Course: Foundation of Education (6411)

Level: B.Ed. (4-years)

Semester: Autumn, 2019

ASSIGNMENT No. 2

Question no.01 Analyze the aims of education proposed by Fourth World Conference on Education 1982?

Answer:

Education is a human right and a force for sustainable development and peace. Every goal in the 2030 Agenda requires education to empower people with the knowledge, skills and values to live in dignity, build their lives and contribute to their societies.

Today, more than 262 million children and youth are out of school. Six out of ten are not acquiring basic literacy and numeracy after several years in school. 750 million adults are illiterate, fueling poverty and marginalization.

Ambitions for education are essentially captured in Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) of the 2030 Agenda which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030. The roadmap to achieve the education goal, adopted in November 2015, provides guidance to governments and partners on how to turn commitments into action (Education 2030 Framework for Action). UNESCO is responsible for coordinating the international community to achieve this goal through partnerships, policy guidance, capacity development, monitoring and advocacy.

While governments hold the main responsibility for ensuring the right to quality education, the 2030 Agenda is a universal and collective commitment. It requires political will, global and regional collaboration and the engagement of all governments, civil society, the private sector, youth, UN and other multilateral agencies to tackle educational challenges and build systems that are inclusive, equitable and relevant to all learners.

For the first time, the 24th of January is declared The International Day of Education as earmarked in the UN calendar. This day is an opportunity for civil society, education stakeholders and partners to celebrate and deeply reflect on the ensuing global education crisis. With millions of children out of school and illiterate, the world cannot sit back and keep quiet while children, global future leaders are deprived of their fundamental human right, education.

Sustainable development goal 4 (SDG 4), demands inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of “lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Learning is paramount for all the sustainable development goals. Education eradicates poverty, boosts prosperity and fosters peaceful, just and inclusive societies. 2019 is a crucial year for education. The world is a decade away from achieving the ambitious 2030 Agenda. Yet today the world’s pursuit of sustainable development and education goals continues to encounter extreme pressure and deep challenges.

While positive steps have been taken to acknowledge and improve the status of education worldwide, statistics tell us we have a long way to go and much to do, to ensure each and every child across the globe exercise their right to a free, equitable quality education from early childhood. So today as the world celebrates the role of education, the fulfillment of commitments and achievements of targets towards sustained peace and development, all countries must reflect on where we are in terms of the Incheon Declaration for Education 2030, which sets the vision for education for the next fifteen years?

Globally, education is in crisis. There is growing recognition of education as the equalizing factor to attaining SDG goals but the world is falling behind in meeting its objectives. And there are a few reasons for this.

Inequality and gender inequality in education:

The widening gap between inequality and education is evident in the links between social status and education. They haves and they have not’s. There are a handful of elite parents around the world who chose to enroll their children into prestigious private schools and universities in order to maintain their status and privileges. While those from disadvantaged backgrounds, due to socio-political interferences and circumstances, are left with no choice but to send their children walking miles away from home to attend poorly funded public schools, their only hope to provide them a better future. Inequality not only speaks to one’s capacity to overcome imposed societal challenges and the inability to sufficiently provide financially for one’s family and needs, but inequality includes broader systemic issues, such as gender.

As the famous saying goes, “you educate a girl you educate a nation” yet the 2018, World Bank report “The cost of not educating girls missed opportunities: The high cost of not educating girls”, paints a grim picture. Globally girls are still on the lower end of attaining education in comparison to boys. “Globally, nine in ten girls complete their primary education, but only three in four complete their lower secondary education.” The fact that today, research indicates these gender disparities in education still negatively impact the trajectory of girls’ around the world, is yet another example of society failing its girl children. Many young girls forced to drop out of school endure early child marriage, lower expected income in adulthood, thus increasing poverty in households. The world cannot afford a society that disempowers girls, marginalizes women, silences their voices and deprives nations of equitable, sustainable and inclusive development.

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Question no. 02 Objectives and Assessment must be aligned with each other. Explain this statement and discuss the problems if this statement is not fulfilled?

Answer:

Assessments should reveal how well students have learned what we want them to learn while instruction ensures that they learn it. For this to occur, assessments, learning objectives, and instructional strategies need to be closely aligned so that they reinforce one another. To ensure that these three components of your course are aligned, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Learning objectives:

 What do I want students to know how to do when they leave this course?

  • Assessments:

What kinds of tasks will reveal whether students have achieved the learning objectives I have identified?

  • Instructional strategies:

What kinds of activities in and out of class will reinforce my learning objectives and prepare students for assessments? What if the components of a course are misaligned?

If assessments are misaligned with learning objectives or instructional strategies, it can undermine both student motivation and learning. Consider these two scenarios:

Your objective is for students to learn to apply analytical skills, but your assessment measures only factual recall. Consequently, students hone their analytical skills and are frustrated that the exam does not measure what they learned.

Your assessment measures students’ ability to compare and critique the arguments of different authors, but your instructional strategies focus entirely on summarizing the arguments of different authors. Consequently, students do not learn or practice the skills of comparison and evaluation that will be assessed.

What do well-aligned assessments look like? This table presents examples of the kinds of activities that can be used to assess different types of learning objectives (adapted from the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy).

Types of learning objective Examples of appropriate assessment
Recall Recognize Identify Objective test items such as fill in the blank, matching, labeling, or multiple-choice questions that require students to: recall or recognize terms, facts, and concepts
Interpret Exemplify Classify Summarize Infer Compare Explain Activities such as papers, exams, problem sets, class discussions, or concept maps that require students to: summarize readings, films, or speechescompare and contrast two or more theories, events, or processesclassify or categorize cases, elements, or events using established criteriaparaphrase documents or speechfind or identify examples or illustrations of a concept or principle
Apply Execute Implement Activities such as problem set, performances, labs, prototyping, or simulations that require students to: use procedures to solve or complete familiar or unfamiliar tasksdetermine which procedure(s) are most appropriate for a given task
Analyze Differentiate Organize Attribute Activities such as case studies, critiques, labs, papers, projects, debates, or concept maps that require students to: discriminate or select relevant and irrelevant partsdetermine how elements function togetherdetermine bias, values, or underlying intent in presented material
Evaluate Check Critique Assess Activities such as journals, diaries, critiques, problem sets, product reviews, or studies that require students to: test, monitor, judge, or critique readings, performances, or products against established criteria or standards
Create Generate Plan Produce Design Activities such as research projects, musical compositions, performances, essays, business plans, website designs, or set designs that require students to: make, build, design or generate something new

This table does not list all possible examples of appropriate assessments. You can develop and use other assessments–just make sure that they align with your learning objectives and instructional strategies!

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Question no. 03 Explain the targets of education set by sustainable development goals. How achievable are these goals? Comments on Pakistan’s commitment toward these goals?

Answer:

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Since 2000, there has been enormous progress in achieving the target of universal primary education. The total enrolment rate in developing regions reached 91 percent in 2015, and the worldwide number of children out of school has dropped by almost half. There has also been a dramatic increase in literacy rates, and many more girls are in school than ever before. These are all remarkable successes.

Progress has also faced tough challenges in developing regions due to high levels of poverty, armed conflicts and other emergencies. In Western Asia and North Africa, ongoing armed conflict has seen an increase in the proportion of children out of school. This is a worrying trend.

While sub-Saharan Africa made the greatest progress in primary school enrolment among all developing regions– from 52 percent in 1990, up to 78 percent in 2012– large disparities still remain. Children from the poorest households are four times more likely to be out of school than those of the richest households. Disparities between rural and urban areas also remain high.

Achieving inclusive and quality education for all reaffirms the belief that education is one of the most powerful and proven vehicles for sustainable development. This goal ensures that all girls and boys complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. It also aims to provide equal access to affordable vocational training, and to eliminate gender and wealth disparities with the aim of achieving universal access to a quality higher education.

Quality education is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Goal 4 targets

The SDG Fund response

By promoting digital education, in collaboration with the ProFuturo project the SDG Fund is convening partnerships between UN Agencies, governments and the telecommunications industry to better use information technologies to advance SDG4. Affordable, reliable and context-sensitive digital education can promote equal opportunities for girls and boys and reduce inequalities by ensuring every child has access to high quality content. Digital education technologies improve fundamental skills such as collaboration, problem solving and global awareness. It can easily connect boys and girls from different parts of the world with the possibility of sharing their content with peers living kilometers away. Equally important, learning technology can open future job opportunities.

Education is also central to the SDG Fund programmes to promote gender equality, improve nutrition and create livelihoods opportunities. For example,

  • In Colombia, the SDG Fund is to improve integration of educational institutions in rural areas through trainings, workshops and a water-themed contest. Despite being designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, deforestation coupled with the emergence of illicit crops and deregulated agricultural borders of indigenous rural communities have deteriorated the mountainous region and put water resources under pressure.
  • In Mozambique, an SDG Fund joint programme is improving youth access to quality professional training. Young women and men in remote areas are increasing their prospects to find decent job opportunities within the extractive industries that often hire people from other parts of the country or from abroad.
  • In Sri Lanka, school feeding policies have been revised and new guidelines have been produced to improve the food quality of school canteens. Manuals, informative fliers and other technical material is being produced together with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs.

Pakistan’s Commitment towards these goals:

In grade five, two public school students, Rubina and Chakar, were taught to rote learn without understanding what they were memorizing. Because of inadequate learning methods, they were unable even to read a story usually taught in grade two. This demonstrates evidence of a learning crisis when only 55pc of school-going children are able to read stories in Urdu, Sindhi, and Pashto. According to a 2015 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) report, 49pc comprehend English sentences and 50pc are able to solve two-digit math divisions. With an education challenge of such magnitude, it makes good sense shifting the national agenda to achieving learning outcomes, thereby sharing focus with universal primary enrolment goals. However, this realization has taken a quarter of a century to materialize within global education agendas.

SDG 4 prioritizing equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all fits into the above paradigm. This goal has seven targets and three means for implementation, covering all levels of education; from early childhood, primary to secondary, technical vocational for decent jobs, and university through formal, non-formal and technology enabled channels, conducive learning environments, adequacy of trained teachers and opportunities for scholarships to pursue continuous learning.

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Question no. 04 Blended learning is future of education. How does it solve the problems of access and quality?

Answer:

Blended learning method refers to “mixing of different

learning environments”. It combines traditional face-to-face

Classroom methods with more modern computer-mediated activities using internet and other advanced technology. Traditional teaching method is most popular method of teaching in Indian school and colleges. Traditional teaching is a must where there is face to face interaction and cannot be eliminated from Indian education culture. Online learning, web based learning, intelligent tutor systems are the new technologies in education.

Blended learning is an approach to education that combines online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods. It requires the physical presence of both teacher and student, with some elements of student control over time, place, path, or pace. While students still attend “brick-and-mortar” schools with a teacher present, face-to-face classroom practices are combined with computer-mediated activities regarding content and delivery. Blended learning is also used in professional development and training settings.

Blended learning is highly context-dependent therefore a universal conception of it is hard to come by. Some reports have claimed that a lack of consensus on a hard definition of blended learning had led to difficulties in research on its effectiveness. A well-cited 2013 study broadly defined blended learning as a mixture of online and in-person delivery where the online portion effectively replaces some of the face-to-face contact time rather than supplementing it. Additionally, a 2015 meta-analysis that historically looked back at a comprehensive review of evidence-based research studies around blended learning, found commonalities in defining that blended learning was “considered a combination of traditional f2f [face to face] modes of instruction with online modes of learning, drawing on technology-mediated instruction, where all participants in the learning process are separated by distance some of the time.” This report also found that all of these evidence-based studies concluded that student achievement was higher in blended learning experiences when compared to either fully online or fully face-to-face learning experiences.

The terms “blended learning”, “hybrid learning”, “technology-mediated instruction”, “web-enhanced instruction”, and “mixed-mode instruction “are often used interchangeably in research literature. Although the concepts behind blended learning first developed in the 1960s, the formal terminology to describe it did not take its current form until the late 1990s. One of the earliest uses of the term appears in a 1999 press release, in which the Interactive Learning Centers, an Atlanta-based education business, announced a change of name to EPIC Learning. The release mentions that “The Company currently operates 220 on-line courses, but will begin offering its Internet courseware using the company’s Blended Learning methodology.” The term “blended learning” was initially vague, encompassing a wide variety of technologies and pedagogical methods in varying combinations (some making no use of technology whatsoever). In 2006, the term became more concrete with the publication of the first Handbook of Blended Learning by Bonk and Graham. Graham challenged the breadth and ambiguity of the term’s definition, and defined “blended learning systems” as learning systems that “combine face-to-face instruction with computer mediated instruction”.[15] In a report titled “Defining Blended Learning”, researcher Norm Friesen suggests that, in its current form, blended learning “designates the range of possibilities presented by combining Internet and digital media with established classroom forms that require the physical co-presence of teacher and students”

Advantages:

By learning, understanding and adopting the blended learning technology, an Engineering Teacher can achieve many important benefits. Competency-based policies, dynamic scheduling, and smart recommendation engines will make it easier for more schools to incorporate these strategies. Blended learning makes it easier to provide multiple learning strategies. Blended learning is making it easier to leverage individual student interests through internships and projects.

Blended instruction is reportedly more effective than purely face-to-face or purely online classes. Blended learning methods can also result in high levels of student achievement more effective than face-to-face learning. By using a combination of digital instruction and one-on-one face time, students can work on their own with new concepts which frees teachers up to circulate and support individual students who may need individualized attention. “Rather than playing to the lowest common denominator – as they would in a traditional classroom – teachers can now streamline their instruction to help all students reach their full potential.” Proponents of blended learning argue that incorporating the “asynchronous Internet communication technology” into higher education courses serves to “facilitate a simultaneous independent and collaborative learning experience”. This incorporation is a major contributor to student satisfaction and success in such courses. The use of information and communication technologies has been found to improve student attitudes towards learning. By incorporating information technology into class projects, communication between lecturers and part-time students has improved, and students were able to better evaluate their understanding of course material via the use of “computer-based qualitative and quantitative assessment modules”.

Blended learning also have the potential to reduce educational expenses, although some dispute that blended learning is inherently less expensive than traditional classroom learning. Blended learning can lower costs by putting classrooms in the online space and it essentially replaces pricey textbooks with electronic devices that students often bring themselves to class. E-textbooks, which can be accessed digitally, may also help to drive down textbook budgets. Proponents of blended learning cite the opportunity for data collection and customization of instruction and assessment as two major benefits of this approach. Blended learning often includes software that automatically collects student data and measures academic progress, providing teachers, students and parents detailed student’s data. Often, tests are automatically scored, providing instantaneous feedback. Student logins and work times are also measured to ensure accountability. Schools with blended learning programs may also choose to reallocate resources to boost student achievement outcomes. Students with special talents or interests outside of the available curricula use educational technology to advance their skills or exceed grade restrictions. Blended learning allows for personalized education, replacing the model where a teacher stands in front of the classroom and everyone is expected to stay at the same pace. “Blended learning allows students to work at their own pace, making sure they fully understand new concepts before moving on.” A classroom environment that incorporates blended learning naturally requires learners to demonstrate more autonomy, self-regulation, and independence in order to succeed. If teachers offer a form of initial program orientation before introducing blended learning strategies, it can better prepare students to feel confident navigating the different components and developing a stronger sense of independence.

Some online institutions connect students with instructors via web conference technology to form a digital classroom. These institutions borrow many of the technologies that have popularized online courses at the university level. Some advantages of blended learning, particularly at a Kindergarten to grade 12 level of education, can be found under the general concept of educational technology. It is also one of the most effective ways for personalized learning at scale. Blended learning supports the use of standards as a way to manage quality and ease of use. This includes multiple kinds of standards: interoperability standards like the SIF specification from A4L or the Learning Tools Interoperability specification from IMS Global Consortium or academic standards like state standards and Common Core State Standards, which encourage integration of technology into a variety of subjects.

A learning management system, or federation of systems, helps develop a better feel for an online community where discussions can be held to better aid students. This virtual learning environment helps connect professors with students without physically being present, thus making this a ‘virtual cafe’. Many schools use this online tool for online classes, classwork, question & answer forums, and other school related work. Blended learning yielded positive results from the online community. Such results were compared and showed similar results from that of Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers.

The advantages of blended learning are dependent on the quality of the programs being implemented. Some indicators of excellent blended learning programs are “facilitating student learning, communicating ideas effectively, demonstrating an interest in learning, organizing effectively, showing respect for students, and assessing progress fairly”.

Benefits of Blended Learning are listed below:

  • Enhanced student learning outcomes
  • Greater flexibility for students and teachers
  • Improved autonomy, reflection, and research skills
  • Reduced student withdrawal rate
  • Ability to foster a professional learning environment
  • Potential cost and resource savings
  • Best personal integration among participants, with the consequent exchange of experiences
  • Ability to develop collective dynamics.

Disadvantages:

Unless successfully planned and executed, blended learning could have disadvantages in technical aspects since it has a strong dependence on the technical resources or tools with which the blended learning experience is delivered. These tools need to be reliable, easy to use, and up to date, for them to have a meaningful impact on the learning experience. IT literacy can serve as a significant barrier for students attempting to get access to the course materials, making the availability of high-quality technical support paramount. Other aspects of blended learning that can be challenging is group work because of difficulties with management in an online setting. Reportedly the use of lecture recording technologies can result in students falling behind on the materials. In a study performed across four different universities, it was found that only half of the students watched the lecture videos on a regular basis, and nearly 40% of students watched several weeks’ worth of videos in one sitting. This has further implications for the educator and in how much online resources need to be revealed to the student but also ensure it is at the right level for the intended student.

From an educator’s perspective, most recently, it has been noted that providing effective feedback is more time-consuming (and therefore more expensive) when electronic media are used, in comparison to traditional (e.g. paper-based) assessments. Using e-learning platforms can be more time consuming than traditional methods and can also come with new costs as e-learning platforms and service providers may charge user fees to educators.

Another critical issue is access to network infrastructure. Although the digital divide is narrowing as the Internet becomes more pervasive, many students do not have pervasive and ubiquitous access to the Internet – even in their classrooms. Any attempt to incorporate blended learning strategies into an organization’s pedagogical strategy needs to account for this. This is why learning centers are built with good Wi-Fi connections to make sure this issue is addressed.

In current situation, there are following limitations or challenges for blended learning. 

  • Unrealistic student expectations
  • Student-perceived isolation
  • Intrusion into other areas of life Time commitment 
  • Technological problems for students
  • Difficulty  in  acquiring  new  teaching  and  technology skills 
  • Lack of support for course redesign
  • Technological problems for institutions

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Question no. 05 Uniform education is popular term in current scenario of education in Pakistan. Discuss its benefits and limitation?

Answer:

The progress of a country is a multifaceted phenomenon that is seen and measured through different indicators of the economic, social and political segments of national life. While economic progress in terms of GDP, reserves and balance of payments determines the financial wellbeing of a country, positive social-development indicators demonstrate how the people are benefitting from the nation’s wealth.

Satisfactory health, education and livelihood opportunities for residents living in different communities and geographies of a country reflect the state of national progress, which is equitable and meaningful for all citizens.

Citizens with relevant knowledge and skills appear at the top of the list of factors that accelerate a country’s progress with respect to economic growth and social development in today’s knowledge economies. This brings equitable access to quality education – that provides learners with relevant skills and abilities to adopt productive roles in the global economy of the present and future – at the center of any effort for national progress.

The incumbent government of Pakistan started its term in 2018, with the promise to accelerate progress in the country. In this context, the education roadmap of the government should primarily focus on the quality of the learning experience of all students in the system. Looking beyond the issues of access, the policy direction should be based on the notion that enrolling all students at a low-quality ‘uniform’ education system is not going to move the needle of national progress in any positive direction at all.

A uniform education system, which has been built-in as one of the five pillars of the new government’s education roadmap, is drawing a great deal of attention these days. I am sure this element has been carefully thought through and the education minister’s team has not included it in the national priority list as a mere populist slogan and the panacea for all ills affecting the country’s education system.

Effective school education is linked with multiple prerequisites, such as curriculum; teachers; pedagogy; textbooks and other teaching/learning materials; the classroom environment; infrastructure and facilities; the school management; education governance structures; education-management capacities and processes; the assessment system; and parental involvement. This list is not comprehensive and can be extended or expanded.

When the government’s education team talks about a uniform education system, they should clarify some fundamental dimensions.

First, will the drive for ‘uniformity’ be implemented across the board, including public, elite-public, private, high-end private and international joint ventures as well as the madrassa systems?

Second, what elements for effective school education will be made uniform across these systems?

Third, will children who attend public schools in Qilla Saifullah and Thar, Aitcheson, cadet colleges, divisional public schools, Army Burn Hall College, Beacon house make use of the same furniture; be taught by equally qualified, trained and adequately paid teachers; and have the same books in their hands?

Fourth, what is the roadmap to achieve the objective of a uniform system of education in terms of the processes, responsibilities and timelines?

Fifth, who will be involved in developing this roadmap?

A thoroughly critical consideration of the basics is essential to guard the education system and the future of our generations from populist sloganeering for political expediency and dogmatic re-engineering on the whims of few saviors – as done by self-declared messiahs in the 1980s. Early signs of confusion are evident from the political statements that have appeared in the national media on the resistance to a uniform system from some stakeholders.

Without exhibiting clarity of vision and purpose and sharing a detailed action plan with all the relevant stakeholders, the notion of a uniform system of education will remain dipsy-doodle, contentious and mutable through competing interpretations.

 Those whose aspirations, dreams, careers and life trajectories will be impinged upon by these changes deserve more information than what is being shared in the form of bullet points and block statements in the media. Teachers, principals and parents, whose destinies are invested in the shape, form and direction of the education system, also have a right to know and to voice their opinions in this debate.

If this is not done, major changes in the education system will be informed by the whims of a select few, with no technical background in education, and the process of creating a uniform education system will be both led and opposed by those educated in elite private schools in the country and leading universities across the world. As silent spectators, learners, teachers and parents will only remember the following words by Shakespeare: “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, They kill us for their sport”.

All of us must have come across parents who earn meager incomes from low-paid jobs and send their children to private schools. Families with relatively high incomes are also under pressure to bear their children’s educational expenses at private institutions. If families have faith in the quality of education provided at public schools, they will not have to spend substantial portions of their household income on paying private schools a steep to educate their children.

Pakistan’s education system is already facing serious issues because the learning outcomes of students are abysmal as compared to the global education landscape. Nothing less than a commitment for a uniform quality of learning for all students will help improve the pace of national progress.

If the true intention of the education roadmap is to improve learning outcomes, the government should salvage the public education system as a priority. Improving the quality of education at government-funded schools will be a concrete step towards creating a uniform education system in the country that works equally for those who attend private schools, a cadet college, or a government school in rural Pakistan.

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