Pakistan's new TeleSchool Channel teaches students at home

By Javed Khan

A student from Peshawar watches the TeleSchool on April 17. [Javed Khan]

A student from Peshawar watches the TeleSchool on April 17. [Javed Khan]

PESHAWAR -- Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 13 launched the TeleSchool Channel on television to educate millions of children staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

The project will continue even after the pandemic to educate millions of children, especially those in remote areas, according to Khan.

"This will help educate children and adults by providing quality education through a state television channel," he said.

The effort is being jointly launched by the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Education, said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan.

"The TeleSchool will telecast educational programmes for [each grade up] to grade 12 from 8am until 6pm [Monday to Friday]," said Awan.

The channel will help boost the literacy rate in the country and provide education to millions of children confined to their homes by the pandemic, she added.

The new TeleSchool was the need of the hour because students have been forced to leave school, said Amina Khan, a Peshawar-based journalist.

Learning at home is more convenient and saves time and energy, she said.

Aiding poor and vulnerable schoolchildren

"Street children and those from destitute families can learn without any fee or hassle," she added.

"The TeleSchool will be an excellent effort to educate the students of the [erstwhile] tribal districts and other areas where the literacy rate is not high and children don't go to school," said Abdul Akbar Afridi, a resident of Khyber District.

Many teenagers who do not go to school have fallen prey to anti-state elements and even terrorists who hired them in the past, he said.

"If the parents make them sit in front of TV to learn and study, they can stay away from all kind of negative activities," said Afridi, adding that more schools and TeleSchool can help end crime, terrorism and poverty by imparting quality education to future generations.

Parents say they appreciate the new effort, comparing it to similar programmes of other countries that are educating millions of children.

"Though it cannot be an alternative to regular school, TeleSchool will help students continue learning and remain in touch with their courses," said Fakhar Alam, a father of four from Peshawar.

The school will be helpful for learning more about different topics even after the coronavirus situation ends, he said.

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