As the media partner on the USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project (PRP), Equal Access is working with International Rescue Committee to improve access to quality education in Pakistan, where soaring child illiteracy rates are among the highest in the world. Pakistan Reading Project’s overarching goal is to support the provincial and regional Departments of Education (DoE) throughout Pakistan to improve the reading skills of 4 million children. Equal Access is helping to achieve this goal through the production and broadcast of local language radio programming promoting a culture of children’s literacy, the management of reading groups complementing the radio show, and the production of audio and video materials supporting teachers’ literacy instruction.
These activities aim to:
- Improve the quality of teaching and assessment of reading by supporting improvements to pre-service education, providing a model for teachers’ continuous professional development for in-service teachers, and making supplemental instructional materials more widely available to primary school teachers (grades 1-5).
- Promote the adaptation and implementation of policies that promote quality teaching, especially in regards to teaching and assessment of reading, and will ensure the sustainability through policy changes.
- Support the civil society to re-establish a national culture of reading that once existed in Pakistan. This will be done through a small grants program, which will include complementary reading program grants, research and learning grants and community managed grants.
Equal Access is supplying interactive digital audio and video lessons and SMS responsive programming through low cost, low power tablets, or MP3 players for in-service training, professional development, and for teacher self-study. We are currently procuring 5,700 low-cost, low-power tablets with audiovisual and USB capacity to be distributed among different schools (at least 15% of target schools).
Furthermore, Equal Access is producing and will broadcast a weekly educational radio series (in three different local languages) targeting early grade readers and their teachers, families and caregivers. The radio series will feature practice of English words and songs that assist in learning new words and concepts as well as popular stories and fables, which expand their vocabulary and teach about Pakistani culture.