TRC held its 27th Annual General Meeting this quarter, which was attended by representatives of the Governing Body as well as member schools. The meeting had been delayed due to the pending USAID SRP audit upon completion of which we were able to call the meeting. Our new project on critical thinking skills kept our calendars packed with activities and deadlines. It’s been a great start as far as establishing liaison with different levels of stakeholders is concerned. TRC led the formation of a Working Group with members from different public and private sector organisations to initiate work on critical thinking modules for ECE to primary levels. We also set up a National Review Committee to help the project with advocacy and policy level reforms at the national level. Our work in eight community schools of Sehwan, as part of the PSS project, continued with our teams making consecutive visits to the field for supporting GRS implementation, baseline assessment, teacher training refresher and CAB meeting. Through PSSP, we also made possible provision of activity based learning resources for children and resource kits for teachers. On the workshop programme front, an 84-hour course for primary teachers, based on five modules, was introduced and nine multi school workshops were carried out. TRC Case Study published by UNESCO In February 2014, UNESCO published a paper titled “Teacher training in support of Early Childhood Education in Pakistan: A case study of the Teachers’ Resource Centre” authored by our Academic Programmes Advisor and ECE expert, Mahenaz Mahmud. Against the backdrop of Pakistan’s challenging and multi faceted educational context, the author expands the focus to reinforce significance of ECE and lack of cross-sectoral institutional capacity and buy-in for professional development of early years teachers and school environments. She explains why it is imperative to bring reforms to teacher training in ECE and for elevating the status of teachers. TRC’s ongoing efforts to create innovative and challenging opportunities for ECE teachers are discussed. Through ECE-CP, TRC aims to help teachers to evolve into educators who not only nurture a passion for working with children but also develop a holistic understanding of what children are all about and how best they learn. Since ECE-CP is designed to both support and challenge aspiring and experienced ECE teachers, the programme’s framework is highlighted as one which lays the foundations for lifelong learning for those who want to enrich their work with children. You can read and download the paper by clicking on the link below: TRC Case Study TRC Trending… TRC is on Facebook! We encourage all our readers to like us and subscribe to our page. Link up with us, ask questions, discuss issues, exchange views and help us in cultivating an empowering online community of ECE practitioners and activists … Lets connect to make a difference! Projects at TRC Pathways to School Success Project (PSSP) Supporting GRS Implementation Since TRC is responsible for trainings of teachers and Young Facilitators and extending support to teachers for implementation of activities at the school level, 2 support visits were carried out in January to the eight community schools in Sehwan. The purpose of the visits was to ensure that teachers and YFs feel supported and confident to initiate “Getting Ready for School” activities. TRC’s team visited the schools and worked closely with teachers and YFs. Demonstration of sessions, discussions with children and teachers and addressing stakeholders’ concerns were some of the key activities carried out during visits. Baseline Assessment of Young Learners In February, baseline assessment was carried out with 120 Young Learners by TRC. This was a last minute donor requirement and was not part of the project plan. Stationery pouches with colour pencils were provided to children being assessed. TRC conducted SRA (School Readiness Assessment) using the GRS tools on a sample (30% of total 400 YLs). An estimated 15 YLs from each of the eight schools were selected for assessment. The exercise was completed in a span of 4 days in 8 community schools. TRC’s team conducted the baseline survey with the assistance of local data collectors. Training Refresher with Community School Teachers A two-day refresher was organized by TRC during the last week of March with teachers of the community schools participating in the project. The purpose was to introduce new pedagogies and resource material and discuss classroom level challenges. Teacher kits, containing reading resources and stationery items, were handed over to teachers, which were well received. A set of customized wooden blocks was also introduced for promoting play based learning and linking it to GRS and DRR. 3 sets were made available for each school. Each blocks set has about 64 pieces of varying shapes and sizes. Darris or mats were also provided to each school for making seating comfortable for children while they engage in GRS and DRR sessions. The workshop also addressed issues like children’s health and hygiene and teachers’ role therein as well as record keeping in schools. At the end of the two-day session, the teachers were asked to develop their own school-specific action plans to chalk out the trajectory of GRS and DRR implementation. 33 female teachers attended the sessions. Organizing Community Support for DRR and GRSS Community Advisory Board (CAB) has been set up as part of the project with representation from parents, teachers and community sparks to ensure that everyone is taking responsibility and lending support to DRR and GRS, the two key objectives of the project. TRC team held a meeting with CAB members, in Sehwan, at the local partner’s office. 6 female and 20 male representatives attended the meeting. They were apprised of the project activities, roles and responsibilities of CAB, resources provided to schools, significance of recording accurate date of birth and meetings schedule. The TRC team also discussed importance of ECE and encouraged CAB to become a platform for ECE advocacy in the communities they represent. Issues like children’s health, hygiene and educational needs, addressing gender discrimination in education and ensuring on-time enrolment of the children in schools were also discussed. The meeting was well received by the CAB members and had favourable outcomes for the project. The CAB committed to carry out regular school visits, hold communal gatherings for raising awareness on GRS and DRR, make all efforts to maintain accurate birth records and will hold monthly meetings of their own, observations of which they would share with the local NGO and TRC staff. Improving Quality of Learning through Quality of Teaching (IQLQT) TRC has embarked on a one-year project with financial support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) from January 2014. The overarching goal is to develop a repository of contextually relevant teaching and learning material grounded in critical t
hinking with potential for country wide application across both public and private sector education systems in ECE and primary classrooms. Key activities undertaken during the quarter included: Setting up of the Working Group and National Review Committee A Working Group has been formed by TRC for sharing and pooling expertise of different individuals working as teachers, resource developers and teacher educators from both public and private sectors. The WG will lead the academic work on critical thinking modules which will be pre-tested in ECE and primary classrooms by TRC as a concurrent research process. The work undertaken by the Working Group will go a long way in setting direction for incorporating critical thinking into our classrooms all over Pakistan and will pave the way for sustainable, enriching and child friendly reforms in the way we teach our children to become critical thinkers.
To endorse the modules pretested and finalized by the Working Group, a National Review Committee has been set up which has representation from government’s curriculum and teacher education machinery and NGOs working in education. Meetings of the Working Group During the reporting period, two meeting were held with the WG members at TRC. Broadly the meetings covered discussions and agreement on critical thinking parameters for developing modules, reviewing existing lesson plans from different types of schools and initiation of work on remodelling lessons plans to make them critical thinking centric against a multi-faceted backdrop of diverse and challenging schooling contexts. Minutes and photographs of both meetings were sent out to the National Review Committee members for their information and feedback. Selection of Schools for Module Pre-testing Visits were made to a number of schools as per categories defined in the project framework for acquiring consent to become part of the pre-testing process. Meetings were also held with school heads and government functionaries for soliciting support. 12 schools were selected for pre-testing work. These include a cross section of schools ranging from middle income private schools to NGO run multi grade home schools. The diverse spectrum of schools is expected to provide a conducive platform for testing the effectiveness of modules in terms of ensuring their replicability at the national level. Other Project Activities In addition to these, a number of key activities were carried out which include project staff recruitment process, back and forth visits to schools for collecting data and acquiring lesson plans, ongoing correspondence with NRC and WG members, series of in-house meetings for concretizing project’s strategic framework and coordination with donor. Finding and recruiting suitable HR for the project proved to be most challenging. TRC-PARCO Partnership for Teacher Education The Two twelve-hour workshops titled ‘Moassar Tadrees ki Maharatain’ were conducted in March for public sector school teachers supported through PARCO’s Corporate Social Responsibility Programme. These were held at Shikarpur and Mehmoodkot pumping stations. Nighat Hasan and Tabinda Jabeen were the lead trainers from TRC. The teacher trainees comprised a diverse group dealing with pre-primary to secondary level children. The trainings aimed to enhance teachers’ knowledge about essential pedagogical techniques including planning, time management and classroom management. TRC’s flagship learning kit, the Pehla Taleemi Basta, was introduced as an effective early years’ learning resource. Different participatory methods such as group discussion, role plays, case studies and group presentations were used to engage participants who in turn also prepared a lesson for demonstration. Participants were encouraged to share their experiences and challenges related to teaching. Multi School Workshops from January to March 2014 During the quarter, nine multi school workshops were carried out which were attended by a total of 168 teachers from TRC member and non-member schools. In January, four workshops were conducted titled ‘Teachers as Student Mentors‘, ‘Understanding Behaviour of Young Learners’, ‘ Teaching Directed Writing at O Levels’ and ‘Are You an Effective Teacher?’ These workshops were attended by 17, 25, 13 and 13 participants respectively. ‘Building Vocabulary’, ‘Creating a Positive Learning Environment’, ‘Bachon ki Nashonuma aur Seekhney ka Amal’, were the three workshops carried out in February. These workshops were attended by 19, 13 and 31 participants respectively. The workshop on ‘Building Vocabulary’ had to be rescheduled from 8 to 15 February, due to a strike call in the city. Three workshops were scheduled for March. One of them, planned in Sindhi for the first time at TRC, titled, ‘Bachon ki Nashonuma’ had to be cancelled as no registrations were received. The other two workshops titled, ‘Designing and Administering Tests’ and ‘Numbers are Fun’ were conducted as scheduled. These were attended by 14 and 23 participants respectively. TRC Launches Primary Certificate Programme 84-hour Primary Certificate Course in Professional Studies, based on five modules, started in February at TRC. The course is designed for teachers striving for excellence as primary classroom practitioners. Prior to classes, an orientation was held for the 1st batch of 12 teachers who had enrolled for the course. Events and Seminars Open Days at Schools Ilmesters Academy had its Open Day on January 25 and Tiny Tots on March 8th 2014. The classrooms were organized and opened for visitors with teachers facilitating visitors and briefing them about the school. Children’s work and projects were on display; the children themselves were interacting with visitors and responding to their questions regarding their displayed work. These colourful and well-organised events were attended by Tabinda Jabeen and Seema Yasmin from TRC. Inter-school Elocution Contest at Education Bay School In response to an invitation from Education Bay, Rubina Naqvi attended the inter-school elocution contest as one of the judges on February 11, 2014 for students of Classes III to V. Students from 12 schools of Karachi, with one student participating from each, contested. Prizes were awarded to the first three position holders, whereas others were given certificates of participation. The children confidently recited their poems and most of them maintained a good standard of delivery. It was quite challenging to make a decision on the winners of the contest, as each student seemed to be doing his or her best to excel. Teachers and organizers were acknowledged for their efforts and judges pointed out areas where children could improve their elocution. ASER Pakistan 2013 Sind Education Foundation (SEF) and Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA) launched the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2013 for the province of Sindh. This event was organized on February 11, 2014 at Karachi School of Business & Leadership Auditorium and was attended by representatives of civil society, academia, NGOs and government functionaries. Tabinda Jabeen participated on behalf of TRC. Baela Raza Jamil, Director Programs, ITA, shared the history of ASER and presented highlights of ASER Sindh 2013. Aziz Kabani, Director, SEF presented the findings of ASER Sindh 2013. A panel discussion on state of educational quality was also conducted with panellists representing political spheres, academia, government and civil society. Saba Mahmood, Chief Programme Manager, RSU, Sindh shared different initiatives currently underway in the Province with support from the World Bank. Annual Sports Day at Fatimiyah Girls’ School Fatimiyah Girls’ School, organized their annual sports day February 17, 2014. TRC was represented by Rubina Naqvi. The event was lively and festive and children’s enthusiastic participation made it all the more worthwhile to attend. At the end, prizes were given out to the top performers. Declamation Contest at Reflections School An inter-school declamation contest was held at Reflections School on F
ebruary 18, 2014. Rubina Naqvi of TRC was invited as a judge. 6 schools participated with 2 students from each representing their institution. The debates were bi-lingual with half of the contestants debating in Urdu and half in English. The topics were interesting and focused mostly on current social issues; the students generally seemed well prepared and delivered their talks with conviction and eloquence. TRC Attends Alif Ailaan’s Press Event Alif Ailaan, an education campaigning organization, held a press event at Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi on February 20, 2014. The event was a prelude to Alif Ailaan’s mobilisation programme in Sindh for education reform. Their work is already underway in other parts of the country. Sindh’s political leadership as well as notable representatives of leading political parties were present. The event concluded with a pledge to stay committed to the children of Sindh. TRC was invited and represented by Nighat Hasan. Musical Concert at Jaffar Public School “Sound of Music”, an elaborate school concert, was organized on February 28, 2014, by junior branch students of Jaffar Public School. Rubina Naqvi represented TRC at the musical. The children confidently performed their parts in colourful costumes amid engaging stage settings. The children in the choirs need special mention, as each song was sung by a different group of students with great enthusiasm. Parents and siblings of the students turned up in large numbers to laud the school’s efforts. 2nd Policy Dialogue on ECE TRC’s Nighat Hasan attended a one day session on 6th March, 2014 at the Reform Support Unit Karachi. This meeting was held to discuss way forward for the approved ToRs of the ECE Task Force. Additional Chief Secretary Education Sindh has approved the recommendations of the 1st Policy Dialogue held in December 2013 which also included formulation of a task force. The main objectives of the 2nd dialogue were to discuss progress made so far, future plans and formation of Technical Working Groups. TRC has nominated Ms. Tabinda Jabeen for ECE Curriculum and Text Books and Nighat Hasan for ECE Teacher Education Programme. Math Smart Contest at Reflections School In response to an invitation from Reflections School, Rubina Naqvi attended the inter-school Math Smart contest as a judge on March 11, 2014 for students of the junior section. 10 schools from Karachi participated and sent two students each to compete. Individual prize was awarded to the highest scorer in the individual rounds and the trophy was awarded to the school with the highest score in the school rounds. All the participants were given certificates of participation. Some of the participants made careless errors by not listening carefully to the question. The questions were a mix of easy and difficult mathematical problems. “Education for Empowerment”: Seminar by Habib Girls’ School A seminar was organized by Habib Girls’ School on March 22, 2014 at Marriot Hotel, Karachi as part of its ongoing celebrations to commemorate 50 years of its existence. Rubina Naqvi attended the seminar on the school’s invitation. The event was attended by school teachers, principals, teacher trainers and educationists from leading institutions of Karachi. Senior Minister for Education, Mr. Nisar Khuro was the chief guest. Speakers included Javed Hasan Aly, who spoke about past and present education policies, Nilofer Halai, who emphasized the need for teachers to be active researchers, Isa Daudpota, who stressed on linking individual talent to societal needs and Mushtaq Chhapra, who highlighted success stories of TCF schools in low-income areas. A presentation on formative assessment was given by Fatima Modi from Habib Girls’ School. In line with the theme of the seminar, all speakers underscored the need to empower students through education to become independent learners and able members of society. A panel discussion marked the conclusion of the seminar proceedings. Panellists included Stella Jafri, Zubeida Mustafa and Abbas Hussain. Governance TRC Holds its 27th Annual General Body Meeting The Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) of the Teachers’ Resource Centre (TRC) was held at the TRC office on March 29, 2014. A total of 18 members were present. Of that number, 06 were Governing Body Members, 02 were IECE Board members and 10 were heads and teachers representing 10 institutions. TRC staff members were in attendance. The meeting opened with Chairperson’s welcome note; the minutes of the last meeting were confirmed and reasons in delay of the AGM were shared which mainly pertained to the audit completion of USAID’s Sindh Reading Programme to which TRC was a partner in the period covered. The Chair informed those in attendance that there would be two AGMs in this calendar year. The Director’s Report for the reporting period was presented by Mahenaz Mahmud, Academic Programmes Advisor, TRC. She was joined in her presentation by Rubina Naqvi, Senior Manager, Membership Network and Ambreena Ahmed, Assistant Director for their respective portfolios.
Details of projects, workshops and advocacy and outreach were shared with the forum as well as plans for future were discussed. Merger of IECE and TRC as one institutional entity was also highlighted. To this end, two members of the IECE Board, Mahtab Akbar Rashdi and Shanaz Ramzi, were co-opted onto the TRC Governing Body with the other members’ consent. A.R. Mithani, Honorary Treasurer, presented the financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2013 that was audited by Messers. A. F. Ferguson & Co. The auditors have expressed a clean and unmodified opinion on the financial statements. The accounts were confirmed by the Chair as proposed by Ms. Seema Talat and seconded by Ms. Yasmeen Shahzad. New Additions at TRC Ms. Shaheen Mehboob Ali joined TRC as a Research Associate, in January 2014. Mr. S.M. Jafar Rizvi joined as HR Officer in March 2014.