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Alumna aids Pakistan’s COVID-19 response through the nation’s first educational TV channel

Posted: 18 May 2020

Pakistan, Alumni, COVID-19, Impact,

Saadia Adnan, an Australia Awards alumna from Pakistan, is leading one of her country’s most innovative responses to the COVID-19 crisis: TeleSchool. This nationally broadcast TV channel is designed to help Pakistan’s primary and secondary school students continue their education during the pandemic.

Pakistan reported its first two COVID-19 positive cases in late February. The country went under partial lockdown in early April, which continued until early May. The government has now relaxed the terms of the lockdown to a ‘smart lockdown’, advising its citizens to practice caution and social distancing norms. Schools, however, remain closed throughout the country.

While COVID-19 cases are on the rise, Pakistan is mobilising all its resources to battle this global pandemic. TeleSchool, which is Pakistan’s first-ever educational TV channel, aims to provide learning assistance to students confined at home. Its content has been designed so it is relevant for all school age groups and demographics, regardless of their textbooks or system of education.

Saadia, who was awarded an Australia Awards Scholarship in 2014 and completed a Master of Education (Leadership and Management) at Flinders University, has spearheaded TeleSchool in her current role as Director of Academics at the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training.

Saadia promoting the launch of TeleSchool on one of Pakistan’s morning TV broadcasts

With millions of students now confined in their homes, Saadia and the Ministry faced the challenge of working out how to engage these students in productive educational activities. She was responsible for designing, planning and launching the TeleSchool channel, and took the lead in coordinating with multiple stakeholders, including teachers, IT professionals, private education technology partners and senior government officials.

“The biggest hurdle in leading the TeleSchool project has been the multiple tiers of work involved in implementing this project and keeping multiple stakeholders onboard,” Saadia says. “From design to execution, it has been quite demanding. Along with indispensable academic strengths, leading the project requires team management, communication and coordination skills. With the set of skills ingrained in me, I am doing all of this successfully. I owe a lot of this to my teachers at Flinders University, for providing me with that skillset, and to Australia Awards, for giving me an opportunity to benefit from a world-class education system.”

TeleSchool was the brainchild of the Minister of Federal Education and Professional Training and was personally launched by the Prime Minister of Pakistan; heading the project has been an unprecedented honour for Saadia.

TeleSchool aims to reach 95% of the school-going population of Pakistan and the lessons are designed for children from grades 1 to 12. In order to ensure equity in learning,

Since its launch in mid-April, TeleSchool has been broadcasting every day from 8am to 6pm and will continue until mid-July.