Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor LUMS, visited Khud’s EdTech School on its Demo Day recently, where children from EdTech programmes across its 4 schools in Lahore showcased their work in cutting edge digital areas. The students presenting their tech expertise ranged from younger children who were beginning their journey in digital literacy, to young women entrepreneurs.
Khud was started by Salahuddin Khawaja, a LUMS alumnus of BSc 1997, with support from fellow LUMS graduates, in an effort to give back to society. Recognising the magnitude of the education crisis, Mr. Khawaja believes that education technology, coupled with self-learning, is the 21st century solution that will help tackle this crisis.
Dr. Ahmad appreciated Khud’s “tremendous vision” of trying to tackle Pakistan’s education crises in innovative ways. He was greatly impressed with the way the young children had translated their understanding of Khud’s EdTech Programmes. He also applauded the confidence of the students who had could be compared to professionals and university students
An interactive session was also held on the occasion, where the students were extremely excited to ask Dr. Ahmad about possible future collaborations with LUMS. Students of Grade 7 and 8 inquired about ways to get admission into LUMS as well as other leading universities in Pakistan. Dr. Ahmad explained how the LUMS National Outreach Programme caters to underprivileged yet brilliant students of Pakistan and encouraged them to apply. The children appreciated LUMS efforts to provide a way for financially constrained students to get a world-class education.
The children in Khud programmes are disadvantaged with limited access to technology but are extremely curious and very eager to learn. This curiosity motivates them to make the most of the Schools’ EdTech programmes and take giant strides towards digital literacy. Such exposure allows the children to self-learn in other more advanced areas and uplift themselves and their families out of poverty. With this aim, Khud is also establishing “mini-startups” to facilitate the community. A group of young women, who had never heard the concept of a blog, are now running an automation blog: Autome.me.
Four years old, Khud now offers programmes such as Introduction to Computer: learning how to type and operate a computer; Presentation and Storytelling: learning 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) and Software Programming (starting with Scratch and moving onto Python).
Appreciating Mr. Khawaja’s initiative, Dr. Ahmad said, “Salah 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.”