We lost two Valued Members of our TRC Community

? Ms. Adiba Kamal: On April 05, 2011 we woke up to the sadness of Ms. Kamal having passed away. In our community of educators where there is a dearth of strong, committed individuals, Ms. Kamal’s passing has left a void, one which is not easily filled. She was an inspiration and a role model for all the students and teachers of Habib Girl’s School where she worked from 1964 to 2005, first as a teacher and then as a principal.

She was an ardent lover of the English language and an exacting user of grammar; it was to her that everyone at the school turned for editing and proofreading English documents. At her Memorial at the Habib Girls’ School on April 19, it was not such a surprise that teachers, parents and students held her in such great esteem.

We, at TRC were fortunate enough to have had her on our Governing Board from 1992 to 2011, and as the Chairperson, from 1995 to 2008. What can we say, she was ALWAYS there for us with her sage advise whenever there was a challenging situation. With a twinkle in her eye, she sorted the issue for us and we were left wondering what the big deal was. It was comforting to have had her support and the benefit of her wisdom. She came to meetings even when it was difficult for her to walk.

At a personal level, we loved to have a chat with Ms. Kamal. She always asked after us and our families and shared some of her own news and concerns. It is important to keep the memory of people like her alive and fresh ? passing on the torch to the younger generation, so that the good they have done is not lost to time.

? Jairam: On the same fateful day, April 05, 2011, we lost another very valuable member of our team ? Jairam. He worked with us as Library Assistant from 2002 to 2009.

Quiet, unassuming and an amazing book binder. He had a love for books and knew the location of most of our 10, 000 + books. He was always to be found at his desk in the library ever ready with his tool kit of repair materials, mending and binding books that had lost their spines or from which pages had come loose. He paid great attention to detail, was truly skillful in his work and loved what he did. He was an expert!

For one workshop on Library Management we’d built in a book binding session. Jairam, full of modest pride taught 30 library personnel from varied member schools how to bind books. I hope they continue to carry his torch forward.

We will miss his unobtrusive manner, his willingness to fill in and do other jobs when required and most of all his reassuring presence at TRC.

Assistant Director TRC Moves On

Natasha Ansari, served as Assistant Director at TRC for a year, from April 2010 to March 2011. When we first met, she had recently returned from Canada and was full of energy and a desire to change the education sector in Pakistan. Following a year with us, she became restless again, wanted the flexibility to think about and explore different social sector projects, maybe even education, to find her niche. We wish her all the best in whatever she chooses to do.

We Welcome Dr. Shabnam Ahmed to the TRC Team

Dr. Shabnam Ahmed has a Masters degree in Education, Health Promotion and International Development from the Institute of Education – University of London, UK. She also holds a Bachelor?s degree in Medicine. From January 2003 – April 2011, she worked as faculty member at the Aga Khan University -Institute for Educational Development. From April to June this year, she taught Health Nutrition and Safety in Term 3 of the ECE-CP at the TRC – Institute of ECE. She is the regional consultant of the Child to Child Trust at the University of London, and we are planning several exciting ‘health promotion in ECE’ initiatives with her.

P.E.C.H.S. Girls’ School Organize Staff Development Day at TRC

Saturday, April 30, 2011 was staff development day at PECHS Girls’ School. This time they requested us for our space, use of library resources and Internet facility.

From 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. TRC was buzzing with activity as 44 teachers from Classes 1 to 8 divided in year groups, brainstormed, researched library books and the Net and discussed ideas for active learning projects and summer vacation home work. Here is what some of them had to say:

” The books had great ideas and they sort of triggered my imagination and made me think of workable ideas for 6-7 year olds. When we arrived, tables were set out for us with a range of books related to different subjects. We were fortunate to have had this experience.”
Sheetal Suleman Class 1

” It was my first experience of attending staff development day at TRC. I was hesitant at first to travel such a long distance and to a new place, but somehow we managed to get there. Spending some hours collectively at TRC with my colleagues, was a pleasant experience. I found the ambiance peaceful and very comfortable.The huge collection of books on a variety of topics were accessible for all of us. The tea and tasty snacks freshened and energized us. This staff development day was very fruitful for me and I hope our management has achieved their objective too.”
Semeen Fatima Class 4

“The availability of so many books for summer vacation homework was really appreciated by almost all the teachers from the senior section. It was a very productive session for all of us who attended staff development day at TRC.”
Asma Kashif Class 6

The Magic of Math & Wordtopia

The Magic of Math and WordTopia are here to dazzle you. In case you are wondering what these are ? they are the interactive digital games that TRC has developed for the USAID supported ED-LINKS project. The first two of the three CD ROMs are ready and have already been given to EDLINKS for distribution in project schools. The ED-Links project works with 1100 schools in 22 Districts of Sindh and Balochistan, in addition to Islamabad and FATA. Over 550 schools have been given computers and the CDs will be distributed to these schools. We are sure that the students of secondary classes will find Mathematics and English a lot more fun using the CDs.

International Conference on Girls? Education

The Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) and OXFAM Novib, organized an international conference on ?Empowerment through Girls? Education in Contemporary Muslim Societies? from April 19-20, 2010. TRC was invited to participate in the conference and as member, PCE, also moderated a plenary session. Amima Sayeed represents TRC on the Board of PCE. Speakers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Norway and Bangladesh presented their country frameworks, achievements and challenges for promoting Girls? Education across all levels.

From Pakistan, parliamentarians as well as noted academicians, donor representatives and development workers participated in the plenary sessions. Amongst them, submissions of Dr. Khalid Masood, Director, Islamic Ideology Council, were very pertinent and must be used widely where he provided a socio-religious perspective on Girls? Education and radicalization. He also demystified the issue of segregation in education and traced the roots to 19th century religious leadership. They saw modernity as a threat to their traditions, and opposed it instead of responding to the challenges. The indifference of progressive discourse towards such annulment has also widened the gap.

Lengthy discussions on the 18th Amendment, devolution of the Federal Education Ministry and the Rights to Education Act also took place. The importance of promulgating and enforcing legislative acts for Article 25-A was underscored.

The conference concluded with a resolution for increasing girls? education for empowerment and equity in the increasingly turbulent socio-political context of Pakistan. PCE and Oxfam will strategize their advocacy initiatives accordingly.

Feedback from Baldia Town Students

On March 15, 2011, the film Zor Laga ke Haiya was screened for children of government schools from Baldia Town. A total of 46 children and 10 teachers of different schools attended the session accompanied with their ADOE. The multi-grade group, had girls from Classes 5 to 8.

As agreed with the girls, a month later, we sent a message with Najma Malik, the Baldia Town ADOE and a long time friend of TRC, to the students who had come to watch the film with us. In response, we received about 40 letters. Excerpts from the letters of Shumaila, Parween Laiq, Naseem Akhtar, Bushra, Afshan Fayyaz, Sidra Jalal, Maria Gulzar and Tooba Javed are reproduced below. Their comments express the essential features of what the other students said.

? We have stitched cloth bags and have started taking these to school and to the market for shopping. We are saying NO to plastic bags.

? We have even given home made cloth bags to our friends as gifts so that they also stop using plastic bags. We have spread the word to our sisters, friends and women in our neighborhood.

? We have planted saplings in our school and at home and we take care of them and water them everyday just like we promised.

? I have planted a Neem tree in our galli (lane) and I water it everyday and my mother sweeps the galli every morning. We keep our home and galli clean and it looks so nice.

? I have planted a Raat ki Rani plant at home which I water every day. Soon there will be a beautiful fragrance in the evenings.

? I have stopped using plastic bags now and use cloth ones instead. When I go to buy milk or yoghurt from the market I take a utensil along so that I don’t have to take a plastic bag.

? I have planted a tomato plant at home and water it daily. My parents are very happy.

? We really appreciate all that we learnt at TRC about caring for our environment. We realize now how harmful plastic bags are, and will try our best to do whatever we can to keep our environment clean and green.

A Spate of Workshops for RCC Implementing Partners

As technical partners for the Releasing Confidence and Creativity Project, one of the key roles for TRC is to develop the capacity of teachers and head teachers for improving the delivery of ECE in their schools. This year has been extensive in terms of conducting training workshops for RCC partners. As mentioned in our previous News Bulletin, in February this year, we trained 138 teachers (48-hr NCECE workshops) and head teachers (15-hr head teachers? ECE orientation workshop) working in Sungi and MIED managed schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwah.

Immediately after that, based on internal needs’ assessment of partner schools, we developed a new workshop package, with a focus on enhancing teachers’ understanding of learning goshas and developmentally appropriate assessment in ECE. This series of needs’ based workshops titled ECE Asatza ki Mahartoun mein Izafa was conducted for RCC implementing partners, HANDS and SOCIETY in April and May 2011. The workshops focussed on: the process of empowering children to take responsibility for their learning through the plan-do-review sequence, and teachers’ observation and assessment skills. While the teachers had set up learning goshas and children were planning and working in goshas, often teachers “sent” children to goshas and didn’t actually let them decide and choose where to go and what to work on. So it was important to help teachers move to the next stage in their own development. They also needed further training on understanding on-going assessment and using observation tools.

Five members of the TRC ECE Team, Farzana Kausar, Mehnaz Amir Ali, Nighat Hasan, Seema Yasmin and Tabinda Jabeen facilitated the eight, 28-hour, cluster based workshops in 4 districts of Balochistan (Quetta, Loralai, Pashin and Bela) and 2 districts of Sindh (Hyderabad and Hala).

Two concurrent workshops were held in Quetta and Pashin from 13-16 April, followed by another two concurrent workshops in Loralai and Pashin from 18-21 April.

These workshops were followed by yet another two concurrent workshops, one in Balochistan and the other in Sindh. The last workshop for Society was held in Bela from April 27-30, while the first one for HANDS was held in Hyderabad on the same dates, i.e. April 27-30.

The last two concurrent workshops were both held in Hala from May 02-05. There were a total of 210 participants, of which 51 were males.

Continuing the series of needs’ based workshops for RCC partner schools, TRC conducted four workshops in May 2011. All four workshops were held in TRC and were facilitated by Mehnaz Amir Ali.

? Two ten-hour workshops titled, Mansuba bandi-kaam-Iada, were held for ECE teachers of our 40 RCC partner schools in Jamshed and Korangi Towns, on May 5 – 6 and on May 9 – 10, 2011, respectively.

The objective of this workshop was to help teachers enhance their understanding of the philosophy of Plan-Do-Review, which is to give children the opportunity to make choices and time to carry out their plans and later to reflect on the work they have done. The Plan-Do-Review sequence helps children make decisions and be responsible for their decision. They learn different skills while working in learning goshas with varied materials. They explore the material on their own terms and discover the different properties and attributes of the chosen materials which enables them to understand and construct knowledge about those materials. The teacher observes them and plans activities to further enhance their understanding and skills.

Most teachers experienced an “a-ha moment” and commented that they now have a better understanding of this segment of the daily routine.

? The next two ten-hour workshops titled, Observation & Assessment, were held for ECE teachers of our 40 RCC partner schools in Jamshed and Korangi Towns, on May 11 – 12, and May 18 – 19, 2011, respectively.

The objective of this workshop was to develop teachers’ skills as an observer. Through hand-on activities, the teachers were introduced to different observation tools and were walked through the method of recording these observations. A lively discussion on assessment reports took place and was followed by practice to fill in the developmentally appropriate assessment reports based on the data collected through the observation tools.

The teachers commented that they were really pleased to have learnt about these new observation tools and methods.

Social Networking Project ? Going Global

In March 2011, TRC was contacted by the Japan Society of New York. They have created a site where students from around the world can collaborate on creative projects and take part in meaningful, student-driven exchanges. The pilot site was launched in March between a school in the USA and Japan, and the plan is to include some schools from Pakistan in September.

The rationale for the project is that most teens today spend hours using social networking sites (SNS) and digital media. This multilateral digital exchange turns SNS and digital media into powerful, alluring educational tools connecting teens to their peers both at home and abroad. The Going Global Social Networking Project consists of a series of flexible projects, connected to the teaching goals of the participating schools, designed to engage students of all abilities and interests in authentic, fun, educational international exchange. This project will begin in September 2011, focusing on schools in the United States, Japan, and Pakistan. Future plans include expansion to schools in countries such as, India, China, and South Korea. All activities will take place on a secure, closed network accessible only to students and teachers involved in this project.

Following several email exchanges and a Skype conversation with the Japan Society TRC identified and supported three schools to participate in the project which will begin in September.

TRC Participates in Unesco’s ‘Parents’ Education on ECCE’ Initiative

UNESCO has launched a pilot initiative to educate parents about Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), with a view to improve young children’s readiness and retention in primary school.

This pilot initiative in the Asia Pacific region is being developed in collaboration with relevant experts and field functionaries in five countries, namely, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Pakistan, Samoa and Viet Nam. The regional approach is to link Parent Education about ECCE with Community Learning Centres (CLC), as in many countries the CLC is the meeting point for parents in local communities. However, depending on the individual country’s needs, parent workshops will take place in non-formal education centers and in formal schools where parents often gather and interact with the local school.

A technical committee has been formed by Unesco Islamabad, to review the draft handbook for parent education, developed by UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok. From TRC, Tabinda Jabeen and Mahenaz Mahmud are part of this technical committee. The following activities took place in May and June:

– Review of draft Parent Education Guidebook & Facilitators’ Handbook: In May we did a thorough in-house review of the draft guidebook and handbook.

– National Workshop: TRC was represented by Tabinda Jabeen at this workshop which was held in Unesco’s Islamabad office on May 18, 2011. The National Team is comprised of representatives from the Department for Staff Development Punjab, Bunyad Foundation, CGN and the Bureau of Curriculum and Extension Centre, Balochistan. The purpose of this meeting was for the Country Team to review the Guidebook and Handbook in the context of Pakistan. This one day meeting was insufficient to complete the review and members decided to share their remaining comments by email.

– Regional Workshop: TRC was represented by Mahenaz Mahmud at this workshop which was held in Unesco’s Bangkok office on June 07 and 08, 2011. The purpose of this workshop was, to finalize the Parenting Education Guidebook and the Facilitator?s Handbook for Parenting Education prepared by Unesco Bangkok, and to develop strategies and a plan for local adaptation and utilization in each participating country. At the end of the intensive two day workshop, the purpose was achieved. For details please go to: http://www.unescobkk.org/news/article/unesco-workshop-on-clc-parenting-education/
Meeting like minded professionals from the region and sharing views and experiences with them kept us absorbed and on task as we went through the guidebook and handbook section by section. It was interesting to note that despite the diversity, the challenges were so similar.

Second Film Club for RCC Partner Schools

On June 09, 2011, TRC screened Udaan for 22 head teachers of RCC partner schools from Jamshed and Korangi Towns.

Film Synopsis: A young man must defend his dreams against a father who barely knows him in this coming-of-age drama from India. Rohan is a bright, sensitive youngster who dreams of becoming a writer some day. He has spent eight years in a boarding school, but when he’s unexpectedly expelled, he comes home to Jamshedpur and his father who is practically a stranger to him. Rohan is introduced to Arjun, a half brother he didn’t even know he had, and learns that his life is about to change ? rather than studying literature, his father has decided he will focus on engineering, and he’ll be performing manual labor in his father’s steel mill in his spare time. Between his job and his new academic commitments, Rohan’s life is turned upside down, and he must learn to assert himself around a man who wants to reshape him into his own image. The first feature film from director Vikramaditya Motwane, Udaan was an official selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

According to the audience the movie was very heart touching and they really felt to cry.

The post film discussion was emotional and interesting as participants debated the consequences of different parenting styles and child rearing practices. In four groups the following questions were discussed:

1. What type of personality did Rohan?s father have? Do you think a parent such as he was can play a positive role in nurturing a child? Yes or No? Give reasons for your answer.

2. Think about the positive and negative sides of the teenager?s role in this film. Discuss the consequences of his behavior and actions.

3. Keeping in mind the feelings and emotions of the six-year-old child in the film, as a Head Teacher, what can you do for children in a similar situation in your school? How can you talk to the parents on this sensitive issue?

4. In our culture, most parents believe that they have the right to make decisions for their children. Do you think children should also have this right?
The audience discussed different parenting styles and their consequences. They also talked about their own role in nurturing children in their school. They also talked briefly about the Convention of the Rights of the Child.