Innovation in giving education returns to Pakistan
March 20th, 2014 | Sarang Shaikh | No Comments
Would you explain the Reading Room Project?
Marshall Chaudhri: At the Reading Room Project (RRP), we build engineering based learning system for low income students. We provide a quality-based learning environment to innate concept masterminding. Moreover the project delivers computer literacy to students from low-income families less than 1$/per day for free, by bringing its own resources, curriculum and, most prominently, its own method of implementation into a public school. The project was initiated with a motive to offer access to internet and other educational tools in a helpful, sustained and directed way, where students get facilitated at each step to lift up their learning results.
What was exactly the motivation behind starting RRP?
After graduating in Politics from Georgetown University, I used to take up math classes with the heart of self interest in it. While searching for my math problems on internet, I was obsessed with the content and its quality available on line, I felt differently as if my opinions about life and world have been changed, I became inspired with this new virtual world – Internet. That motivated me to start RRP and I thought to provide such learning atmosphere to children where not only they can acquire solutions to their problems but also can seek inspiration.
Is it a Startup business or Non-Profit Community Service Initiative?
RRP began its drive with a pilot project in February 2012 as a Start-up on not for-profit basis. The project has a self-sustaining model, rather to gather donations for expanding the reach, we have planned and started looking for partners to start RRP franchise.
How did you select students? Do you have any beforehand criteria for it?
I approached Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) with RRP proposal, which then provided me a room at the Government Boys Public School Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Shah Rasool Colony, Karachi, where the project began its pilot phase by installing ten computers in a classroom situated on the first floor of the school. We selected 31 students randomly from the school of classes 1-5 for the pilot session.
What and how has been the response from people?
Response from the people is overwhelming; we do have a Facebook page for RRP, where we upload pictures relating to different activities, students activities. They love to see how we work, they even donate, and most of them offer their services and time as volunteer for the project.
Tell me its IMPACT; is it really the thing Pakistan needs the most?
Kids are naturally geared with curiosity. All it needs is a mentor to facilitate them proper throughout their decisions to boost the self-esteem. With the environment like RRP offers, they can open the horizon of their thoughts, they can desire what they want to be, they can get inspiration and motivate others to remain inspired too, and while after they grow up, and they dont enter as illiterate elders but one as more mature and inspiration to their kids. In Pakistan where, primary intervention is difficult because of teachers that never appear in government schools, but with technology and such facilitating background it has become easy to change lives.
Whats the best part of the next thing you are doing for RRP?
One of the objectives of RRP is to revise learning styles, by providing access to a different approach to education in transgression from memorization and repetition learning. At RRP, we challenge ourselves daily to bring new contents to students to bring in new stuffs. The next best part is always to cater latest learning modules to kids. We are going to take these kids explore, we have already seen how they have changed in one year. About ninety per cent of the children didnt know how to turn on a PC but are now browsing the internet.
Are there any other initiatives like RRP available in Pakistan? If yes, what makes you distinct from them?
We are kind of first movers in Pakistan. Projects like RRP are not really available in Pakistan. Well, yes, there are some schools that have been involved in such prototype of learning, and they have been doing this drive on For-Profit basis. Like TCF – The Citizens Foundation, they make after school videos.
How are you looking at the strategy to expand the concept?
RRP has recently completed its pilot phase, and we are looking to make partners who can reproduce such learning environment and computer labs anywhere in Pakistan. Besides, we dont want to go too big and too fat, slow and effective is what we desire for.
Any latest achievement by RRP, please brief?
Our students at RRP have improved so much. They are now navigating and indeed exploring internet despite of not knowing English. They send us emails, we see them getting mature, better and intelligent day by day. Every day we pursue to bring up their level relatively higher from previous day.
Any suggestions you would like to give to the people who are working to start their own start-up?
My suggestion to all aspiring entrepreneurs would be, just think hundred times before you start what you plot to do, but once you are into it, get involved intensely and be persistent, as starting off something is not a jokes.
By Sarang Shaikh <email@example.com>
Published in: Volume 05 Issue 11
Short Link: https://www.technologytimes.pk/?p=11320