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Khoj Project

 
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Khurram Owais Shah



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Last Visit: 09 Oct 2010
Posts: 45
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:49 pm    Post subject: Khoj Project Reply with quote

Online Education Proposal by Khoj
Team: Meher Jafri (team lead), Ali Anwerzada, Butool Rizvi
EC: Mubarik Imam, Waleed Saraf

Meher's initial feedback:
1. It says that a population of 20,000 benefits from Khoj activities. Is this calculated by the amount of teachers and students that have graduated from the program and reached matriculation respectively?

2. Do you have more info and breakdown of the revenue figure quoted as Rs. 6,241,111? Specifically:

a) Is this comprised wholly of funding from donor organizations or is there any charge to students whatsoever for Khoj's services?


b) Is there a percentage breakdown of how much funding is received by which org, and the structure of the grants (i.e. disbursed over how many years, or one time, etc)?

3. How long have the team of volunteer professionals committed themselves to teaching for the program (beyond the first phase of the project)?

Initial list of questions:

How do costs for Khoj teacher training compare to other institutes (such as Ali Insitute for example?)

What is the curriculum for Khoj teacher training? Who designs it? Who will deliver the lectures etc?

Is the teacher training program certified by the government?

How effective is virtual teacher training? How will the virtual training be done using two computers?

How many teachers are currently being employed by the Khoj Education Program? What is the need for additional teachers?

How are the teachers going to be selected for the training?

What metrics will be used to define a successful training?

Budget diligence: quotations for hardware seem high

Are they open to training other teachers at their center?
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Butool Rizvi



Joined: 25 Dec 2008
Last Visit: 16 Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Pakistan
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:28 pm    Post subject: Additional Questions Reply with quote

Do the trainers have special training in virtual education? ( certification, past experience)
How will the training contribute to the overall knowledge base of the teachers? ( subjects, teaching methodologies, etc.)
What is the period over which the training program is to continue?
How will the trained teachers subsequently design a curriculum for students? How will it be monitored and evaluated?
Is the quoted budget most reasonable and affordable given the comparable prices in the market?
What is the mode of examination of the teachers?
Will their be any technical support made available at the training centre?
Will written material, books, handouts, etc. be incorporated in the overall training process?
How have previous Khoj projects been funded?
What is the devised schedule for the dissemination of the virtual training?
What is the monitoring mechanism for the Khoj field project?
What is the degree of computer literacy of the teachers and secondary level students at Khoj?
What is the strength of the teaching staff and what will be the teacher- to computer ratio?
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Butool Rizvi



Joined: 25 Dec 2008
Last Visit: 16 Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Pakistan
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 3:34 pm    Post subject: Topic wise questions submitted to Nasira Reply with quote

This is a more organized, topical list of questions that meher submitted to nasira after she responded earlier today. The list of questions in the "additional questions" post have not been incorporated in it yet.


Curriculum
What is the curriculum for Khoj teacher training? Who designs it? Who will deliver the lectures etc?
Is the teacher training program certified by the government?

Budget

How do costs for Khoj teacher training compare to other institutes (such as Ali Insitute for example?)
Budget diligence: quotations for hardware seem high

Do you have more info and breakdown of the revenue figure quoted as Rs. 6,241,111? Specifically:

a) Is this comprised wholly of funding from donor organizations or is there any charge to students whatsoever for Khoj's services?


b) Is there a percentage breakdown of how much funding is received by which org, and the structure of the grants (i.e. disbursed over how many years, or one time, etc)?
Quality
How will the virtual system take care students-teacher
interactions, which seem pivotal in terms of the goals of the
organization?
There seems to be some form of 'standardization' that will
take place in virtual lectures. If that is true, will it, in
any way, subside Khoj's charter?

Sustainability
How long have the team of volunteer professionals committed themselves to teaching for the program (beyond the first phase of the project)?

Logistics
How effective is virtual teacher training? How will the virtual training be done using two computers?
How many teachers are currently being employed by the Khoj Education Program? What is the need for additional teachers?
How are the teachers going to be selected for the training?
Is there any evaluation study done by Khoj on the effectiveness of virtual training vis-à-vis face to-face training (pros and cons of the two approaches)?
How does Khoj plan to track student progress under virtual
training?
How does Khoj plan to identify student/class needs under
virtual training?
Measurability
It says that a population of 20,000 benefits from Khoj activities. Is this calculated by the amount of teachers and students that have graduated from the program and reached matriculation respectively?


Other
What metrics will be used to define a successful training?
Are they open to training other teachers at their center?
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Meher Jaffri



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Last Visit: 18 Feb 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:22 pm    Post subject: Response to Initial Questions by Founder Reply with quote

I have attached the responses by Khoj's founder, Nasira Habib to our initial questions.

A few issues remain in my mind:

1. Funding going forward: Though we have been provided with CIDA and SCUK's commitment in the past and currently, I am more interested in knowing what their commitment, if any, is going forward.

2. Want to verify the proposed budget and costs of equipment that we have been provided with. I am doing some research on that but if anyone knows please let me know.

3. Teaching schedule post-funding and measurability: Answers to questions related to the mapped out plan in terms of the training schedule seem vague. Since this project will be pioneering virtual teaching methods, I guess learning outcomes will be very valuable in terms of what served as the most effective method to conduct virtual training. Therefore I think there is merit in supporting this project as a lab and concentrate on measuring results. The initial proposal by Khoj indicated there was testing already done so I will be probing further into this.

Butool and Ali, let me know of any issues in your mind, I can try to get them answered when I call Nasira on Tuesday.
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Butool Rizvi



Joined: 25 Dec 2008
Last Visit: 16 Apr 2010
Posts: 3
Location: Pakistan
PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attached herewith is the project summary form filled by the team so far
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Meher Jaffri



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Last Visit: 18 Feb 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:42 am    Post subject: further conversation with Nasira Reply with quote

Hey guys, some points I thought I'd share after speaking further with Nasira:

• Issues re non-government certification: Till grade 8 students are taught completely through the Khoj methodology. For 9th and 10th grade students they ensure that they are on par with the government curriculum and training is geared towards matriculation exams which they take at the end of the course.

• NGO’s funding issues going forward: Funding from CIDA and SCUK has run out and they have not applied for anymore funding as Khoj is currently going through a sort of transitional phase where they are revamping the curriculum and organisation. Currently their costs are being met by private fundung. They hope to establish an endowment of Rs. 10 million (Rs. 0.5 million of that has already been committed by a private donor) of which they are sorting out the paperwork and legal issues. They have a pool of 150 private donors. Though they have not yet applied for further institutional funding, Khoj has begun putting together proposals for Henrich Bal (a German org), Dil, and Oxfam (with whom they have worked extensively with before) for funding going forward.

• Schedule/details of virtual training classes: The need for virtual training is a compulsion, not a choice for Khoj as there are serious logistical concerns with on site teaching. So far they have experimented with their existing equipment, but the current technology is disruptive and does not make for efficient classes. Per session they will teach the current grade 10 class (around 15 students) virtually for as many sessions as it takes till they are ready.
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Meher Jaffri



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Last Visit: 18 Feb 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:32 am    Post subject: PS form and attachments sent by email Reply with quote

Hi Guys,

I was having some trouble attaching the docs on the forum so they were mailed to the project and EC team and I will attach them later.

Looking forward to speaking to you guys at 9.
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Meher Jaffri



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Last Visit: 18 Feb 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:02 pm    Post subject: Post EC call follow up Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Below is a summary of what issues and concerns the PT and EC brought up in our last call, and Nasira's responses/my research on the issues. Issues that still need clarity need to be addressed in the site visit and I will be uploading/emailing that in the pre-site visit form to discuss on our next call.

Technical issues:
1. Concerns re bandwidth, high speed internet capability to support video conferencing in Thati Bhanguan:
- Currently Khoj is using PTCL wireless and in their original proposed budget had accounted for this type of connection. Now they are thinking of using a USB internet connectivity device by UFONE who has just set up a booster very near the proximity of Thati Bhanguan. It is slightly more expensive (approx Rs 11,000 x 2 for both ends), but will be more effective in data/audiovisual transfer because it is broadband and the speed is higher.
- With regard to the equipment requested, it is Nasira’s experience that schools conducting virtual classes in the UK and America use that type of equipment.

2. Need for 2 projectors:
- Will need a projector in TB to see classroom in order to interact more efficiently and on teacher’s end so that the classroom can see what the teacher is writing on the board/notebook or whatever she needs to demonstrate. With a normal computer monitor readability is poor. Since they submitted the proposal they have decided perhaps it is better to affix LCD monitors on the wall in place of multimedia projectors (if the price is right). The visuals will be clearer, plus there is less chance of the equipment moving around and getting damaged.

3. Upgrade existing computers vs. purchasing new
- The existing computers do not have the needed capabilities and they have been told that for the cost of up gradation they will be better off buying new computers with the required capability.
- Biggest problem currently is the speed that is not currently capable of transmitting audio/visual data effectively.

4. Utilization of Lab: How many hours/day will virtual classes be conducted. Other uses?
- Currently Nasira knows that these sessions will take place 2hrs/day (this will cut down the Rs.2000/day expense for transport of science and math teachers that are needed)
- Currently there are 15 students in the Grade 9 class that would have been taught. At this point they are set to take their examinations soon so we will begin with the next batch of students. Again, students of other classes will come to benefit from the classes.
- Other than that she foresees Grade 3 or 4 upwards being inducted into virtual classes. When there is a session/class being conducted on a certain topic, not only will the students learn but simultaneously, a local teacher will be trained on that topic.
- Other uses: there are several interactive sites that have different toolsand resources that can be used for educational purposes. Have not yet tried this out but Nasira is actively researching this.


Funding/Finance:

1. What happens to the surplus on income statement:
- Most of the private donations (including that of thee endowment fund) are restricted and committed towards specific projects. Most have been committed for the Health Centre, while some are demarcated for example, towards the construction of a specific room in a school

2. Site visit needs to address : break down of operational costs


Metrics/How to measure effectiveness.


- The secondary level course is a 2 year course, so we cannot measure by graduation levels.
- Khoj has offered to send ADP monthly reports on the quality and quantity of teacher training.
- Though Nasira/Khoj has a very good reputation in the education and development sector, we may not want to rely on her reports only.
- If we can figure out how to conduct randomized trials that can be one method (address in site visit; get more info from Mubarik re university that was interested in doing this).
- We need to ascertain what the competencies of grade 9 students are and develop indicators to measure this. In Nasira’s experience, developing effective indicators and yardsticks to measure progress is done most effectively through donor site visits, where the donors get a real feel of whats happening on the ground, what factors are most efficient and possible to measure.

Effectiveness of virtual education:

- I have attached an interesting survey/report conducted by a professor of the Virtual University of Pakistan on the effectiveness of virtual classes. Despite problems of ergonomics, virtual classes are concluded to be effective, flexible, convenient and a benefit for students with mobility and financial constraints while simultaneously providing them direct and practical epxosure to emerging technologies.



Other things for PT's consideration:

- Other streams of income:
3. Branding the virtual classes
4. Sponsorship through tech/computer companies: Microsoft/Intel
5. Ali will pitch to “Inbox”, possibly re donation of computers
6. Look at telecom companies

- Randomized trails
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Meher Jaffri



Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Last Visit: 18 Feb 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Karachi
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:04 pm    Post subject: Site visit date Reply with quote

Nasira has said that next Saturday is a good time for the site visit and we should follow up with her before that.
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