TRC strongly made it’s presence felt in the public sphere with three back to back events with support from Open Society Foundations. Two seminars and a research workshop saw an overwhelming response from both public and private sectors and dynamic representation. The events went a long way to reinforce our commitment for discourse and advocacy to promote empowerment of teachers and children as learners and for transforming learning environments through research, training and academic enrichment. TRC-IECE also entered into it’s milestone decade year with the ushering in of the 10th batch.
TRC is on Facebook! Where we share ideas, tips and informative news for our online teaching community. It is a space to learn new ideas, share experiences and be informed of all the latest happenings at TRC.
Projects at TRC
Pathways to School Success Project (PSSP)
Birth Registration – A Situation Analysis
A household survey was conducted in the eight communities where the PSSP schools are located. The objective was to collect information regarding status of birth registration and possession of National Identity Cards by the family members of YLs and YFs participating in the programme. The activity which was primarily concpetualised by TRC, was administered with facilitation from the CAB members and NGO representatives. School teachers and Young Facilitators were also involved in collecting data.
TRC developed a survey tool which was translated into Sindhi for data collection.
The survey will result in assessing the number of families/individuals possessing the National Identity Cards and birth certificates of their children. Based on this data, TRC through the local partner CDC will make efforts to get these official documents made through NADRA for the communities where the programme is being implemented.
Monitoring and support visits
In this reporting period TRC team conducted two monitoring visits. The first visit was conducted between Aug 24 and 25, 2015. The second visit was carried out in September on 8th and 9h. The key activities during the visits were:
– Classroom & GRS session observations
– Interview with teachers, YFs, YLs and parents
– Parental sessions with mothers and fathers separately
– CAB Meetings
During these visits our team interacted with the stakeholders to get a sense of impacts the programme has made and how they perceive it to be benefitting them as parents, teachers and community members. TRC team also observed junior YFs while conducting GRS sessions and facilitating YLs.
Awareness sessions with mothers and fathers were carried out in their respective communities on natural and man-made disasters. Safety measures and precautions were also discussed. 78 mothers and 23 fathers attended these sessions separately.
Two meetings with CAB male members were conducted by TRC. 15 male CAB members were present in each meeting. Results of domestic survey regarding birth registration were also shared with the CAB and follow up strategies were discussed.
The Thinking Classroom Project
Currently in its second phase, the Thinking Classroom Project is focusing on targeted capacity building of the public sector education stakeholders to improve readiness for introducing, implementing and sustaining critical thinking in classrooms at the ECE and primary levels. TRC organized pre-training orientation sessions in Hyderabad on September 7 and in Nawabshah on September 10, 2015. These sessions were attended by provincial and district level officials, NGOs representatives and teachers from public and private sector both. Nighat Hasan welcomed the participants and briefed them about the project goal. Tabinda Jabeen presented an overview of the first project year and oriented participants on the activities to be carried out during second project year. The participants appreciated the initiative a lot. They shared their queries regarding teachers training, monitoring and sustainability of the project.
During the period under review, a 4-day training module for Training of Trainers was conceptualised and developed by TRC. Based on this, trainings will be carried out for master trainers across Pakistan.
TRC Holds Two Seminars and a Research Workshop
Teachers as Critical Thinkers – A Seminar
As part of its advocacy efforts, TRC has been engaging with stakeholders from both public and private sectors since the very onset of the project in January 2014. The purpose being wide scale buy in to understand, adopt, practise and scale up the teaching-learning material produced by TRC to promote critical thinking skills in the ECE and primary classrooms. Achieving readiness in the public sector education institutions remains the overarching focus to aspire for a gradual but transformatory shift in the way teachers teach and children learn. This repository of lesson plans is a mere first step to be followed by organised efforts and initiatives to reform curriculum, pedagogy and assessment systems.
Since we strongly believe that teachers are the key change agents to initiate and sustain any discernable change in the quality of learning and teaching that takes place in the classrooms, teachers’ professional development and empowerment through building capacity remain at the heart of our organisational philosophy.
Through this seminar, which was held on September 18th 2015 at the Pearl Continental Hotel Karachi, we invited partners and stakeholders to discuss possibilities, avenues and room for innovation where teacher education is concerned – teacher education which is targeted towards transforming teachers’ role from a task master to a thinker and facilitator. The seminar proceedings focused on how possibilities can be created to strengthen and reform teacher education institutions, policies and delivery. Diverse and innovative partnership modalities, resource and expertise pooling and joining hands for advocacy were some of the aspects which were debated by both public and private sector representatives.
The seminar formally opened with a welcome note by TRC Director which was followed by an eloquent keynote address of Baela Raza Jamil, a leading education advocate of Pakistan. She spoke at length about the culture of stifling critical thinking within classrooms and what reforms should be taken to promote it. She acknowledged TRC’s role and contributions over the years for building capacity and empowering teachers to become critical thinkers and decision makers. A lively panel discussion was moderated by Aziz Kababni, DMD, Sindh Education Foundation. The panelists included saw panelist Shahla Rasheed Udin from UNICEF, Muhammed Nasir Khan from Curriculum Wing, Islamabad, Faisal Ahmed Ukaili and Sagheer Shaikh from the Reform Support Unit. Nargis Sultana of OSF spoke about the importance of investing in initiatives promoting critical thinking skills amongst teachers and children. The event concluded with a video showcase by Noshin Khan, Senior Manager, TRC highlighting challenges facing teachers in the 21st century. The event was well attended by over 200 guests, majority of whom comprised government teachers, school heads and EDOs.
A research workshop was held on September 18th 2015 at the Pearl Continental Hotel. The objective was to initiate a discourse with the academia and organisations doing research work on critical thinking as a research area. The workshop was highly interactive and was attended by over 60 participants from renowned education institutions, research agencies, NGOs and public sector representatives. Key findings of TRC’s recently published research study on critical thinking lesson plans were shared. This was followed by group activities and discussions to brainstorm on new possible research themes for undertaking studies on critical thinking in education.
Celebrating TRC’s Journey –“From Active Learning to Critical Thinking”- A Seminar
On 19th September, 2015, TRC organised a seminar to commemorate it’s almost three decade long journey as an institution working for teachers’ professional development in Pakistan. The event was attended by TRC member schools, friends, donors and partners and representatives of the public sector.
After the Director’s welcome address, Nargis Alavi, Principal Habib Schools and Member TRC Governing Body, addressed the audience. In her key note speech, she highlighted the importance of critical thinking and how it can shape children’s and teachers’ learning experiences in and outside the classrooms. A detailed presentation on TRC’s programmes and services was given by Rubina Naqvi and Noshin Khan, both Senior Managers at TRC. The panel discussion which was moderated by Aziz Kabani brought to the fore TRC’s future role as a hub of critical thinking initiatives harnessing support from both public and private sector stakeholders. The panelists included Azra Raza, Chairperson TRC Governing Body and Trustee, Babaza Foundation Primary School, Azra Aqil, Principal, Karachi Cambridge School, Samina Javed, Manager, Children’s Global Network, Nargis Sultana, Education Specialist, OSF, Audrey Juma, Director, Notre Dame Institute of Education and Idrees Jatoi, Deputy Director, Bureau of Curriculum, Sindh.
After the panel discussion, the floor was opened for questions and comments. Rana Hussain, Senior Adviser, British Council, shared memories of TRC’s early days and how it grew and evolved. Randy Hatfield, Senior Adviser, USAID shared his experiences with TRC stressing that TRC has always focused more on the talib-e-ilm instead of just ilm. In the end various people from the audience who have been associated with TRC shared their experiences and views about TRC and lauded its efforts and contributions towards improving teachers’ capacity for enriching children’s learning experiences.
School Focused Workshop
A five day workshop was conducted at Al Hidaya School by TRC from 27th August to 31st August. The workshop aimed to train attendees with the knowledge of setting up a learning environment in context of developmentally appropriate practices.
This workshop focused on the following aspects:
• Experiential learning
• Active and passive learning
• Types of environment
• Key learning areas
• Daily routine
• Classroom setup
Participants experienced active and passive learning through hands on activity. In interactive sessions, the group understood and discussed types of environment (physical, temporal and psychosocial), key learning areas and daily routine.
Apart from these sessions, the group came up with a floor plan of their classrooms, list of corner materials and one week worth of daily routine plan. Teachers also decided on the fixtures needed in their classrooms. One classroom was setup with interest areas to demonstrate to teachers how learning environments should be created.
During this quarter four multi-school workshops were conducted and attended by a total of 54 teachers from both member and non member schools.
No workshops were held during the month of July and August.
Four workshops were scheduled and conducted in the month of September. These were: ‘Framing Learning Objectives’, ‘Developing the Young Scientist’, ‘Successful Mentoring of Beginner Teachers’ and ‘Enhancing Comprehension Skills’. These were attended by 12, 8, 23 and 11 participants respectively.
Primary Education Course
A 120 hour course on Primary Education started during this reporting period. 9 participants registered for the course. Units 1 and 2 on ‘Child Development’ and ‘The Learning Environment’ were partly covered in this period.
2nd Meeting of the National Review Committee
The 2nd meeting of the National Review Committee, established under the Thinking Classroom Project supported by Open Society Foundations, was held on July 1st 2015 at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi. The meeting was attended by NRC members from different provinces including Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh. Representation from KPK was amiss. Members from Children’s Global Network, Islamabad including Director, Mehnaz Aziz, were also present. The meeting aimed at consolidation of the first project phase by agreeing on and signing the Policy Declaration which was developed by TRC for pledging support for the project. The draft declaration was comprehensively reviewed and suggestions from the forum were duly incorporated. Before the end of the meeting, all the NRC members present signed the declaration. This was indeed a milestone achievement of the project. During the session, the second phase of the project which focuses on building capacity of the public sector master trainers was also discussed.
16th LEG Meeting
The sixteenth Local Education Group meeting was held on July 30, 2015 at Reform Support Unit Education & Literacy Department Government of Sindh. The purpose of this meeting was to share and seek recommendations on District Education Plans (DEPs) from LEG members and endorsement of LEG on the District Education Plans (DEPs). CPM, RSU Mr. Faisal Ahmed Uqaili headed the meeting. RSU representative shared in detail the implementation status of Sindh Education Sector Plan which was followed by sharing the status of District Education Plan (DEP).
Entrepreneurship Education: SCG-1 Meeting
A meeting of the Stakeholders Consultative Group was held at Dawood Public School on Aug-07, 2015 to formulate the role of the SCG and determine a timeline to finalise the curriculum for primary and secondary schools. The roadmap for teachers’ training was also discussed, where TRC will play a major part in the programme.
The EER-1 report was reviewed in the context of the agenda and the observations were discussed. It was noted that representatives of primary and secondary education were among the strongest supporters of entrepreneurship education and its importance was underlined as “the need of the hour”.
Introductory Session on KarisMath
On August 7th, 2015, Noshin Khan of TRC attended the presentation by Shad Moarif on KarisMath at READ Karachi. The KarisMath programme offers a comprehensive review of mathematical concepts and offers a floor-to ceiling understanding of pre-grade 1 to grade 3 Math. A follow up meeting was arranged, and Noshin Khan and Ambreena Ahmed from TRC and Marzieh Shah from READ met at TRC office. This was preliminary meeting to further discuss dissemination of the KarisMath programme and for possibility of collaboration between TRC and READ.
Orientation Workshop for Accessing USAID Small Grants
USAID’s Small Grants Program, launched in September 2010 with the funding assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), supports NGOs/CBOs and private organizations from all over Pakistan to implement evidence based self-help initiatives and innovative approaches. The program is implemented by National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). The Small Grants Program provides financial and organizational support to local organizations that show enterprise, innovation, and capacity in their efforts to improve Pakistani communities.
An orientation session was organised by USAID on August 27, 2015 in Hyderabad. The objective of the orientation was to ensure that prospective implementing partners have better understand of the Program and can submit technically sound and better quality application as per the requirements of USAID. The session was held at Indus Hotel, Hyderabad and was attended by several NGOs. On behalf of TRC, Faiza Nabi-Ali attended.
Policy Dialogue on Early Literacy
Rubina Naqvi represented TRC at a Policy Dialogue session organized at IED on 28 August 2015. Dr. Amina Pradhan, Principal Investigator of a research project carried out on Early Literacy Research Intervention (ELRIP) shared the model, tools and findings of the project. This was followed by a story telling session with children and teachers and a video, showing glimpses of the training sessions and classroom activities conducted during the project.
A panel discussion was held after the tea break to discuss the way forward for Early Childhood and Early Literacy. The panelists were Ms. Bilqees Baig, Mr. Zahid Abbas Jatoi, Mr. Sadrudin Pradhan, Mr. Aien Shah and Ms. Fehmida Jamal. Dr. Muhammed Memon rounded up the discussion with closing remarks from Dr. Ayesha Bashiruddin.
Post- Budget Policy Dialogue by Institute of Social and Policy Sciences I-SAPS
On Thursday, September 17th session of Post Budget Policy Dialogue on Sindh Education Budget 2015-16 organized by Institute of Social and Policy Sciences ( I-SAPS) with the collaboration of Alif Ailaan was held at a local hotel. Mrs. Farzana Kausar attended the session on the behalf of TRC.
The session aimed to enhance knowledge of the participants about the public sector of Pakistan and the numerous challenges it is facing in achieving the desire objectives of provision of accessible, efficient, effective and quality education.
Mr. Ahmad Ali from Alif Ailan moderated panel and presented the “Analysis of Sindh Education Budget 2015-16”
The session concluded with the addresses from Dr. Seema Zia MPA, Member Standing Committee on School Education, Ms. Mahtab Akbar Rashdi MPA and Mr. Khursheed Ahmed Junejo MPA, Member Standing Committee on Education, Sindh.
USAID Focus Group Discussion at SZABIST
On the invitation of USAID, Rubina Naqvi from TRC attended a group discussion at SZABIST on 22 September 2015. The group comprised of Education Players in Sindh Education Players in Sindh that focused on Education Challenges in Sindh and the role of development sector. The organizations represented at the event were SZABIST, UNICEF, RSU, AKU-IED, Education Fund for Sindh (DfID), TCF, SEF and TRC.
18th Local Education Group (LEG) Meeting
The eighteenth Local Education Group meeting was held on September 28, 2015 at Reform Support Unit Education & Literacy Department Government of Sindh. Nighat Hasan and Tabinda Jabeen attended the meeting from TRC. The meeting began with the welcome remarks Chief Programme Manager; RSU Mr. Faisal Ahmed Uqaili. Senior Coordinator, Sindh Education Sector Plan, shared minutes of the 17th LEG meeting and the decisions made which was followed by a discussion on the progress of District Education Sector Plans. Director Non Formal Education gave a presentation on Joint Education Sector Reform. The meeting was adjourned with the vote of thanks from CPM, RSU.
Visitors at TRC
READ Foundation delegation
A delegation from READ Foundation, Islamabad, visited TRC on 17 August 2015. The purpose of the study visit was to learn about TRC’s services and programmes and to identify possibilities of collaborative work. From TRC, the Director and Senior Managers, met with the READ team and members from both organisations exchanged information and discussed their scope of work at length.
Dr. Debbie Kramer Roy visited TRC on 16 September 2015 together with representatives from the project partner organizations. As the project leader, she discussed the 3 year Action Research Project currently underway to further develop Inclusive Education in Pakistan in collaboration between British and Pakistani Occupational Therapists and Teachers from the partner organizations: Brunel University London, Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Karachi, Kids Company London and The AMI School, Karachi. The project is funded by the British Council in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission, Pakistan. TRC’s services and resources were shared with the visitors and the various possibilities of training.
Noshin Khan joins as Senior Manager, Early Childhood Education Programmes.
Noshin Khan has a Masters of Arts degree, from Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. She has majored in Early Childhood Studies. Noshin also has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Ryerson University. Since 2012, she has been teaching in their degree and diploma program in Early Childhood Education at two educational institutions in Toronto, Canada; Sheridan College and Ryerson University. She has a sound academic background and teaching expertise in the area of Early Childhood Education and Primary School teaching. In 2010 and 2011, Noshin taught Child Development in the Early Childhood Education-Certificate Programme (ECE-CP) at TRC, Karachi. Also, Noshin has eight years of experience as a teacher/coordinator at a private school in Karachi, Pakistan.