TED Conversations

Qamar Riaz

Deputy Director Audit , Auditor General of Pakistan

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Universal Network of Education

Today, mankind has invented live and interactive video links to vend values across borders. Incredible storage space for data, swift communication through satellite links, globally available computer chips and communities to work for same cause. If all this technology development and community mobilization is employed to develop a Universal Network of Education the goal of “Education for All” can be realized.
If we can generate similar universal learning activities(Say a-z coaching classes) at the base which produce identical out puts (Virtual Videos) and these outputs ensure single outcome (better learning) the goal (education for all ) can be contributed significantly.
Lets see the above logic of idea to a much smaller scale such as town. If we go down to a town level where say 20000 kids are out of school somewhere in third world. We aim to develop a Town Education Network, Where a town owned community school is run by a Town Educational Committee, All resources are put into a pool to transmit this school live on local tv, internet etc. If only 2000 people ensure identification and registration of only 10 kids each on this local network, the target becomes so easy to achieve. The community ensures every kid is registered with this local network and an independent assessment committee evaluates the students through on line tests. This may sound achievable for local community. All such communities will be linked to national network and all national networks will be plugged into regional networks and finally these make a universal education network.
I propose this as a solution for millions of kids who are out of school right now and this online universal school may help UN to achieve its MDG of Education for All by 2015 by enrolling every kid to this universal school with the help of community.
A global virtual conference may be starting step towards Universal Education Declaration.


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    Jul 14 2013: A timely subject Qamar! I did not understand everything you wrote.
    I'm also interested in getting a universal network of education. Especially something that can help those that do not have a class room. can you explain with the universal example then?
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      Jul 15 2013: Manishka Windweaver, the most difficult thing is to explain the dream or vision. To me, the biggest problem around is ignorance and above all culture of ignorance. To me all vicious circles somehow end up with ignorance e.g. Poverty and Ignorance, Terrorism and Ignorance, Extremism and Ignorance etc.
      Let me put it in simple words. Suppose there are nomads who are living below poverty line some where in India. They are travelling and finding temporary shelters around. They cant afford to send their kids to school therefore their kids will never learn the skills to become skillful to compete the world. They ll remain poor as their parents are forever. So see the circle of poverty and ignorance. One is poor therefore cant afford education and if wont receive education will remain poor. Same is true for other vicious circles.
      I am proposing a model where world is helping these kids to come out of this vicious circle with the help of technology. A 5 years old kid, say in US, is learning how to teeth brush and keep his/her teeth healthy. With the help of Universal Network of Education, this learning process can be shown to the poor kids in India with the help of Manishka. What Manishka is doing, Identifying only 10 kids, helping them to get registered with our network and facilitate 1 hour class on her laptop or Tv. This way, we establish a universal network where kids will at least learn the basic skills. Suppose you let them learn for 1 hour daily for 5 years, it amounts 1825 hours of learning in the lives of kids who otherwise spend these hours in non productive activities.
      I know this example raises some fundamental questions about the process. I welcome all those questions. Please dont jump into setting goals and objectives, lets spend some time in understanding the problem first. Thanks
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        Jul 16 2013: I've been working on my own goals and objectives for several years now just like every teacher out there. There are many working on understanding the problem in quantitative ways already out there. Concerted effort would be great, however, wars and terrorism will always disengage regions from any official treaties. Being better prepared with contingency plans to continue education in such situations would be good.

        The circles of poverty, nomadism, extremism, would all benefit from having the existing teachers equipped with entire curriculums saved on electronic media. Curriculums will continuously evolve in countries that put effort into research. Being prepared with any curriculum is better than being stuck without any at all.

        getting a network to identify children who need education would be a great thing. It can be started immediately on a small scale and it can evolve.

        anyway, best of luck.
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          Jul 16 2013: Manishka, the identification can be started but i think if network is not ready to teach these kids, the identification will serve no purpose. Once we have designed at least course for 1 year, identification process should not be initiated.
          I hope if you could share your thoughts about these out of school kids in your country, it will be of great use for us.
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        Jul 16 2013: very very large poverty/ignorance cycle. oopps gotta go, work, will elaborate tomorrow
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        Jul 17 2013: ok, so anyway, yes identifying kids without having anything prepared is a waste of time. unless you're doing research into what they need.

        I'm working on something slightly different which is to get content into electronic media that doesn't require internet connections, or international agreements, something that can be passed along without having official school attendance, and trying to push the limits on reducing the number of professionals needed to get certification.

        good luck with your venture.

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