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Event Highlights – NORRAG Advisor Presents Impact of COVID-19 on Girls’ Schooling in Pakistan

NORRAG Advisor, Wajeeha Bajwa, was invited as a Distinguished Speaker at the 23rd annual Sustainable Development Conference (SDC). She participated in a panel titled, “Education Methods in COVID-19 Response: Assessing Gendered Impact,” which was jointly organized by the Malala Fund and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad, Pakistan. With 49% of Pakistani girls out of school, and an aggravated situation due to COVID-19, the panel suggested solutions.

Bajwa’s presentation, “Exploring the Efficacy of Digital Education and Tele-Education on Girls’ Schooling in Pakistan during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” illustrated how the virus threatens to reverse the progress Pakistan has made in the past two decades in regards to girls’ access to education. Bajwa mentioned that many children have to travel miles to access internet for their lessons. This poses an impossible situation for female students in conservative regions.

Virtual or blended learning approaches do not match the learning outcomes from traditional teaching and learning approaches. -Wajeeha Bajwa, NORRAG Advisor

While she advocates for the improvement of digital and tele-education for public schools, she proposes the government can, “Use pre-existing resources that can be leveraged to reach out-of-school girls. One such resource is Pakistan Post that can be used by teachers to regularly mail the schoolwork to the poorest and most marginalized girls.”

The presentation took place on 14 December 2020, and the recording can be viewed below:

The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) hosted its 23rd Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) from 14 – 17 December 2020 in Islamabad, Pakistan. The overarching theme of the conference was “Sustainable Development in the Times of COVID-19.” More details about the SDC can be found here.

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