The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), an initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), announced today the Pakistani project “Technology-Based Deaf Education” as a winner of the 2018 WISE Awards. Each year, the WISE Awards recognize and promote six innovative projects from across the world that are addressing global educational challenges.
The project, developed under Family Educational Services Foundation’s (FESF) Deaf Reach Program, aims to improve the quality of education for deaf children in Pakistan. The tech-based initiative provides schools and communities across the country who work with deaf children a full repository of digital learning resources in Pakistan Sign Language (PSL), free of cost. These resources include the first-ever 5000-word PSL dictionary, as well as numerous student and teacher tutorials and literacy programs.
Richard Geary, Founder and CEO of the Deaf Reach Program, explained why the need for such a program is pressing: “For deaf children in Pakistan, an underserved silent minority, PSL educational resources tailored to their special needs are pivotal. Less than 5% of Pakistan’s deaf children attend school and become literate, with the rate being much lower for deaf girls. Many are socially marginalized, and lack sufficient skills for employment or resources to improve their quality of life.”
The award ceremony will be held in New York City on Sept. 22nd. Winners are evaluated according to strict criteria. They must be established, innovative educational projects that have already demonstrated a transformative impact on the individuals, communities, and society of their context. They also need to be financially stable, have a clear development plan, and be scalable and replicable.