Hafsa Tariq, a 14-year-old girl from Government Girls Comprehensive School, Peshawar, has developed an E-Learning Software for her brother to understand the complexities of science. She presented her project at the KP Digital Youth Summit 2018 before the PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Minister of Education-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Atif Khan, and Minister IT Shahram Tarakai.
Earlier, Hafsa, daughter of a driver, developed a smartphone application called Television by using Scratch as part of her project while enrolled in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board’s (KPITB) Early Age Programming (EAP) project. Her app allows users to access news, weather, sports, cartoons, cooking, music and drama channels.
The KPITB offers training in digital skills for youth in grades six to nine as part of its Early Age Programming (EAP) project. Hafsa was one of 3,000 schoolchildren in grades six to nine who were trained in the first phase of the EAP, which began in May and ended in December 2017. These students were selected from 60 schools throughout the province and the KPITB trained teachers and instructors to implement the project.
The second phase of the EAP project, launched in January 2018, aims to equip more than 15,000 students from more than 300 schools with market-oriented digital skills, according to the EAP manager, Zeeshan Khan. According to him, “The EAP is focused on training students in software coding in a fun and interactive manner using code.org and Scratch. Our focus is on teaching blog programming [as well as] apps and game development for smartphones.”
Students learn these digital skills in classes held at their school during free periods for two or three hours every day and the idea is to enhance their digital knowledge beyond the outdated computer courses taught in public schools.
Under a similar initiative, the KPITB began the first phase of its Youth Employment Programme (YEP) in April 2016 which ended in October 2017. According to the programme Director, Shuaib Khan, the YEP is part of the government’s new ‘Digital KP’ initiative – a four-pillar strategy aimed to expand internet access, develop digital skills, improve digital governance and promote the digital economy in KP.
Under the programme’s first phase, 2,100 students were trained in various digital courses such as game development, digital business communication, blogging and content writing, graphics design, digital marketing, YouTube and interactive media, WordPress, full-stack development, women in technology and data sciences.
The second phase of the YEP which was launched in October 2017 is set to operate till December 2019 with the goal of equipping 40,000 students with marketable digital skills. According to Shuaib Khan, these courses are aimed to promote digital skills which are in high demand in today’s digital economy. He claimed that most of their graduates have started generating income through online marketing and selling.
“The best way for Pakistan to prosper is to equip and train our children with modern technology, and that is the top priority of our government and education policy. Our children are our future, and we want to empower our future with the right kind of technology and skills” added Muhammad Atif Khan, KP’s Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education.
We congratulate Hafsa Tariq for her accomplishments and wish the KP government and students in the province best of luck for all their future digital endeavours!