with spectacular ICT growth through the use of mobile phones, Internet and personal computers in the urban, semi-urban and the rural areas.
TeleTaleem will be using this widespread ICT footprint to deliver exciting and engaging teaching-learning practices and content to students and teachers, with the objective of enhancing student achievement and teacher competency.
ADB’s TA grant will also study gaps, issues and opportunities to expand the use of ICT for education by defining appropriate strategies frameworks and financially self-sustaining development and marketing plans, to achieve large scale adaptation.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2011, ADB approvals including cofinancing totaled $21.7 billion.


http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/11/16/news/profit/1-1m-for-teletaleem/
Riaz Haq said…
KARACHI: Apple implemented the Urdu language keyboard across mobile devices in its iOS 8 update in mid-September. But persistence of a few Urdu speakers has now forced the IT giant to consider adopting the native typeface of Urdu language, Nastaleeq, along with the current Naskh font.
The Cupertino-based company had launched iOS 8 on September 17 in what was termed their biggest software update to date, boasting a whole host of features for those using modern Apple mobile devices. Hidden among those upgrades was the implementation of the Urdu keyboard across the system. This enables users of Apple’s popular iPhone, iTouch and iPad devices to type in Urdu while using texts, email, social media and other interaction. This functionality was previously available only through language-specific apps such as Urdu Writer.
The downside for some in this new feature, though, is that it follows the Naskh typeface derived from Arabic Unicode, rather than Nastaleeq. This prompted the creator of Urdu Writer, Mudassir Azeemi, to start a social media campaign. In writing a letter, emailing and tweeting to the CEO of Apple CEO, Tim Cook, Azeemi urged, explained, even pleaded about how easy it would be to implement the Nastaleeq typeface for the Urdu keyboard in iOS 8.
The effort paid part dividend when on October 13, Azeemi got a phone call from Cook’s representatives. Azeemi was initially fretting whether there are lawyers on the other end with a cease and desist notice over his campaign. Instead, the representative assured him that Apple will consider implementing the typeface.

The road thus far
Azeemi, a Pakistani who works out of San Francisco, says the roots of his campaign germinated well before his email to Cook on October 5, and subsequent snail-mail on October 8.
“When my daughter was growing up, I saw that she was learning alphabet through YouTube,” the app and user experience designer tells The Express Tribune. Hoping that his child could use technology to learn about her heritage and the Urdu language, Azeemi started work on building an app about Urdu.
“We started wondering if we can implement it on iOS. We then designed an entire keyboard for Urdu Writer in 2010.”
Urdu Writer met with great success as it allowed people to type in Urdu and share their writing through email, SMS, Facebook and Twitter. Most importantly, Urdu Writer allowed users to access the Nastaleeq font.
Why Nastaleeq?
Nastaleeq is a Perso-Arabic script. It is the preferred writing script for Persian Kashmiri and Punjabi – languages which contributed in the creation of Urdu.
“We asked around and a lot of people said that they could not read Naskh,” Azeemi says before explaining that readability of Urdu is better in Nastaleeq rather than in other members of the font family, including the widely implemented Naskh, or the lesser used Kufic font.
This was echoed by Ahsan Saeed, who divides time as an Urdu localization moderator for Twitter and his day job at a digital agency. “People used to tell me that Twitter should have the Nastaleeq font.”
Saeed says that his own mother, too used to the Nastaleeq font, can’t read Urdu posts on Facebook or Twitter because they are in the Naskh typeface, but can read Urdu newspapers in the Nastaleeq font online.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/776214/e-urdu-how-one-mans-plea-for-nastaleeq-was-heard-by-apple/
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan expert helping non-English speaking #Indians access web in local scripts. #ICANN #India
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49221051.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst …

Even as the government calls for promoting the use of local languages - in the real world and online - a dedicated group led by a language technology expert from Pakistan is working to help the non-English speaking population in India access web addresses in their local scripts.

The 22-member panel, which is working with the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), comprises professionals from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology's Centre for Dev ..

The panel is headed by eminent professor Udaya Narayana Singh, Chair, Centre for Endangered Languages, Visva-Bharati University. It is being supported by ICANN's Sarmad Hussain who is based out of Pakistan, and has been helping develop internationalised domain names (IDN), or domain names in local languages - such as '.bharat' in Hindi. The current project is expected to drive regional content.

"It reduces the barrier for people to come online," Hussain told ET over the phone, talking a ..
Riaz Haq said…
Abdul has successfully ranked hundreds of keywords in Google without any backlinking strategy. He is in the SEO and online marketing industry since 2009. Apart from SEO and marketing, he loves web development. WordPress is the core platform which Abdul has been using for creating top notch websites over the years.

Abdul has established several successful startups such as OnlineTuting (An elearning system), OnlineUstaad (The largest hub of Urdu courses), Wali Solutions (Provides A to Z web solutions).

He is one of the top Udemy Instructors with 45,000+ students and 1900+ reviews. He engages with students on Udemy in real time and answers questions within minutes. If you have any question in mind then don't hesitate to ask Abdul via private message.

https://www.udemy.com/user/abdulwali/


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Abdul Wali, an inspirational Pakistani Biryani vendor has used the internet to transform his whole life.

He is now one of the top instructors on online learning platform, Udemy, as well as a founder of his very own teaching platform, among other things.


Abdul Wali was born in FATA to an underprivileged family. While other kids went to school, Abdul Wali started working as a cosmetic seller at the tender age of seven. Then he moved to Peshawar, selling shopping bags and toys and then later on to Lahore.

After moving to Peshawar, Wali started selling shopping bags and toys and later on, moved to Lahore.

Wali moved to Karachi in 2000. From there on, he spent his time working as a fruit and vegetable vendor and then a biryani vendor until he finally bought a mobile shop in 2008.

“In 2008, I bought a mobile shop and used a computer for the first time,” said Abdul Wali. “I took admission in an institute to do a computer course and also learn English.”

He spent the next couple of years learning about computers. In 2010, he found out that one could earn money through the internet. He did some research on his own and started working as an instructor.

“In the start, I used to earn in thousands; ten thousand, twenty thousand or even fifty sometimes,” said Abdul Wali.

Last year, he claims to have earned over $100,000 (over 1 crore Pakistani rupees), just from teaching on the internet.

“The good thing is that I never stopped learning. I try to learn every day,” he added.

Abdul Wali spent a good part of his money in buying new courses and learning new things over the internet.

“The end result of all this hard work is that now, I have knowledge as well as money.”

Currently, Abdul Wali claims to be one of the top instructors on Udemy, one of the most popular online learning platforms on the internet; founder of his own online portal Online Ustaad, an online hub for tutorials in Urdu; and the CEO of Wali Web Solutions, his very own web service provider.

https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/technology/this-biryani-vendor-makes-over-rs-10-million-online-annually/
Riaz Haq said…
Google adds voice support on web for #Urdu, 29 other languages spoken in #Africa, #India, #Pakistan | TechCrunch

Google today is expanding its speech recognition capabilities to support dozens of new languages, particularly those in emerging markets in India and Africa, the company announced this morning. That means more people around the world will gain the ability to search the web by voice as well as type via voice using Google’s keyboard app, Gboard.

The company says with the update, it’s adding 30 languages and locales around the world, bringing the total supported to 119. The update includes 8 more Indian languages, as well as Swahili and Amharic, two of Africa’s largest languages.

The new speech recognition will be initially supported in Gboard for Android and Voice Search. U.S. English speakers, meanwhile, can now use voice dictation to express themselves using emojis, too. (e.g. you can just say “winky face emoji” instead of hunting for it.)

The new languages are also available today in the Cloud Speech API, which already supported 89 languages, and is used in a number of third-party voice and video applications, like transcription services, speech analytics applications, IVR applications, and more.

In time, the new languages will be added to other Google products, including the Google Translate app.

However, the more critical part of this news is what this means for those in emerging markets – regions that are often ignored when it comes to being among the first to gain access to new technology advances from tech giants.

But with mobile, that’s changed. Tech companies are now aiming to establish footholds in these regions, as the next large swath of internet users come online.

In India, especially, Google’s move to expand speech recognition tech could have a significant impact. The country is estimated to have some 420 million mobile internet users as of this June, making India one of the biggest markets in the world for companies like Apple, Google and Facebook to address.

Google’s expansion with voice technology also comes shortly after a piece in The Wall Street Journal detailed how tech companies are rethinking their products for the developing world – in particular, how the next billion mobile users will heavily take advantage of technologies like video and voice. Google, for example, told The WSJ, that it’s been seeing “a new kind of internet user” – a group that’s “very different from the first billion” in terms of how they access the web.

To develop speech recognition capabilities for these new languages, Google combined human labor with its machine learning technology.

The company says that it works with native speakers to collect speech samples by asking them to read common phrases. This, in turn, helped to train Google’s machine learning models to better understand the sounds and words of the new languages to improve their accuracy when they were exposed to more examples over time.

The full list of new languages includes the following:

Amharic (Ethiopia)
Armenian (Armenia)
Azerbaijani (Azerbaijani)
Bengali (Bangladesh, India)
English (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania)
Georgian (Georgia)
Gujarati (India)
Javanese (Indonesia)
Kannada (India)
Khmer (Cambodian)
Lao (Laos)
Latvian (Latvia)
Malayalam (India)
Marathi (India)
Nepali (Nepal)
Sinhala (Sri Lanka)
Sundanese (Indonesia)
Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya)
Tamil (India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia)
Telugu (India)
Urdu (Pakistan, India)

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