During the quarter, TRC successfully completed the training of 400 teachers from 16 districts of Sindh on ECE. Two TRC staff members presented the Thinking Classroom project at the CIES Conference in Washington DC. This was made possible through support from Open Society Foundations. Our work in Sehwan schools via PSSP marked its 2nd year into implementation. Back to back annual data collection exercises were carried out by the team for gathering feedback from beneficiaries. An interactive session on school safety issues was organised for member and non member schools and was well received. TRC held its 28th Annual General Meeting and elected a new Governing Body for the next three years. An Open Day was organised for interested and prospective students to help them understand the IECE programme better and get enrolled.
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Projects at TRC
Pathways to School Success Project (PSSP)
During this quarter TRC team carried out 3 visits to Sehwan.
The first visit was carried out from 6 to 7 February, 2015. The main purpose was to collect feedback from teachers and Young Facilitators, as part of data collection exercise before the end of project’s second year. Apart from teacher and YF surveys, records were collected for following:
• Attendance records of teachers and YFs
• Progress records of YFs and YLs
• Attendance records of DRR and GRS sessions
The second visit was conducted from 27 to 28 February, 2015. During this visit, the following activities were carried out as part of annual data collection exercise: In this visit the remaining survey of teachers and YFs to verify attendance, progress records and date of birth of 50 YLs was completed. Apart from that the TRC team completed following tasks.
• End-line assessment of the first cohort of Young Learners.
• Verification of birth records of selected YLs.
• CAB meeting and parental session. Both were attended by atleast 58 participants including CAB members and parents of children studying in the 8 project schools.
The third visit was conducted from 26 to 28 March, 2015. The focus of this visit was to gather feedback from project beneficiaries about the material which has been in use for the GRS and DRR sessions. The material or PSSP toolkit was provided right at the onset of the project to different stakeholders including master trainers, teachers, YFs and YLs. The toolkit also included a guide for parents.
The purpose of material review at this stage is to understand any issues that the beneficiaries might have faced during implementation and to make efforts to enrich and/or modify the toolkit based on their feedback.
This is a three phased exercise. The first phase entails gathering feedback from all beneficiaries. In the second phase feedback will be reviewed and categorised and decisions regarding changes to be made in the toolkit will be taken. In the final phase, changes in content and illustrations will be incorporated in the different set of resources which are part of the toolkit.
For the purpose of gathering feedback from beneficiaries, a tool was designed by TRC and following key indicators were included:
• Effectiveness of the material
• Age appropriateness
The first review session was held with the master trainers and their feedback on different sets of material was taken.
The second review session was held at the CDC office with teachers and Young Facilitators from the 8 project schools. Atleast 47 YFs and 27 teachers took part. The session was facilitated by TRC resource persons.
A tabulated summary of beneficiary groups participating in the feedback sessions is as follows:
|4||Young Learners||Will be carried out in April 2015||Will be carried out in April 2015||Will be carried out in April 2015|
|5||Parents||Will be carried out in April 2015||Will be carried out in April 2015||Will be carried out in April 2015|
As part of the same session, a brief tutorial on story writing was also carried out with teachers and YFs. The purpose was to encourage them to pen down stories and anecdotes from their own communities on issues related to DRR. Some of these stories are envisaged to become part of the DRR manual in order to make the resource material more relevant to the real context.
The TRC team also carried out a session on environmental awareness to reinforce project focus as well as mark the upcoming international Earth Day. The session started with a poem on kachra (the litter) followed by a discussion on the poem. A lot of brainstorming took place regarding what their understanding about environment is and what role can they play to raise awareness about good practices in their communities and schools. The issue of taking responsibility both at the individual and collective basis was also discussed. The session ended with an interactive activity where the participants were divided into teams and asked to list down as many items as they can think of, which can help in maintaining cleanliness in their surroundings.
In the upcoming visits, feedback will be collected from mothers and Young Learners and similar session on environmental awareness will also be carried out.
Improving Quality of Learning through Quality of Teaching (IQLQT)
The lesson plan finalization continued throughout the quarter. Concerted efforts have been underway to remodel the lesson plans to suit the needs of schooling contexts. Building on feedback received from the National Review Committee members over the course of time, some of the lesson plans will soon be ready for dissemination.
Institutional Capacity Building Program- Supported by UNICEF
Trainings for Teachers:
Teachers’ Resource Centre (TRC) has been commissioned by PITE, Sindh to undertake trainings on Early Childhood Education, a key thematic area of the institutional capacity building programme being supported by UNICEF, Karachi.
The trainings for teachers continued in January 2015. All trainings were held in different batches at PITE office, Nawabshah.
Trainings were conducted for 16 clusters in 5 rounds. Around 400 teachers attended the training.
The project concluded successfully in this quarter.
3rd coordination meeting
Third coordination meeting was held on February 6, 2015 at PITE, Nawabshah. The meeting was attended by Nighat Hasan and Tabinda Jabeen from TRC. Representatives from other two technical agencies also participated.
The main purpose of the meeting was to review programme objectives, discuss lessons learned and share feedback.
All the partners shared the issues/challenges faced during the training and spoke about the feedback received from trainees. Suggestions for organizing similar events in future were also briefly discussed. Guidelines about submission of final report were shared by PITE.
In the third phase of our continuing robust partnership with PARCO, a 12-hour workshop titled “Asbaq ki Moasssar Mansubabandi” was planned for four different PARCO stations across the country.
The workshop for Karachi station was conducted from 2nd till 4th February 2015 at TRC and was attended by 10 females and 6 males.
The same workshop was replicated during 11-13 February at Shikarpur station. 7 females and 20 male teachers participated.
The workshop covered the following key areas:
• Understanding the learning process
• Identifying the essential elements of a lesson plan
• Planning lessons while considering:
– objectives for the lesson
– management of time
– different teaching methods
– use of resources to support learning
– assessment and evaluation of the learning and teaching
Different techniques were employed for delivering the content such as brainstorming, interactive lectures, group readings, discussions, group presentations and role plays.
The overall feedback from participants was very encouraging. Most of them felt motivated and reenergised to try out the new ways of improving the teaching-learning environment in their schools as a result of attending the training.
UNICEF hosts a joint education sector review
The joint education sector review, with support from UNICEF, was organised by Reform Support Unit, Department of Education and Literacy, Government of Sindh. The event was held in Karachi from 10th to 13th February, 2015. The mission was led by Mr. Ed Lamont, GPE Country Lead and Dr. Robert Prouty, Consultant. TRC was represented by Faiza Ghulam Nabi. The meeting was held to conduct a joint review of education sector of Sindh based on agreed indicators and milestones, discuss and review implementation issues and provide an opportunity for stakeholders to identify and discuss key issues in a coordinated and systematic manner.
School Focused Workshops
Professional Development at the Kehkashan School, Shikarpur
Having been through the 50 hours model on Active Learning in July 2012, the Kehkashan School, Shikarpur requested for a follow up programme for furthering their teachers’ skills and knowledge. In response to their request, a two-day session of eight hours each, was carried out on 24 and 25 January 2015. The session was led by Uzma Rauf on site in Shikarpur.
Since teacher turnover was an issue at the school, the workshop focused on strengthening capacity of both the new and old teachers and also reintroduced key learning areas which were part of the last training held in July 2012.
The training sessions were interactive with exercises like role-plays and simulations of developmentally appropriate activities in light of the National Curricula from ECE to class five. The teachers participated actively and especially took interest in developing class activities based on predesigned lesson plans of TRC.
Multi School Workshops
During this quarter, eight multi-school workshops were conducted and attended by a total of 97 teachers from both member and non member schools.
Two workshops were scheduled and conducted in January, namely ‘Creating a Positive Learning Environment‘ and ‘Teaching Science Creatively in the Middle School’, which had been postponed in the last quarter due to low registration. Both were attended by 12 participants respectively.
In February, three workshops were scheduled and conducted. These were ‘Correct Way to Correct’, ‘Expanding the Reading Arena’ and ‘Kahanion ki Dilchasp Dunya’. These were attended by 13, 12 and 13 participants respectively.
In March, three workshops were scheduled and held. They were ‘Induction of New Teachers’, ‘Managing Change in Schools’ and ‘Teacher as an Educator’. These were attended by 10, 16 and 9 participants respectively.
The Film Club
The TRC Film club screened “The Book Thief” on 27th March, 2015. The movie revolves around a girl named “Liesel” who finds solace in books during the Nazi Era while living with her adoptive family. Her passion for books increased to the extent that she started stealing books.
There were 17 participants from various schools and a couple of students from Dow Medical College. The discussion revolved around the following questions which were put forth by the moderator, Mahenaz Mahmud:
– Books are Liesel’s sanctuary. How have books comforted her?
– Do you think that the process of learning to read The Gravedigger’s Manual helped Liesel deal with the grief of losing her brother and mother?
– Do you agree with Zusak’s open?ended approach? Would you have preferred closure?
The moderator had made A3 display sheets which were displayed to address some of the questions. Some time was built in for attendees to move around and skim through the reading. Most of them used their smart phones to take pictures of the reading also.
The discussion which followed was engaging and everyone participated with great enthusiasm; many made notes too. There was one teacher/mum with four children varying in age from 4 – 14 and she shared how they had allotted time during the week for her to read with one child at their level of interest during bed time.
Gearing up for school safety
In response to the suggestion made by a GB member at the Annual General Meeting, TRC organised a brief information sharing session for member and non-member schools of Karachi at its premises. The session was held on January 15, 2015 and was widely attended by atleast 35 school heads and personnel.
A highly interactive discussion took place and those in attendance shared concerns and suggestions about the recent pressures on schools to increase security in the wake of the December 2014 APS attack.
Ms. Ambreena Ahmed, Director, TRC, in her welcome address, explained the purpose of the session which was primarily to bring together schools in this hour of need and provide an open platform for discussion about school safety measures. She also emphasised TRC’s customary role to step up and extend timely support to the school community in crisis times like these.
Mr. Shahpur Jamal of Bayview Academy and Ms. Nargis Alavi of Habib Girls and Boys Schools took lead to facilitate the session and also shared valuable information about how they were tackling the situation in their own schools which are located in different parts of the city.
TRC also made available copies of notifications from government regarding specific safety measures that had to be instituted. Handouts of school emergency response plans were also distributed.
The session was well received and appreciated by all those in attendance. An interactive platform was much needed by the schools as some of them do not get first hand information about what measures other schools are taking to address the situation.
TRC represented at the 59th CIES Conference, Washington DC
Thanks to Open Society Foundations, the donor agency which supports TRC’s Thinking Classroom Project, Mahenaz Mahmud and Ambreena Ahmed represented TRC at the CIES Conference 2015 which was held in Washington, DC.
The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Conference is held every year in different parts of the world and brings together education delegates from many countries to share their innovative work.
In a panel session on critical thinking in Pakistan’s education system, TRC representatives made a presentation about the Thinking Classroom Project and how it can potentially be upscaled to bring about quality reforms at both the policy and classroom levels. The project documentary was also showcased for the first time and was well received as it provided glimpses into real classroom settings of Pakistan and the context the project is trying to tackle.
The panel session was attended by a cross section of international audience including Pakistani students enrolled in PhD programmes at prestigious American universities. They found the session informative and useful and said they were pleasantly surprised to learn that innovative work like this is happening in Pakistan which is targeted towards promoting critical thinking in education. Most of them expressed concerns about the sustainability issue and the challenges of limited resources for replication.
The session was chaired by Mary Metcalf and moderated by Dierdre Williams of OSF.
Keynote address at International Women’s Day event
Ambreena Ahmed, Director, TRC was invited as a keynote speaker at the International Women’s Day event organised by the Sindh Education Foundation on March 7, 2015.
In her keynote speech, Director TRC, paid tribute to Professor (late) Anita Ghulam Ali (S.I), a leading educationist and activist of the country who was also Managing Director of SEF for over 2 decades.
Ambreena was also presented with an excellence award at the end of the ceremony.
Other speakers at the event included Dr. Nafisa Shah and Dr. Khalida Ghaus.
Bilingual Declamation Contests
Bahria Foundation Schools
The management of Bahria Education and Training Services invited Rubina Naqvi of TRC to judge the Inter-Regional Bilingual Declamation Contest for secondary students at the Bahria Auditorium on 13 January 2015. Students from different Bahria Schools participated and spoke on the topic of their choice. Prizes were awarded to the winners in both Urdu and English category.
The event was presided over by Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini.
Education Bay hosted its Annual Inter-school Bilingual Declamation Contest on 20 January 2015 at the school premises. The topic for the English speech was ‘No man is an Island’ and the topic for the Urdu speech was ‘Kabhi kabhi mere dil main khayal aata hai’. 10 schools of Karachi participated in the contest and sent two students each, one to speak on the English topic and the other for the Urdu topic. Prizes were awarded to the 1st and 2nd positions in both English and Urdu categories. Rubina Naqvi attended in the capacity of a judge.
The Intellect School
In response to a request from the senior section of The Intellect School, Rubina Naqvi attended their annual declamation / debate contest as a judge. Finalists from Classes IV to VIII participated in the event. The topics chosen by the students to speak on were interesting and varied in nature. Some spoke for and some against the topics.
Prizes were awarded to the first, second and third position holders and certificates were received by all. The event was followed by refreshments.
‘Education in Emergencies’ – a policy dialogue
A policy dialogue session on “Education in Emergencies” was organised by AKU – IED at their premises on Tuesday, 20 January 2014. The panelists were Dr. Memon from IED, Mr. Ghulam Nabi from RSU, Ms. Sadiqa Salahuddin from IRC, Mr. Ali Effendi from AKF, and Mr. Aziz Kabani from SEF.
The panel discussion was more of a participatory dialogue, which focused on the research and planning aspects in managing emergencies through education. After the panel discussion, the floor was open for questions. Rubina Naqvi represented TRC at the event.
Annual Sports Day of BVS School
In response to an invitation received from the management of BVS Parsi High School, Rubina Naqvi attended the Annual Sports Day of the secondary section on 7 February 2015 at the Karachi Parsi Institute premises. The students of the secondary classes enthusiastically participated in different athletic items. There were races for the staff and parents also.
The Chief Guest, Dr. Muneer Amanullah addressed the gathering and gave away trophies, medals and prizes to the deserving students.
Role of civil society in countering terrorism
A seminar on public awareness was organised by Mustang Securities at Bahria Auditorium on 18 February 2015 as part of their CSR programme. TRC was represented at the seminar by Rubina Naqvi and Najam Naqvi. Commissioner Karachi, Mr. Shoaib Siddiqui, was the chief guest.
Various presentations were made on raising awareness about safety and security in schools and other institutions by the office bearers of Mustang Securities and representatives of the Department of Civil Defence. The speakers were later joined by Assistant Commissioner, Central District, Dr. Saif-ur-Rehman, who emphasized the need for a change in the mindset of the public regarding terrorism. The seminar ended with a question-answer session, followed by refreshments.
Inaugural ceremony of the Behbud campus
The inaugural ceremony of the Behbud campus took place on 25 February 2015 and was attended by Rubina Naqvi of TRC. It was attended by members of the Behbud Association and guests from different walks of life. The Chief Guest, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, appreciated the efforts of the Behbud members and assured them of assistance in his capacity as the Head of IBA. His address was followed by a walk around the campus and refreshments.
Math Smart contest at Reflections School
The Math Smart contest for students of Class 3 was held at Reflections School on 19 March 2015. Rubina Naqvi was invited to attend as a judge. Students from 8 schools of Karachi had participated. An individual prize was awarded to the student with the highest score. The trophy was won by the school with the highest collective score. It was a well-organised event and was followed by refreshments.
TRC holds its 28th Annual General Body Meeting
The Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) of the Teachers’ Resource Centre (TRC) was held at The 2nd Floor on Saturday, January 10, 2014. A total of 22 members were present. Of that number, 08 were Governing Body Members, and 12 were heads and teachers representing 12 institutions. In addition to that, 02 invited guests were also present. TRC staff members were in attendance.
Ms. Azra Raza, Chairperson TRC, welcomed all the participants and informed those in attendance that the AGM could not be held in December 2014 as was initially planned, due to her overseas travels in that period.
After the confirmation of the previous AGM’s minutes, Ambreena Ahmed, Director, TRC presented her report highlighting progress, achievements and issues of the period under review. Status of different projects and core programmes was also shared.
Mr. A.R. Mithani, Honorary Treasurer, presented the financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2014 that was audited by Messers. A. F. Ferguson & Co. The auditors expressed a clean and unqualified report on the financial statements.
Ms. Azra informed the members that this was election year of the TRC GB. The two members completing their term and retiring were Ms. Yasmin Minhas and Mr. Shan ul Haque. Both members were thanked profusely for their continued support towards TRC. Letters of appreciation were also handed over to the retiring members.
4 nominations were received against 5 vacant seats. The members who came on board as new GB members were Ms. Seema Malik of PECHS Girls’ School, Mr. Shahpur Jamall of Bay View Academy, Ms. Nausheen Leghari of Links Primary and Secondary School and Ms. Sabah Quadri of The AMI School. The new members were given welcome letters and were asked to introduce themselves to the gathering.
The AGM concluded with the farewell ceremony of Ms. Seema Malik, ex Director of TRC. The Chairperson, Ms. Azra Raza, spoke at length about Ms. Malik’s achievements and how she helped TRC grow into one of the best teacher education agencies of the country. Ms. Malik also expressed her sentiments and thanked all those who were part of her journey.
The event concluded with mouth watering lunch and dessert which were thoroughly enjoyed by all.