Second Round of Innovation, Research, and Advocacy Grants for Education in Pakistan Launches

October 19, 2012

The U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), also known as UKaid, has launched a second round of grants under the Ilm Ideas Program.

The £6.1 million program allocates grants from two funds:

  • The Voice & Accountability Fund will support research and advocacy initiatives to foster greater public demand for accountability and transparency in the education sector.
  • The Education Innovation Fund to support scalable projects that result in innovative solutions to improve access and quality in education.

Both funds are part of a £645 million commitment by UKaid for education in Pakistan and are being administered in partnership with DAI.

Charles Leadbeater, a leading authority on innovation and creativity and former advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was a featured presenter at a recent seminar held to launch the grants. He spoke of the need to be open to innovative solutions that come from the most unexpected places. He said the most resistance to innovative thinking comes from educationalists, who are largely proponents of traditional education systems. He said, “Change often comes from the margins. It often comes from unusual places; it very rarely comes straight from the mainstream.”

Moazzam Malik, DFID’s West Asia Director, briefed the audience about the initiatives taken by UKaid for the improvement of the education sector in Pakistan. UKaid’s commitment to education in Pakistan envisions putting four million children in school, training 45,000 teachers, and to help build 20,000 new classrooms. With nearly half of all adults and two of every three women illiterate, boosting education is seen as a key determinant in fostering a stable, prosperous and democratic Pakistan.

Fifteen projects currently being mobilized under the first round of funding were showcased at individual booths at the event; allowing for potential applicants to engage in one-on-one learning about the program.

Selected from a field of 349 applications, winning projects include ideas such as:

  • Satellite enabled mobile vans equipped with tablet computers that provide scheduled internet access to schools in remote villages.
  • DVD training courses for students and teachers to review together and learn about effective classroom practices.
  • Interactive radio instructions to classrooms on a two way speaker radio system.

Cost-effective solutions such as these will be funded for deployment at a larger scale. The Ilm Ideas program aims to benefit up to 12,000 students. The larger goal is for successful innovations to be adopted by schools throughout Pakistan.

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