Google partners with Pakistan to create smart classrooms and assemble 500,000 Chromebooks locally

The Education Ministry of Pakistan and Google on June 20 announced a strategic partnership aimed at improving access to education and developing a digital learning ecosystem in the country.

The collaboration seeks to reduce the number of out-of-school children and enhance the quality of education through technology.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who declared an “education emergency” last month to address the issue of over 26 million out-of-school children, met with a high-level delegation from Google for Education led by Managing Director Kevin Kells in Islamabad.

During the meeting, PM Sharif emphasized the importance of this collaboration and expressed hope for support from provincial governments in enrolling children back into schools.

Local assembling of Google Chromebooks

Google, through its Google for Education initiative and in partnership with Tech Valley, will work with the Pakistani government to locally assemble over 500,000 Chromebooks by 2026. The initiative will make Chromebooks, which are cost-effective laptops running on Google’s Chrome OS, more affordable and accessible for educational purposes in Pakistan.

Allied, an Australian manufacturer of Google Chromebooks, will establish an assembly line in Pakistan to produce these devices, ensuring that every student has access to cutting-edge classroom technology.

Pakistan’s IT and Telecommunication Minister Shaza Fatima Khawaja appreciated Google for Education initiative for facilitating the local assembly of Chromebooks in Pakistan, saying that digital tools would help reduce the education divide in the country.

Pakistani officials, including IT Minister Shaza Fatima, Additional Secretary MOITT Aisha Humera Moriani, Member IT Syed Junaid Imam, and Member Telecom Muhammad Jahanzeb Rahim held a meeting with the Google delegation which comprised Andrew Ure, the Head of Trade and Economic Affairs for Asia-Pacific for Google; Kyle Gardener, Government Affairs and Public Policy Lead, South Asia, and Farhan Qureshi, Google’s Country Head for Pakistan. The delegation briefed the minister about Google literacy programs.

Google for Education initiative in Pakistan for smart learning

The agreement involved providing students and teachers access to digital tools and resources, training teachers to use technology effectively in classrooms, and developing innovative learning programs that leverage technology.

According to a statement, the collaboration aims to drive a large-scale digital transformation of Pakistan’s education system by creating smart classrooms and fostering a healthy learning ecosystem.

The partnership will focus on upskilling educators and students, building flexible smart classrooms, and supporting the development of foundational literacy and digital skills, including artificial intelligence.

Education Minister Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui described the partnership as a significant step forward in providing quality education to all children in Pakistan.

“We believe that technology can play a vital role in improving learning outcomes and preparing our students for the future,” he said.

Farhan S. Qureshi, Google Pakistan’s country director, echoed this sentiment, saying, “This partnership has the potential to transform education in Pakistan for the better, giving millions of students access to education and digital tools that will help them learn better and get ready for the digital economy. Also, creating a local assembly of over 500,000 Chromebooks will help Pakistan’s manufacturing industry grow and attract more investments in technology.”

Kevin Kells, managing director at Google for Education, emphasized that Google for Education offers powerful tools to help learners develop key skills.

“We are proud to be able to support the Government’s mission and help to safely connect Pakistani young people – including out-of-school children – to high-quality learning opportunities. Moreover, Google Classroom and Workspace for Education will help teachers have the maximum impact on their students,” he added.

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