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Helping Hands


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Dear Readers,

Jean Piaget a famous psychologist once said "The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things".

Historical trend shows that literacy rate has improved from almost 12% literate world in 1800 to aprox. 85% literate world in 2016. (source: https://ourworldindata.org/literacy) . This improvement in literacy rate is mainly witnessed in developed countries and as a result these countries have prospered over the years. With the help of easy access to quality education today the top 03 countries contributing to the noble is America (368 Noble prize winners) followed by UK (132 noble prize winners) and Germany (107 noble prize winners), and i am pretty sure that one can not disagree with my argument that these countries have quality living facilities, from top notch hospitals/universities/schools to world class banking/insurance/investment services and the most secured job markets.

When we look around us, specially when we gaze deep into the developing world, we come up with only one conclusion and that conclusion is "misery without education".

I belong from a region that has the 2nd least educated population, and the region is South Asia, the region has about 30% of illiterate population, the country I belong from is Pakistan , which according to the data extracted from worldatlas.com, has a literate population of mere 55% and that is the reason that so far we have only produced 1 noble prize winner. The masses of my country are deprived of basic necessities like safe drinking water, healthy and green environment, poor medical and health services, stagnant growth in children etc. In my opinion, the solution to all such problems is one! and that solution is give easy access to quality education, let the children learn, earn and make them capable enough to contribute to the society .

The purpose of this thread is to enable the people on this forum to think and discuss ways to uplift the societies deprived of education, lets join hands to educate the uneducated and play our part in this humanitarian cause. Lets create a vision of " education without borders"!!

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@Zarak Khan This is such a great post! I appreciate your vision of having "education without borders." I'm going to tag some people here who are also passionate about education – perhaps they'd like to respond: @destonttanner @Judith @Maryam @Educational leadership @Jamiil

I've never been to Pakistan but I'm working on a project with a friend who lives there. As a result, I've learned a little more about the challenges that so many people face there. What are people doing in Pakistan to access education? You're using Coursera – do you know others who are using Coursera? Has learning online given you any skills you've been able to put towards your vision of increasing access to education?
@Zarak Khan , education should have no borders, you raise such an important subject. The answer lies with online education in places where it just isn’t possible to create schools and pay for top notch teachers. This is a way that quality education can be had by all.
Technology makes it possible to achieve this. You can even hold live classes where students can ask questions and interact with one another.
But you need to have strong internet connections, and devices that people can readily use. You also need to have such courses become accepted as valuable education, creating degrees and connections to help graduates find jobs afterwards.
It certainly can be possible these days, but still a challenge to make happen.
@Zarak Khan, you've propounded a thought-provoking topic.

When we look around us, specially when we gaze deep into the developing world, we come up with only one conclusion and that conclusion is "misery without education".

Could education be considered the ultimate solution by itself? In my opinion, this is multi-faceted. Several factors appear to be jointly responsible for creating this situation in some parts of the world. The education insufficiency itself could be an upshot of an intertwined network of several factors.

I suppose what works for a nation might not work equally well for another nation particularly because every nation has its own socio-economic, political, and ideological characteristics. What can be done within the borders? Are all people aware of their rights? These are the questions that, I think, need to be considered, too.


The purpose of this thread is to enable the people on this forum to think and discuss ways to uplift the societies deprived of education, lets join hands to educate the uneducated and play our part in this humanitarian cause. Lets create a vision of " education without borders"!!



Well, to me, online education has to some extent actualized the "education without borders" motto. I'm a Mentor for 2 courses where learners from various parts of the world, including the developing countries, have been taking them. Mentoring has enabled me to play a (tiny) role for the cause of "education without borders". 🙂
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Education is a huge topic! For countries where English is not a mandatory second language, the challenge is much higher. Even for countries where English is not so much a problem, like America, we have had this problem for many decades.

Take a look at this article Illiteracy in America, despite plenty of resources and support, as far as the author is concerned, we have a crisis. Take the case of affordable and high quality resources like
Coursera where anyone with a high school education would be able to pursue college level and postgraduate education, the fact that the completion rate on MOOC platform is in single digit seems to points out that resources and support is a necessary but not sufficient condition to raise the literacy rate beyond high school.

As for completion of high school that is free in America, we are not doing that well either. That is in spite of the investment by Gates Foundation made more than two decades ago, with publication of best practice in education that is evidence based research; and the availability of Khan Academy.

On that note, the documentary "Waiting for Superman" reminds me that there are other forces in play, holding back students eager to learn. This happens in not so few public schools, in large cities including New York.

If we have problems in America, I can see an order of magnitude challenge in Pakistan. For example, @Judith and @Maryam listed the infrastructure needs even for English speaking Pakistan learners for them to freely access educational materials in Khan Academy and Coursera.

I am aware of many charity programs that arrange volunteers to teach English in foreign countries. That is as close to Education without Border as far as I know. I have yet to find a study as to its efficacy.

Maybe, with the advance in automated translation such as Google or Baisu to interface with Coursera and Khan, the need to know English would be a lesser handicap for foreign language learner. Would that be a possibility?
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Thanks for the post.
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Hello I absolutely agree, but in the States the money we shave off our budgets is Education. Plus research shows Early Childhood Education is where money should be spent. We cut services to our future this makes absolutely 0 sense.
Perhaps those on the forum can get Educational materials we no longer have use of. A solid Educational Business Model sent too the Country’s Ambassador. I truly believe we can all do something we just need to care more
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Education is all about transformation and enlightenment of human behavior. Education is certainly does not mean to instill plethora of knowledge and information into human mind. Contrarily, education empowers human intellect to think freely and apply his/her learning for the benefit of his personal life and for the uplift of human society at large.

Character building is the the sole purpose/goal of education. However, human character building is the most missing element in the modern education system globally. This goal need to be addressed through the development of all three stakeholders including student, teacher and parents.

Unless and until this need cannot be addressed, human society cannot achieve the true meaning of education, and would never be able to create innovative, and creative leaders and role models for the future generations.

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@Rhea and @Instructional Designer gave great reference to researches done to make education effective as well as where to invest, and to whom. Parents!

How might we help the parents? And, more importantly, before people become parents?
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@Laura thank you for your wonderful words and thank you for tagging people that matters!. I apologise for not being in touch as i was busy with some of my personal stuff. To your reply

"I've never been to Pakistan but I'm working on a project with a friend who lives there. As a result, I've learned a little more about the challenges that so many people face there. What are people doing in Pakistan to access education? You're using Coursera – do you know others who are using Coursera? Has learning online given you any skills you've been able to put towards your vision of increasing access to education?"

Hope that you or a member of your team will visit Pakistan someday, please do let me know if i could be of any help in your project or otherwise. Well, let me just give you a snapshot of the basic core problems that we are facing here in Pakistan;
  1. No uniform syllabus, here in Pakistan we have Govt Schools (downside; very conservative syllabus, poor quality education, old teaching methods/unproductive teaching methods, Target audience: Lower class ), Private schools (downside; Much expensive/not in reach of the average Pakistani, Does not focus on the issues being faced in the country, Target audience, Elite & Middle Class), Madrassas/Religious Schools (downside; focuses only on religious studies Target audience, generally very poor class)
  2. Currently, Pakistan has the world's second-highest number of out-of-school children (OOSC) with an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5-16 not attending school, representing 44 per cent of the total population in this age group (source: UNICEF)
  3. Backwardness in Technology, here in Pakistan everyone knows about social networks but there are very few fortunate that knows that education can be free and there are forums (one Like coursera) that do offers free education
@Laura these are just few common problems that everyone living in Pakistan are aware of, otherwise the list is quite lengthy.

I know few people in my social circle who are aware of coursera and have access to it, but let me assure you that i am your brand ambassador and whoever i meet i do let them know of this beautiful and blessed forum for education and i do let them know of the hardwork that has been put into by beautiful people like yourself.

Well the last thing you have asked about my vision of increasing access to education, well i am a donor and member of "The Citizen Foundation" .(a foundation that enrols children from less privileged classes and educates them). and this is how i contribute a little bit into this big world.

Moreover, if ever possible i would love to become a mentor on "Coursera" and transfer whatever i have learned.
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@Judith very rightly said, can not agree more, in my previous reply i have mentioned the problems that my society faces and one of it is backwardness and inaccessibility to internet. but together we can help each other and make this world a lively place.
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@Maryam agree with your every word said except that i disagree with "I suppose what works for a nation might not work equally well for another nation particularly because every nation has its own socio-economic, political, and ideological characteristics".

Let's have a functional debate about it, well to my understanding it is the education that helps you differentiate right from wrong, ethical from unethical and light from dark. This is my personal opinion that the chaos in today's world either it is economic chaos, terrorism or any other common problem the world is faced with, is because of the lack of education. People are misused/mistreated just because the one being oppressed lacks knowledge of his/her basic rights, likewise the ones being used in terrorism (fighting at the core end) are mostly illiterate and are being exploited in the name of religion.
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@Laura can we just get a whatsapp group for the purpose? I think it would be a great idea to help the needy. This way not only will we be able to contribute to the society but also involve others who are not on this forum and get them involved.
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@Laura can we just get a whatsapp group for the purpose? I think it would be a great idea to help the needy. This way not only will we be able to contribute to the society but also involve others who are not on this forum and get them involved.

Hi @Zarak Khan. There are Coursera learners who start groups through other apps/platforms to connect with each other if another app/platform works better for people in their country. You are welcome to do this. Because this community is visible the public, we ask people not to share personal details (like phone numbers) here, but you can send private messages to people you'd like to connect with.

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