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LUMS Vice Chancellor’s Visit to Khud EdTech School

We were honored to host Dr. Ahmed Arshad, the Vice Chancellor of LUMS, for Demo Day. Children from our edtech programs across the 4 schools in Lahore showcased their efforts in cutting edge digital areas. Starting with younger children who were beginning their journey in digital literacy to young women entrepreneurs.

Project Khud VC LUMS Dr Arshad Ahmad Group Picture Demo Day Edtech.jpeg

Dr. Arshad appreciated Khud’s “tremendous vision” of trying to tackle Pakistan’s education crises in a disruptive way. Given his background in Educational Psychology, he was particularly impressed how young children were able to confidently present what they had learned via Khud’s edtech programs. Dr. Arshad and other guests noted how university students and in some cases professionals, can’t present with such confidence!

 
Project+Khud+VC+ Lums+ Scratch.jpeg
 

The children in our programs are disadvantaged with limited, if any, access to technology. But, they are just like other children in that they have the curiosity and an eagerness to learn. Tapping into that is the fuel that propels the children through Khud’s edtech program towards digital literacy.

Four years into our journey, Khud’s vision of end to end digital literacy is now taking shape:

  • Introduction to Computer: learning how to type and operate a computer

  • Presentation and Storytelling: learning a new topics (e.g. Artificial Intelligence) and developing a presentation

  • Video Editing: creating and editing videos (this can easily lead to vocational work as emphasis on video content is ever increasing)

  • Software Programming (starting with Scratch and moving onto Python)

Khud EdTech Digital Program - Python Scratch Graphic Design Presentation Video Editing.jpg
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After acquiring digital skills, children can self-learn other more advanced areas and uplift themselves and their families out of poverty. In that spirit, Khud is establishing “mini-startups” to facilitate the journey. A group of young women, who had never heard the concept of a blog, are now running an automation blog: Autome.me. We are wishing them success!

In the Q&A session, the students were extremely excited to ask Dr. Arshad about possible future collaborations with LUMS. Students of Grade 7 and 8 inquired the best approach in to get admitted to LUMS as well as other leading universities in Pakistan. Dr. Arshad explained how National Outreach Program caters to such underprivileged yet brilliant students of Pakistan. The children appreciated that there is a path for them to also get a world class education.

Note from the VC:

“LUMS alum Salah Khawaja, Class of BSc 97 gives new meaning to giving back. Despite a trailblazing career and a prominent role at the Bank of America, he started Khud - an EdTech initiative focused on giving underprivileged children digital literacy. With a bit of help from his uncle (Naseem Iqbal - a successful businessman based in Lahore) children have taught themselves python programming, design skills and tool based applications. I saw 6 presentations under a makeshift tent projected on a broken brick wall. It was all surreal but frankly incredible 21st century learning. It’s the kind of giving with a multiplier effect that is infinite. Thank you Salah. We need more role models like you.”

Four years into Khud’s journey, we are now very excited to formalize our edtech programs and scale. We need all the help - please volunteer with or support us financially.

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Friends of Khud Come to Visit us at Zahoor School

In late December, we hosted visitors at Zahoor School - the pilot school of Khud’s self-learning initiative (on the outskirts of Lahore). The background of our visitors was wide ranging: bankers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, architects and moms. Some local Lahoris, others from as near as Islamabad  - others all the way from Dubai and New York

It was a great opportunity for us to not only share the great progress that we have made but also get their thoughts, suggestions and counsel on how to improve our approach and pedagogy. Moreover, the event helped us in connecting these children with outsiders. The children were very excited to meet and interact with people with whom normally they would never get the chance.

The conversation was started by Khud's founder Salahuddin Khawaja - he shared how he was inspired by the work of educationist and TED-Talk winner Dr Sugata Mitra in India and across numerous countries in the third world. Salahuddin highlighted the troubled state of affairs in education sector of Pakistan, in summary:

  • 146 (out of 187) UN Education Index
  • 25 Million Children are not in school
  • 1.4 Million Teachers are needed

(Source: Alif Ailaan's great work on the Pakistan's Education Crises.)

Khud is trying to tackle this crises head-on. In: Self-Learning, Technology and Inherent Curiosity. Out: Dogmatic, rote memorization.

Then it was the children's turn. Those that have been following Khud will recall we asked the children to build presentations using cloud based service Haiku Decks. The topics we posed:

  • What is Success?
  • What is Google?
  • What is Wordpress?
  • What is Great Art?

Most of these children 1 year ago did not know what the Internet was. Slowly they chipped away and were able to create the topical presentations with limited guidance. 

Khud Students Presentation Self Learning Zahoor

The visitors were amazed to see how a 12-14 year old kid that had just learned to use a computer talking about Wordpress and JavaScript. Pretty sure some of our less tech-savvy visitors picked up a nugget or two! Here is just that presentation:

(Presentations was just the start of our innovative pedagogy, so much more to come: video editing, coding, design etc.)

The conversation then shifted to the visitors sharing their take on success. Sohail Khan of StormHarbor shared "To attain success you have to keep trying … and remember respect is king!" Naveed Khalid Chowdhary of Medipak encouraged empathy as a key attribute and said that, “It is human nature that giving feels better than taking … touching peoples live is very important." Abid Imam, a Pakistani lawyer and politician said, “The path to success is different for everyone” and more importantly, as Shahzad Ali of Goldman Sachs put it, "Failure is in the path to success and that is completely OK."

The visitors stressed that success is not something that can be quantified and should not only be look through a monetary lens. Rather, success is something that gives you peace and makes you feel content with your life. The visitors also encouraged the young learners to dream big and take risks in their life. 

All in all was a great visit where both the students and visitors learned from each other. If you are ever in Lahore and are interested in paying us a visit, drop us a line.

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