REMOVING EDUCATIONAL BARRIERS FOR OUT-OF-SCHOOL-CHILDREN USING AN INNOVATIVE FRAMEWORK
Izharul Haq1* and Rubina Haq2
1Dr, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia, firstname.lastname@example.org
2Mrs, International Islamic University, Pakistan, email@example.com
It is estimated that there are over 300 million Out-Of-School Children (OOSC) worldwide. There are several factors that place barriers that prevent OOSC from receiving a basic education that is, both equitable and affordable. These barriers include the misuse of funds, delivery of quality education, teacher’s absentees, as well as the lack of necessary resources. Furthermore, even after the above-mentioned requirements have been met, unfortunately, there are still even more complex and challenging barriers, one of which is the proper Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of the teaching and learning.
United Nation (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 4 is on quality education aimed to significantly reduce the number of OOSC. Tremendous amount of effort, funds, and resources are being directed by governments, private/public organizations to meet the target. Unfortunately, in some places, the donated funds are misused e.g., to set-up fake schools also known as ‘ghost schools’. It is extremely difficult for the governing authorities to prevent organizations, often under the disguise of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), actively taking part in such corrupt activities. This is considered to be the main barrier preventing OOSC from receiving their right to quality education. If these problems are not resolved satisfactorily it results in the cancellation of funds.
To prevent corruption the government currently uses M&E methods which are outdated such as inspection of schools, student surveys, interviews with teachers and administrators of the school. However, these methods lack transparency, accuracy, accountability and are highly subjective. Furthermore, inspectors are often dispatched to schools in faraway places to gather data on how well they are performing in terms of the appropriate use of funds, resources, and quality of education. It is important to bear in mind that such inspections are usually very expensive (salaries, traveling costs, accommodation, food, etc) and hence not always feasible. Usually, inspections are delegated to third parties which often exacerbate the problem in terms of the reliability of data and thus adding further barriers for OOSC.
Currently, Pakistan is in a state of education crisis where 1 out of every 10 school children worldwide are OOSC. The current statistics show that Pakistan has a staggering 44 percent OOSC. There are over 51 million children between the ages of 5 and 16 years of which only 56% attend schools while the remaining 44% (22.44 million) are out of school. There are many reasons for such a high number of OOSC which include child labor, lack of family support, unavailability of public schools in rural areas, etc. For Pakistan to solve these problems it must first eliminate the misuse of education funds which can be used to set up more local schools, reduce child labor and provide a financial incentive for parents. One way to do this is for the government to eliminate the existence of fake public schools which are rampant in Pakistan.
In this paper, we propose a new innovative educational framework that would eliminate the existence of fake schools in Pakistan. The framework is called ROFSET (Real-time Objective Feedback System for Effective Teaching). ROFSET is essentially integrated automated Artificial Intelligent (AI)-technology-based M&E techniques and processes whereas compared to the traditional M&E methods which are entirely manual. Preliminary results of using the ROFSET M&E framework shows promising results and are presented in this work.
Keywords:Out-of-school-children, Quality education, Monitoring & Evaluation, Educational technology, ROFSET, Fake schools, Pakistan, UN SDG, Educational accountability.
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