Pakistan’s 2012 Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act neither mentions the terms “information and communications technology (ICT)” and “educational technology (ed-tech)” nor refers to other technology-specific terminology (e.g., distance education, open educational resources, and assistive technologies in education). Nonetheless, Pakistan’s 2012 Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act defines “special education” as “educational programmes and activities for students with physical and mental disabilities using special teaching approaches, equipment and care”.
The term ICT is mentioned in the 2017-2025 National Education Policy, and the 2020-2025 Balochistan Education Sector Plan. However, the above-mentioned official documents do not define the term. The 2017 National Curriculum Framework mentions the term edtech; however, the framework does not define the term. The 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (amended in 2015) and the 2017-2025 National Education Policy mention the term “information technology”; however, these official documents do not define the term. Furthermore, the 2017-2025 National Education Policy mentions the term “assistive and adaptive technology” without defining the term.
At the provincial level, the 2013 Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Act of Sindh and the 2020/21-2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan also mention the term ICT without defining it. The 2013 Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Act of Sindh defines the term “alternative learning centres” as “means schools/centres for children (of age 5-16 years), without disabilities or special needs, who are not enrolled in the regular schools”.
Constitution and laws: There is no reference to technology in education in Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution (amended in 2012), the 2012 Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, and the province of Punjab’s 2014 Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
In the province of Sindh, the 2013 Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Act ensures that a) the School development/improvement plans in the province include the minimum ICT infrastructure requirements; b) children with special education needs (SEN) admitted to schools shall not be discriminated against compared to the rest of the children in any manner pertaining to entitlements and facilities such as textbooks, uniforms, the use of laboratories, libraries and ICT facilities, extra-curricular activities and sports.
Policies, plans and strategies: Pakistan has a long history of integrating and popularising information and communication technologies and their use in education in its policies, plans and strategies.
The 1998-2010 National Education Policy stressed diversifying the education system, making curriculum development a continuous process with the use of information technology.
The vision of the 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015) is to harness the potential of information technology as a pivotal contributor to the development of Pakistan. The 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015) recognises education as one of the critical sectors and aims “to attract the most able students and develop faculty for IT, in order to ensure quality, quantity, affordability, and market relevance of all IT education and training”. Furthermore, the 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015) encourages the training and hiring of women in the IT sector and the use of IT services by people with disability.
The 2017-2025 National Education Policy aims to promote, expand and strengthen IT education; to enhance information and communication technologies (ICTs) to develop access to quality education and literacy. The main pillars in the area of improving ICT education include: providing access to ICT in schools; using ICT to strengthen the quality of teaching and enhance student learning; developing complementary approaches to ICT in education; building on best practices in existing ICT programmes; and developing the capacity of education departments.
The vision of the 2018 Digital Pakistan Policy is to become a strategic enabler for an accelerated digitisation ecosystem to expand the knowledge-based economy and spur socio-economic growth. The crucial focus areas of the 2018 Digital Pakistan Policy are education, health, commerce, justice, energy and agriculture.
The 2021 National Cybersecurity Policy envisages having a secure, robust, and continually improving nationwide digital ecosystem ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of digital assets leading to socio-economic development and national security. The 2021 National Cybersecurity Policy recognises the education sector as one of the critical sectors to strengthen the national cybersecurity posture.
The 2025 Pakistan Vision aims to make comprehensive reforms, comprising detailed actions in curriculum, pedagogy, technology, governance, assessment as well as social and economic relevance in the educational system to improve the quality of public schooling.
In the province of Punjab, to achieve the overarching goals of improving quality and learning outcomes, access, retention and equity, governance and management, the 2019/20-2023/24 Education Sector Plan introduces five priority programmes. One of the main focuses of the priority programmes within the improving quality and learning outcomes goal is to incorporate technology-oriented education.
In the province of Sindh, the 2019-2024 School Education Sector Plan and Roadmap (SESP&R) aims to digitise the teaching and learning resources and assessment practices in the province's public schools to enable students and teachers to use technology and raise achievement. The three central goals of the 2019-2024 School Education Sector Plan and Roadmap (SESP&R) are to increase equitable enrolment and ensure retention for children and adolescents at all levels, including the provision of literacy for youths; improve the capacity of delivery systems at provincial and district levels, including meritorious teacher recruitment, teacher training and professional development, curriculum, textbook and learning materials, and student learning outcomes and quality assurance; effectively use resources at all levels. To achieve these goals as mentioned above, the 2019-2024 School Education Sector Plan and Roadmap (SESP&R) outlines 13 objectives through 8 priority programmes.
In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the 2020/21 – 2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan aims to deliver good quality teaching and learning opportunities for all by focusing on six strategic areas: improving access, retention and equity in education; enhancing quality and relevance of education; improving management and governance of education; costing and financing of ESP; monitoring, evaluation and knowledge management framework. Almost every strategic area of the 2020/21 – 2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan emphasises using technology to achieve its goals.
In the province of Balochistan, with the support of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and UNICEF, the 2020-2025 Education Sector Plan prioritises learning and access and participation as the most important areas of policy focus in school education. Within these focus areas, the 2020-2025 Education Sector Plan prioritises providing education to out-of-school children and girls; child care and welfare; school readiness; science, maths and information technology.
Digital competency frameworks: To support the quality education agenda, various quality standards for teachers and learners are found in many initiatives in Pakistan, such as the introduction of the 2009 National Professional Standards for Teachers in Pakistan; the 2009 Standards for Accreditation of Teacher Education; the 2016 Minimum National Standards for Quality Education (MNSQE); and the 2017 National Curriculum Framework. One of the main goals of the above-mentioned standards/frameworks is to integrate ICT in teaching and learning effectively.
Changes occurred as a result of COVID-19: The 2020 National Education Response and Resilience Plan for COVID-19 aims to support the continuation of learning, protecting the health and well-being of students, teachers and educational staff and building resilience in Pakistan’s education system, from pre-primary through higher secondary education. The priority areas of the 2020 National Education Response and Resilience Plan for COVID-19 are the continuation of learning, system strengthening and resilience and addressing health (physical and psychosocial), hygiene and safety. Within the continuation of learning priority area, the broad learning modalities are categorised into no-tech offline, low tech and high-tech online based on two learning facilitation needs: self-learning and guided learning. No-tech offline modality includes textbooks, workbooks, printed targeted materials, home-based guided learning through household/community members, and teacher/tutor home visits (respecting health directives and social distancing. Low-tech modalities includes TV learning programs & channels, radio learning programs, teaching or follow-up calls by tutors, and one and two-way SMS-based learning interactions. High-tech online modality includes smartphone apps and web platforms for learning, digital audiobooks, social media, online digital classrooms, video conferencing, and blended learning in classrooms. The 2020 National Education Response and Resilience Plan for COVID-19 aims to support poor households through cash grants and stipends for learners to continue remote learning and mitigate dropout risk once schools reopen. Furthermore, to better prepare schools, teachers, head teachers and local administration during school closures and reopening post-COVID-19, the 2020 National Education Response and Resilience Plan for COVID-19 aimed to develop and implement a Distance and Blended Learning Competency Standards and Assessment Framework.
2.2.1. Technology infrastructure and digital capacity of schools
Electricity: The Government of Pakistan introduced the 2013 National Power Policy with the objective of establishing an effective and consumer-oriented system for power generation, transmission, and distribution. The primary aim of the policy is to cater to the energy requirements of the population while simultaneously stimulating the country's economy in a sustainable and affordable manner. The policy sets clear and explicit goals, along with corresponding targets that serve as metrics for assessing its success. The specified targets include the complete eradication of load shedding, reducing the average cost of electricity generation to below 10 Pakistani Rupee per kilowatt-hour, minimizing transmission and distribution losses from 23-25% to 16%, increasing revenue collection from 85% to 95%, and streamlining the decision-making process at the ministry level and other relevant departments by reducing the time required to a minimum.
Similarly, the 2021 National Electricity Policy aims to improve access to affordable energy, energy security and sustainability.
In the province of Punjab, to ensure the provision of functional and adequate basic school facilities, including disability-friendly infrastructure in all schools, the 2019/20-2023/24 Education Sector Plan aims to provide all schools in the province with a minimum package of services, including potable water, electricity, and disability-friendly facilities.
Computers and devices: The Government of Pakistan recognises the need to provide hardware to educational institutions to equip students and staff to face emerging global ICT challenges. The 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015) aims to launch a scheme for providing low-priced computers to universities, colleges and schools through a public-private sector initiative. Furthermore, the 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015) aims to provide micro credit facilities for the purchase computers and telecom equipment to help set up small software installation centers and to develop computer education to the general public.
The 2017-2025 National Education Policy aims to provide each classroom with an internet-connected computer to explore new level-appropriate reading materials. In early grades, the 2017-2025 National Education Policy aims to integrate other digital devices like smartphones for teaching and learning to prepare students for the digital revolution.
Under the digital inclusion project of the Universal Service Fund and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), a project of setting up computer labs in orphanages and educational institutions at 13 locations across Pakistan has been launched.
The 2022 Cloud First Policy aims to procure new ICT hardware and software and renew hardware and software licenses for all public sector entities in Pakistan. However, the 2022 Cloud First Policy does not explicitly mention the procurement of technological/ICT devices in the context of education/educational institutions.
In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the 2020/21-2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan envisages better equipped, technology enabled and resourced schools which serve the entire province equitably.
To improve the availability, utilisation, and quality of the education sector in four districts - Nowshera, Peshawar, Swabi and Haripur of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Capital Investment (HCIP) Project (funded by the World Bank) aims to procure IT equipment for girl community schools in the four districts as mentioned above.
In the province of Balochistan, the 2020-2025 Education Sector Plan recommends alternative schooling options through online videos, television and radio due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the province of Punjab, the 2019/20-2023/24 Education Sector Plan aims to equip schools from middle to higher secondary levels with IT infrastructure to encourage practical and applied learning.
Internet connectivity: The 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015) aims to launch a scheme for providing low-priced internet connectivity to universities, colleges and schools through a public-private sector initiative; establish a national educational Intranet (linked to the internet) to enable sharing, among educational institutions, of e electronic libraries of teaching and research materials and faculty. According to the 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015), free leased line internet access to the public sector universities is provided under an agreement with the private sector internet service providers and the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL). PTCL also offers reduced rates for connectivity to educational institutions.
The 2004 Mobile Cellular Policy (revised in 2014) aims to accelerate coverage for rural areas by putting coverage obligations and by creating a Universal Service Fund.
According to the 2015 Telecommunications Policy, providing available and affordable telephony and universal broadband access to enable services in health, education, agriculture, and commerce for covering all under-served and unserved populations is of utmost importance.
In order to promote a reading culture in youth, equipping schools and universities’ libraries with internet connectivity is one of the important goals of the 2017-2025 National Education Policy.
The 2018 Digital Pakistan Policy aims to initiate projects to provide network accessibility at educational institutes across Pakistan.
In collaboration with the Universal Service Fund, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) has launched a broadband program for providing broadband in unserved urban areas of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan,and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Furthermore, the program gives a particular emphasis to educational institutions, whereby the subsidy winners are required to set up computer labs (educational broadband centres) with broadband in higher secondary schools and colleges in their respective areas. Furthermore, the Optical Fibre Program of the Universal Service Fund and the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) aims to expand all kinds of telecom services in unserved areas in Pakistan.
2.2.2. Technology and learning environments
Various policies and plans of the Government of Pakistan aim to set and enhance learning and teaching through online learning platforms. For instance, the 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015) aimed to set up electronic libraries to ensure economical and equitable access to information and establish virtual classroom education programs, , and provide distance learning to a large number of individuals. The 2017-2025 National Education Policy aims to provide modern technologies and teaching learning aids for special education and the 2017-2025 National Education Policy aims to establish 2000 mobile libraries (one each for 50,000 population). The 2018 Digital Pakistan Policy encourages the development of e-portals for the provision of academic, research and other supplementary materials for schools, colleges and universities across the country. To make the public education system robust, the 2025 Pakistan Vision aims to adopt the use of emerging technologies for educational purposes such as e-education, and online distance learning as the paradigm of literacy shifts from pen to computers and tablets.
During the COVID-19 school closures, Pakistan’s Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFE&PT) launched an educational TV initiative called TeleSchool (in collaboration with leading EdTech providers such as Knowledge Platform, Sabaq.pk, Sabaq Muse, and Taleemabad) for grades 1-12 and, at a regional level, the School Education Department (SED) of the province of Punjab launched its local initiative called the Taleem Ghar platform for grades 1-10. TeleSchool covers content in maths, English, Urdu and science lessons, while the Taleem Ghar platform began with science-based subjects, maths and general knowledge and aims to add Urdu and English in the near future. In December 2020, Pakistan also launched its first RadioSchool to reach more students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the 2020/21-2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan envisages providing a conducive learning environment supported progressively by technology for effective and blended teaching and learning practices. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has created a learning portal for students to use digital materials to enhance their knowledge. The Official YouTube Channel of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education contains video lectures on different subjects for grades 1 to 10. During school closure, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has provided online curriculum-based learning materials for grades 6-10 for Mathematics, English and Science through the Learn Smart Pakistan platform. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in collaboration with the Punjab School Education Department, shares digital content developed for students of grades 1 to 8 through the Taleem Ghar platform. Furthermore, to spark the spirit of conceptual knowledge in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has launched a question-answer platform for students, parents and the general public.
In the province of Sindh, in collaboration with Sabaq Muse, the Government of Sindh rolledout a learning app in 700 schools offering animated and interactive story-based learning content, focusing on early years and primary education and providing free learning materials in Urdu, English, and Sindhi.
In the province of Punjab, according to the 2019/20-2023/24 Education Sector Plan, the UKAid-funded School Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Programme has committed to installing 1000 science and computer labs and rehabilitating 400 libraries in schools to promote extra- and co-curricular activities and life-skills-based education to ensure wholesome personality development.
The 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015) aims to include a compulsory, modern and up-to-date computer literacy module in the matriculation curriculum for high schools. Furthemore, it aims to revise the computer science curriculum at the intermediate level and to offer it at all science colleges.
The seven standards for students that are identified in the 2016 Minimum National Standards for Quality Education (MNSQE) aim to prepare students to be creative, constructive, communicative and reflective individuals; inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge; draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge; be capable of effectively participating in the highly competitive global knowledge-based economy; pursue personal growth; share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of a democratic society; and practice healthy living. Furthermore, to effectively participate in the highly competitive global knowledge-based economy, students must possess information-gathering and processing skills; demonstrate mastery of information technology tools for accessing information and pursuing self-directed inquiry; display emotional resilience in information and knowledge acquisition despite challenges; media literacy and information technology skills to create products.
The 2018 Digital Pakistan Policy aims to enhance the capability of primary and secondary school students to construct, hypothesise, explore, experiment, evaluate, and foster logical thinking, problem solving, persistence and collaboration by encouraging adoption of next-generation computing and analytical curricula, and ICT tools . Furthermore, the 2018 Digital Pakistan Policy aims to promote the integration of computing courses, particularly coding and cloud computing, into the curriculum at all levels starting from elementary to high school and beyond; and update the curriculum of IT higher education degree programs in line with international guidelines.
To bridge the gender digital divide, the 2018 Digital Pakistan Policy aims to promote the use of ICT technology among women and girls for their empowerment; initiate ‘ICT for Girls’ programs across the country for training in computing skills so that girls can have an opportunity to earn; establish computer labs in girls’ schools of unserved and underserved areas to train them in computing skills (computing and coding) through collaboration with the private sector; provide incentives to boost digital services and applications for girls’ empowerment (direct-to-mobile strategy); reduce barriers to technology adoption. Under the ICT for Girls umbrella, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), in collaboration with the Universal Service Fund, provided 144 women empowerment centers and 226 Schools in Islamabad with ICT Model Labs.
In secondary schools, the 2017-2025 National Education Policy aims to enable children to acquire employable ICT skills and make available the ICT courses developed by global IT corporations with their collaboration (Microsoft’s Education, Mozilla Corps) to Pakistani students. Furthermore, the 2017-2025 National Education Policy emphasises the need to introduce and integrate emerging key issues, such as computer literacy, population and environmental education, health education, AIDS education, and values education, etc., in curricula.
The 2025 Pakistan Vision aims to ensure that the educational system helps individuals in acquiring and sharpening of creative,analytical and problem solving skills;in inculcatinge ethics and values; in appreciating civil rights and responsibilities; in promoting health and well-being, and in pursuing economic prosperity.
Within the strategic area of improving access, retention and equity in education, the 2020/21-2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan envisages providing functional literacy and life skills for all youth and adults. The 2020/21-2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan aims to plan and launch diverse and needs-based functional literacy and life skill programmes to reach out to illiterate youth and adults with a special emphasis on women and girls. Furthermore, the 2020/21-2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan envisages alternative and accelerated education for different age groups, including adult literacy with a blend of technology and market-oriented initiatives.
In the province of Punjab, to achieve the improving quality and learning outcomes goal of the 2019/20-2023/24 Education Sector Plan, Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) has developed a new scheme of studies focusing on emerging trends, modern developments and scientific learning in various subjects at appropriate levels. This scheme of studies has replaced 'Science' with 'Science & Technology'. Furthermore, the 2019/20-2023/24 Education Sector Plan aims introduce a strong focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) in middle school by prioritizing reform efforts in curricula, teacher support, and assessments around STEAM subjects.
Developed in three phases by the National Curriculum Council, the Single National Curriculum (SNC) within the 2020/21-2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan aims to provide an equal opportunity to all the children of Pakistan to receive a quality education. The Single National Curriculum (SNC) incorporates analytical, critical and creative thinking and using information and communication technology (ICT) in learning.
The 2009 Standards for Accreditation of Teacher Education has identified seven standards to prepare committed and competent teachers and educationists. These standards include curriculum and instruction; assessment and evaluation system; physical infrastructure; academic facilities and learning resources standard; human resources; finance and management; research and scholarship; community links and outreach. Within the curriculum and instruction standard of the 2009 Standards for Accreditation of Teacher Education, a course on the application of information and communication technology (ICT) for teachers is mandatory. Furthermore, it is recommended that teacher educators use innovative and relevant pedagogical approaches and strategies to promote analytical/critical thinking and problem-solving skills in prospective teachers.
The 2009 National Professional Standards for Teachers in Pakistan, the 2016 Minimum National Standards for Quality Education (MNSQE), and the 2017 National Curriculum Framework have identified ten professional standards for teachers. These include matter knowledge, human growth and development; knowledge of Islamic ethical values/social life skills; instructional planning and strategies; assessment; learning environment; effective communication and proficient use of information and communication technologies; collaboration and partnerships; continuous professional development and code of conduct; teaching of English as a second or foreign language. Each standard has three parts: knowledge and understanding, dispositions, and skills.
Within the human growth and development standard of the 2009 National Professional Standards for Teachers in Pakistan, the 2016 Minimum National Standards for Quality Education (MNSQE) and the 2017 National Curriculum Framework, teachers must promote critical and creative thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills among their students by engaging them in formulating and testing hypotheses according to the methods of inquiry and standards of evidence within the discipline. Furthermore, the human growth and development and instructional planning and strategies standards emphasise that teachers must develop and demonstrate skills to use instructional technologies. According to the effective communication and proficient use of information and communication technologies standard, teachers must possess knowledge of operating and integrating technologies in classrooms and laboratory activities, and teachers must know how to use computers, videos, cameras and phones in classrooms and operating systems and software for word processing, filling, research, data storage and information presentation.
The 2017-2025 National Education Policy aims to train teachers to effectively use instructional technology to improve the quality of teaching English, Mathematics and Sciences. Furthermore, the 2017-2025 National Education Policy emphasises the need for in-service training and staff development of faculty and management in special education institutions; further professional education of less qualified and untrained in-service teachers in the public and private sector schools through face-to-face and virtual/distance technology rich modes.
In the province of Gilgit-Baltistan, the 2013-2018 Teacher Education Strategy aimed to ICT facilities to teacher education colleges. In the province of Sindh, the 2019-2024 School Education Sector Plan and Roadmap (SESP&R) emphasises the need to strengthen teachers' in-service training and continuous development programs at all levels of education. In-service training and continuous development programs include socio-emotional skills for all teachers in primary and elementary schools; however, the content of these programs is not explicitly linked to ICT/digital skills.
Similarly, in the province of Punjab, the 2019/20-2023/24 Education Sector Plan emphasises the need to strengthen teachers' pre-service, in-service training and continuous development programs at all levels of education so that teachers can promote critical, scientific, and analytical thinking; however, the content of these programs is not explicitly linked to ICT/digital skills.
In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the 2020/21-2024/25 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan aims to empower and develop the capacity of the provincial level institutions in order to drive forward positive developments in technical areas of teacher induction, in-service training, mentoring of education professionals. Furthermore, using technology, the plan aims to improve teacher training on inclusive education and the relevant teaching methodologies.
Under the ICT for Girls umbrella, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), in collaboration with the Universal Service Fund, 202 teachers at women empowerment centers have been trained by Microsoft on 21st-century super skills, namely, coding, computing, coaching and communication.
2.4.1. Data privacy
There is no general data protection legislation in Pakistan; however, the 2016 Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) at present serves the purpose of protecting data to a certain extent. Article 14 of the 1973 Constitution (amended in 2012) of Pakistan grants all citizens the right to privacy and is available to all citizens, irrespective of gender (Article 25).
Moreover, a consultation draft of the 2021 Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB) has been introduced by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoITT) to have the same being promulgated into law after public consultation, approval from both Houses of Parliament and receipt of assent from the President of Pakistan.
However, the above-mentioned legal instruments do not explicitly mention data privacy and protection from the use of technology in education.
In addition to bills and laws, the Government of Pakistan has also introduced various policies to protect citizens’ data and privacy. For instance, one of the objectives of the 2022 Cloud First Policy is to provide enhanced data and information security to end-users via cloud offerings; however,the policy does not explicitly mention data privacy and protection from the use of technology in education. Within the policy deliverable of creating awareness for a national culture of cybersecurity, the 2021 National Cybersecurity Policy aims to create a country-wide culture of cybersecurity awareness through mass communication and education programs; plan and implement education programs on cyber-ethics and security programs customized for students (as well as for government officials, law enforcement agencies, and private organizations employees); introduce cybersecurity awareness to the national education curriculum at the middle and secondary levels.
2.4.2. Online abuse and cyberbullying
There is no specific cyberbullying legislation in Pakistan; however, Sections 19, 19 A, 21, 22, 23 of the 2016 Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) at present serves the purpose of curbing online abuse and harrassment.
The provinces of Punjab and Balochistan have recognised the need for laws that protect the young from online abuse. The 2004 Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children Act and the 2016 Balochistan Child Protection Act aims to protect children from various forms of child online abuse and harassment. Furthermore, the 2016 Balochistan Child Protection Act takes into account children’s level of education and educational requirements in determining the best interests of children in need of protection against online abuse and cyberbullying.
According to the 2000 IT Policy and Action Plan (revised in 2015), the National Accreditation Council (consisting of leading academics and IT experts and linked to provincial IT Boards) is responsible for establishing curricula and testing guidelines for IT education and training. The National Accreditation Council also manages a National IT Testing Service, which continuously monitors the performance of IT education and training by collecting data.
The National Information Technology Board (NITB) of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT) assists the government in developing a harmonized national IT structure and promoting the widespread use of IT applications in both public and private sectors to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of education service delivery.
In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Provincial Institute of Teacher Education (PITE) is responsible for the design and implementation of all teacher training programmes (induction and in-service) and for providing training in the use of technology in regular monthly sessions with teachers through Professional Development Days (PDDs).
In the province of Balochistan, according to the 1994 Education Foundation Act, the Balochistan Education Foundation is responsible for granting non-profit making private educational institutions to purchase equipment and educational materials (for example, books and stationery) and improving teachers' training.
Established during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Distance Education Wing of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFE&PT) is responsible for developing alternate modes of education.
No specific responsibilities of schools with respect to the use of specific devices such as mobile phones or tablets are defined in current laws and policies at the federal level. At the provincial level, governments have introduced bans on using mobile phones and social media during class hours. For instance, at the beginning of 2023, the Punjab School Education Department introduced a ban on mobile phone use for students and teachers during school hours.