TRC at the SAFED Seminar

On April 04 and 05 2012, a seminar titled Quality-Inequality Quandary was organised in Lahore, by the South Asian Forum for Education Development, in collaboration with Idara Taleem-o-Aagahi and the Education Testing Service. TRC was invited to present the position paper on ECE in Pakistan; Amima Sayeed made the presentation.

Discussing the background of ECE in Pakistan and key achievements such as the National Policy and the National Curriculum on ECE, TRC’s presentation highlighted the existing issues faced by early learners, both that are enrolled in school and those that are not. TRC’s presentation focused on the immense need to improve learning conditions for children and eradicating damaging practices from the school and home environments. Citing research evidence on child-rearing practices in Pakistan as well as classroom practices, an analysis of social and systemic issues that have impeded quality ECCE programmes at scale, was shared at the seminar.

Sharing TRC’s experience and approach of creating a facilitative and meaningful environment through the professional development of teachers and through policy advocacy, the paper highlighted the possibilities of creating constructive learning experiences for young learners both in and outside school. TRC also called for an immediate need to scale up quality programmes on ECE while charting out essential steps for salvaging the situation.

The presentation and its recommendations were well received by policy makers and practitioners at the seminar and the forum endorsed the suggested course of action.

Other themes discussed at the seminar included assessment approaches and experiences, quality of teacher education in Pakistan, the scope of private education and support through public funds. Participants from China and India shared regional perspectives on quality of education, educational financing and learning outcomes.

TRC attends Celebrations at Shahwilayat Public School (SWPS)

On April 15 2012, TRC, with its long association of professional development for SWPS teachers was invited to attend a ceremony to commemorate 30 years of the Shahwilayat Trust. This was a well-attended event with several previous and current trustees and educationists present.

Rubina Naqvi represented TRC at the ceremony where various office bearers of the Trust traced the school’s considerable achievements. The ceremony ended with the chief guest Mr. Mustafa Kamal unveiling a plaque for another larger school building to be constructed in the near future.

TRC attends Debate at Beaconhouse School System

An Inter-branch debate was held at Defence Campus of the Beaconhouse School System on 17 April 2012. Rubina Naqvi from TRC was invited to be part of the panel of judges and the chief guest on the occasion. The topic of the debate was “Internet has made us less readers and more browsers.”

Participants on both sides of the motion had researched the topic well and spoke with great fervour and confidence. The event was well organised and each side was cheered by their schoolmates.

TRC & Save the Children Win USAID Award

TRC in partnership with Save the Children (SC) won the US Agency for International Development (USAID) award for implementing the Sindh Reading Program (SRP). The Program aims to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of children with the involvement of teachers, parents and community members. The program will reach and hopefully benefit more than 500, 000 children in eight districts of Sindh over a period of five years, April 2012-2017.

TRC and SC will work in Kashmore, Karachi, Kambhar Shahdadkot, Sukkar, Khairpur, Larkana, Dadu and Jacobabad to achieve the following results:

• Improved teacher competencies for effective reading and mathematics instruction

• Improved early grade reading assessment practice

• Improved student access to supplementary reading material

• Increased community engagement and participation in support of early grade literacy

School Health, Nutrition and community engagement in learning activities, are also important strands of SRP.

The Chief of Party for SRP is Mahtab Akbar Rashdi. TRC and SC are currently extremely busy interviewing and selecting Karachi and district office teams.

TRC at Inter-Provincial Forum on Early Childhood Education

On April 26, 2012 UNESCO, UNICEF and the Aga Khan Foundation organised an Inter-Provincial Forum on ECE in Islamabad. The forum met with the following objectives:

• To advocate for the right of good quality ECE in the context of Article 25 A

• To highlight the catalytic role of ECE towards improving retention and completion rates at the primary school level

• To offer an opportunity for the exchange of experiences and information about good practices in the field of ECE to all stakeholders and service

Speakers included UNESCO’s Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, UNICEF’s Alhaji Bah and Federal Minister for Education, Mir Hazaar Khan Bijarani. Representatives of AKF, DSD, and SOCIETY also spoke on the occasion, about issues surrounding ECE in Pakistan. TRC was tasked with highlighting the issue of capacity development of ECE teachers in Sindh; Tabinda Jabeen made the presentation on behalf of TRC.

UNICEF proposed a strategic action plan to review current ECE plans, prioritise actions for the education sector and to integrate ECD policies and plans.

STEDA Visioning Exercise

The Sindh Teacher Education Development Authority (STEDA), in collaboration with Pre- STEP and USAID held a strategy development meeting in Karachi, on April 26, 2012. Mahenaz Mahmud represented TRC.

Following interesting updates on the Teacher Education Development Policy (2009) and achievements and challenges, from key Pre-STEP and STEDA personnel, groups were tasked with answering the following questions:

1. In order to prepare students for 2030, what kind of teachers would be needed, in terms of core set of knowledge, skills and values? Why?

2. What should the reform priorities for Teacher Education in Sindh be (for 2018) and why?

Amongst the participating professionals from a diverse range of public and private sector educational institutes, there were three young graduates of the recently established ADE programme. They were vocal and confidently expressed their views.

Six groups of participants seriously deliberated on the questions and the issues that arose from the questions. All 36 participants were involved and engaged with each other at a much deeper level than is ordinarily experienced at conferences.

Fun and Frolic Fiesta at the City School Kindergarten – 1

The City School Kindergarten – I held their Annual Function, titled “Fun and Frolic Fiesta” on Friday, April 27, 2012 at their school premises. There was much excitement in the festive little playground, as the little ones recited a dua, sang several songs, moved to music and participated in all kinds of innovative races. Parents enjoyed the informal evening and everyone went home tired but happy. Mahenaz Mahmud attended as Chief Guest; she requested the parents to instil the spirit of cooperation and working together rather than pressuring them to compete with their peers and come out on top at any cost.

TRC Partners with Pratham India

For the past few months, TRC has been in discussion with Pratham India to build on its experiences and learning from successful large-scale literacy development programmes. Under its Read India initiative, Pratham regularly publishes books that cater to various levels of literacy.

Taking steps to further solidify this relationship, TRC entered into a partnership with Pratham to access its huge repository of learning materials for emerging and early literacy in Urdu and English. Through this partnership, TRC will be able to reprint Pratham Books with necessary contextualisation. Pratham and ASER Centre have also offered TRC access to various literacy and community mobilisation programmes that the publisher has successfully launched in recent years.

TRC’s Day Out

April 29, 2012 was the day TRC’s staff took a well-deserved break and went to the beach. The run-up to the event was as exciting as the actual event as the picnic planning team went into overdrive arranging the food and taking care of the details. On the day, TRC staff set out for a fun trip in a coaster at 8.30 a.m. and arrived at Nathiagali Beach for a beautiful day by the sea. Some played board games and cricket on the seaside, others ventured into the water, while still others chose to watch the waves crashing on the shore.

No TRC event is complete without simple but mouth-watering food and the office picnic was no exception. Rounding off the fun with delicious food, snacks and fun music, the staff set out for the return journey tired but happy, after a full day.

TRC at the Healthy Schools-Healthy Settlement Seminar

In collaboration with UNESCO and the government of Sindh, UN-Habitat organised an advocacy seminar on Healthy Schools-Healthy Settlements. The event was held on May 30, 2012 and was attended by the Sindh Education Minister, Pir Mazhar ul Haq, Secretary Education, Siddique Memon, several representatives from the development and education sector and also students of UN-Habitat project schools. Tabinda Jabeen represented TRC.

The seminar was convened with the objective of promoting an eco-friendly environment and also to raise awareness on health issues. The attendees were given an overview of the HySter (Hygiene, Sanitation, Water) Programme Model and Dr. Kozue Kay Nagata, Country Director (UNESCO) spoke about the initiatives taken by his organisation and other UN agencies for the promotion and institutionalisation of the Health Programme. In his presentation, Dr. Santosh Kamrani (UNESCO) shared that the School Health Programme (SHP) is part of a joint UN programme on Health and Population (2009-2011) signed between the government of Pakistan and the UN in 2009.

Dr. Suleman Shaikh of SZABIST highlighted the importance of health education in his presentation and requested the government of Pakistan to revive the School Health Department. Dr. Nisar Ahmed Solangi talked about the challenges and opportunities with regard to the SHP. Pir Mazhar ul Haq suggested that the SHP should be included in the curriculum and teachers should be trained. He also requested Dr. Nagata to develop SHP with the support of stakeholders. Yasmeen Lari of the Heritage Foundation shared key findings of a research study and cataloguing conducted in eight districts of Lower Sindh. She stressed on the need to adopt a holistic approach to making communities strong and enabling them to take care of themselves.

Seminar on Strengthening Private Schools for the Poor

On June 26, 2012, the Aman Foundation, in collaboration with the Harvard University South Asia Initiative (SAI) and the Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP) invited us to a seminar, which was attended by Mahenaz Mahmud. The theme of the seminar was, investing in the Education Market: Strengthening Private Schools for the Poor.

Professor Asim Khwaja, Professor of International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, presented the findings of the research study he and his team have led on the education market in Pakistan over the past ten years. The study finds that low-cost private schools outperform government schools in learning levels for children, while simultaneously creating a cycle of female empowerment by supporting female entrepreneurs and improving girls’ education outcomes. Despite this success and high prevalence, private schools continue to lack access to finance, which constrains their ability to expand operations or improve quality. Click the link to find out more:

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion; read more about it here:

‘Treasuring Childhood’ – A Dialogue on Child Labour

Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) organised a seminar titled, ‘Treasuring Childhood’ on June 26, 2012. Mahenaz Mahmud and Uzma Rauf represented TRC at this event.

After the welcome note an overview of SEF’s achievements and their Child Labour Education Programme (CLEP) was presented to the audience. Following the presentation, a member of the programme team presented a synopsis on community engagement and academic interventions for working children. This session ended with a short documentary highlighting SEF’s Child Development Centre (CDC). It was interesting to hear from a young person about his experiences at the CDC and of the support from his employer who gave him time off to study. Other community stakeholders also shared their experiences and sentiments.

Workshop for CFC Teachers

TRC conducted another 12-hour workshop this year for teachers of the community schools supported by the Concern for Children Trust (CFC) in Mohammadi Colony, more commonly known as Machhar Colony.

The workshop titled, “Moassar Tadrees ki Mahartein” was conducted at their premises, from June 26-29 2012 by Nighat Hasan from TRC; a mixed group of 26 teachers from Kindergarten to Secondary attended.

The objective of the workshop was to equip teachers with basic pedagogical skills: the purpose and function of planning, time management and classroom discipline, which focussed on promoting pro-social behaviour. Teachers were walked through the process of trying to understand and look for the underlying causes of misbehaviour and then to deal with the cause, which is an effective way of getting children to take responsibility for their own behaviour.

For information on other workshops conducted by TRC this quarter, please click on this link:

TRC’s Pehla Taleemi Basta (PTB)
Our updated PTB is still very much in demand from various provinces in Pakistan. In this quarter alone we had requests for 138 units of the PTB. Our team completed the quality check and packaging and sent them out. The following organizations bought our educational bags for their ECCE projects.

• Rural Community Development Council (RCDC)
The RCDC office in Gwadar requested us to prepare 18 PTBs which they collected from the TRC office.

• Taraqee Foundation
Taraqee Foundation Quetta, as part of their ECD project funded by AKF in Qilla Saifullah, requested TRC for the provision of 40 PTBs to use in selected project schools. The requested PTBs were sent to their office.

• Institute for Development Studies & Practices (IDSP)
IDSP as part of their ECD project requested TRC for the purchase of 34 PTBs. The requested PTBs were sent to their office.

• Save the Children
Save the Children, Peshawar requested us to prepare 40 PTBs. The requested quantity was sent to them.

• AKU-IEDAKU-IED purchased 05 PTBs this quarter.