With a combination of accidents, natural disasters and the unpredictable political/law and order situation, the last few months have been particularly stressful and upsetting for all of us. We sincerely hope all our readers and their loved ones are safe.
At TRC, we have been really busy with visitors and requests for new projects and partnerships, upgrading and integrating our website (all behind the scenes for now? ) completing the ECE-CP 2009-2010, admissions for the new cohort of students, who have just begun their year long journey as you read this news bulletin …? and much more. Some highlights from the months of May-September are:
Recommended by UNESCO Islamabad, the DSD Punjab Project Director, Nadeem Irshad Kiyani and his team visited us on May 7, 2010. The main purpose of the visit was to understand our journey as pioneers in bringing Early Childhood Education (ECE) to Pakistan. Following an in-depth discussion, they reviewed and purchased a set of all our ECE teaching-learning resources. Realizing that we have over two decades of experience and expertise in the field, they have asked us to help them as technical advisors in developing an Early Childhood Resource Centre in Punjab.
? Provincial Institute of Teacher Education (PITE) Sindh
Supported by UNESCO, PITE Sindh is developing an Early Childhood Education resource centre in Nawabshah. On May 7, 2010, (yes, both groups, DSD and PITE visited the same day!) Director Distance Education and Coordinator, ECE Programme, Mr. Atta Muhammad Detho and his team members visited TRC and asked us to come on board as technical consultants for the project. An MoU was signed shortly after.
Along with workshops, feedback on the layout and resources for their ECE Centre, TRC is also assisting PITE Sindh develop an ECE Teachers’ Manual. We saw major headway and progress on the manual during the month of July; as planned, it was submitted to them in the first week of August.
? Ali Institute Lahore
June 11, 2010, the Director of Ali Institute of Education Dr. A.H. Nayyer, visited TRC to get an inside look and in depth picture of our journey in the education sector. They were specifically interested in our role in bringing ECE to Pakistan in the public sector. They viewed our ECE learning resources and discussions took place on possible collaboration and networking in the future.
? Church World Service (CWS) Pakistan/Afghanistan
Church World Service-Pakistan/Afghanistan is an international non-governmental organization. On June 17, 2010 CWS arranged for 25 adults and 25 students from rural Sindh to come to TRC for an exposure visit. The excitement was uncontainable in the children as they rotated between the library and our Early Childhood classrooms, where various resources and activities had been organised for them. A definite mark was made on the teachers as they learned about our history, vision, and mission. They viewed our ECE materials, familiarized themselves with various educational resources and expressed a particular interest in our Pehla Taleemi Basta. The visit was appreciated by everyone and TRC will be involved in upcoming ones.
? National Commission for Human Development (NCHD)
July 5, 2010, NCHD Director Education, Iqbal ur Rahman came to visit TRC. Not interested in re-developing the wheel, they came to learn about our history and journey, specifically pertaining to ECE. They viewed our ECD resources and discussed the possibility of TRC’s involvement as technical advisors in future NCHD ECE related initiatives.
? Teach for Pakistan (TfP) (Karachi) and Teach for All (global)
Teach for Pakistan is a local initiative that falls under the global Teach for All umbrella. While TfP has come to TRC in the past to have informative meetings, it was on July 5, 2010 that TRC met the entire existing TfP senior management team. TfP aims to hire fresh graduates from local universities and colleges and put them through an intense six week training programme which will enable them to teach in schools for two years. With their initiative launching in August 2011, they are interested in the possibility of having TRC develop and facilitate their training programme. On July 8, 2010 two senior Teach for All members visited TRC. Their role is to ensure global standards and procedures are met and followed. The main purpose of the visit was to acquaint themselves with potential partners and collaborations that TfP was exploring, as well as acquaint TRC with Teach for All philosophy.
? Director Education, Federal College of Education (FCE), Islamabad
August 2, 2010 Director Education FCE, Rafiq Tahir and two of his colleagues visited TRC. The purpose of the meeting was three-fold:
– They wanted to learn more about our ECE Certificate Programme and how the government could benefit from our expertise and experience.
– To view all our learning/teaching resources as well as any material we had developed.
– To discuss future collaboration with the Federal Government.
The meeting was informative and enjoyed by everyone in attendance. Many future collaboration options and avenues were discussed. Mr. Tahir expressed a particular interest in our 50-hour National Curriculum ECE Training of Trainers (NCECE-TOT) workshop in Islamabad, to build the capacity of ECE master trainers.
The outline for the workshop was sent to him and pending approval from the Ministry of Education, we look forward to working with the FCE to broaden our outreach and impact in the field of ECE.
? TV One
TV One representative Sahar Taher Khan visited TRC on September 16, 2010. Filming a documentary about the status of education in Pakistan, they are interested in showcasing private organizations who have been working to positively impact the education sector. TRC has agreed to participate in the documentary and filming is expected to begin sometime in October.
? ED-LINKS Visits TRC
June 16, 2010, ED-LINKS programme managers for Science, Mathematics and English came to TRC. We are developing digital learning materials for children of grades 6-8 in the mentioned subjects. The designed activities, wire frames and graphic designs for the materials were shared and appreciated by the ED-LINKS team who felt that the nature and details of activities planned will help enrich content knowledge, process skills and children?s interest in learning through technology. These near completed activities will soon be piloted in classrooms to get a fair sense of accessibility and relevance to school students of rural Sindh and Balochistan.
? TRC attends ED-LINKS planning meeting
August 9 – 10, 2010 TRC?s Amima Sayeed, participated in a planning meeting for ED-LINKS year 4 activities in Islamabad. In that meeting, EDLINKS, based on a request from USAID, engaged all partners in developing a response for flood-affected schools/districts in which it is present. TRC offered its teaching and learning resources which can be used effectively in safe-spaces for children to ensure they are engaged in meaningful learning activities.
Releasing Confidence & Creativity (RCC)
? EPI Data Entry Training
Under the RCC initiative, information on schools is collected and used for studying the impact of programme interventions. In this connection, Aga Khan Foundation, in collaboration with Aga Khan University-Human Development Programme, organized a 5-day training on the data entry process from June 1 to 5, 2010. The training focused on the use of EPI Software for data entry and analysis; all RCC Sindh Partners were invited to attend the training. Conducting intervention in 40 government schools of Karachi, TRC was also invited to participate. Our Office Assistant, Muhammad Wasif attended the training. The school profiles were duly completed and the data was sent to AKF for further processing.
? RCC Review & Planning Meeting
June 8, 2010, a team from AKFP comprising Ms. Zahra Ladhani, ECD Consultant, and Ms. Uzma Altaf, Programme Officer, M&E, visited TRC to discuss the RCC programme and future activities. TRC shared the challenges, successes and programme plans for 2011, where the focus will be to push the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) to initiate regularization of Katchi classes across towns. AKF shared that the RCC intervention is being expanded to two districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwah (namely Mansehra and Abbotabad) through engaging SUNGI and Mountainous Institute for Education Development (MIED) as partners. In this regard, TRC has been requested to provide technical support to MIED and Sungi through training teachers and familiarizing Head Teachers with the significance of ECE and the implementation of the National ECE Curriculum (NCECE).
? TRC conducts Needs Assessment with SUNGI and MIED Mentors
TRC will be training teachers and mentors from SUNGI and MIED under the RCC Programme. While the teachers will be taken through the NCECE Orientation Programme, the technical support for mentors of the respective institutes will be tailored according to their roles. Consequently, TRC conducted a needs assessment session with 20 mentors in Karachi on August 7, 2010.
After exploring their roles with respect to the RCC programme, mentors engaged in an interactive discussion on what they perceived as their needs with regard to undertaking mentoring responsibilities. While MIED participants have received advanced training on pedagogy, SUNGI participants have been more involved in community mobilization, school supervision and coordination activities. Key areas identified for capacity building included lesson planning, assessing young learners, active learning, providing feedback and support to teachers concerning team work, and curriculum implementation.
Upon sharing our findings with AKFP, TRC is now involved in developing a capacity building programme in response to the needs identified. It is expected that the workshop will be held in December.
? Refresher ECE Workshop for RCC Project Schools
August 9 – 10, 2010, TRC conducted a workshop titled Behter Mustaqbil Ki Janib Gamzan for our 40 RCC project schools of Jamshed and Korangi Towns.
Facilitated by our Training and Development Team members, Farzana Kauser, Seema Yasmin, Nighat Hasan, and Mehnaz Amir Ali, the workshop focused on the National Curriculum for ECE and teachers, guide, Mazboot Bunyadaen. Participants learnt about the importance of implementing developmentally appropriate classroom activities in their daily routine and the importance of ECE and active learning. Topics covered in this workshop included Classroom Environment, Classroom Support, Daily Routine, Plan-Do-Review, and Observation and Assessment.
The RCC project started in 2009, and since then we have been focusing mainly on setting up the physical environment and on developmentally appropriate practices in the 40 schools. This year we aim to focus much more on improving the psychosocial environment during our classroom support visits.
? Photographs for Nuture
Under the RCC initiative, Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) manages various publications, of which Nurture Magazine is a part. On September 30, 2010 SEF representatives facilitated by Seema Yasmin from TRC, visited some of our project partner schools in Korangi Town. The purpose of the visit was to take photographs for Nurture Magazine.
Workshops on Request
? Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) Lahore
ITA requested TRC to design and facilitate a National Curriculum ECE Training of Trainers (NCECE-TOT) workshop. Facilitated by TRC’s Nighat Hasan and Farzana Kauser (and a sneak peak by our Director Programme Development Mahenaz Mahmud on the last day), it was held in Lahore from May 10 -15, 2010.
TRC was mainly sought out to train 19 participants who will then provide ECE training to 200 teachers, thereby greatly improving the quality of schools and teachers in Punjab.
In keeping with TRC pedagogy, the 48-hour NCECE-TOT workshop was informative, activity packed and engaging. It mainly focused on the importance of the way ECE is conducted and emphasized the importance of creating an atmosphere conducive to activity based learning. This workshop was a resounding success!
? Health Oriented Preventive Education (HOPE)
A workshop titled Multi Grade Jamatoon Mein Moasar Tadrees was held for Hope School teachers at Hope Secondary school, Zia colony Korangi. This 15-hour workshop was held from July 5 – 9, 2010 and was attended by a total of 25 teachers.
TRC’s Training and Development team members, Nighat Hasan and Seema Yasmin conducted the workshop, which was based on the multi grade method of education. The participants were introduced to the importance of active learning. Some of the topics covered were: Stages of Development and Developmental Domains, How Children Learn and Activity Based Learning.
The participants also learned about developmentally appropriate classroom activities that they would need to implement throughout the daily routine. Different teaching-learning methods such as, group work, discussions, role-play, case studies, brainstorming and interactive lectures were used. The participants were mostly young, energetic, enthusiastic, motivated and vocal. They shared their school experiences and discussed their concerns regarding the multi-grade classroom environment.
? Minwala Girls’ School Cantt.
August 2, 6, 9, and 10, 2010, TRC’s Mrs. Naqvi conducted a school focused workshop for Minwala Girls’ School Cantt. on Effective Teaching. Despite challenges such as rain and school closure due to turmoil in the city which resulted in a break in the continuity of sessions and sporadic attendance, the workshop was a success.
The Topics covered included: Concepts of Learning, Learning Styles, Levels of Thinking, Role of the Teacher in the Learning Process and Effective Teaching Methods. Responses received from the teachers during the training sessions showed that they understood the concepts being highlighted and candidly shared the issues faced in their teaching.Even though the Cantt. schools are expected to follow the pre-determined, exam-oriented curriculum, it was rewarding to see teachers beginning to question the effectiveness in the set pattern being followed in their school. We are optimistic that teachers will continue to receive the support of school management in implementing the concepts learned in their classrooms.
? PECHS Girls’ School Display Boards
To increase awareness and critical thinking skills, every month teachers from PECHS Girls’ School are required to put up display boards covering a variety of social, cultural and educational topics not covered in the curriculum. In this regard, TRC has been involved in reviewing and giving feedback to teachers since April 2010. Based on the feedback and input given, PECHS asked TRC to hold a session before the summer break, in which specific guidelines were given and all layouts for August 2010 were reviewed. TRC’s Assistant Director, Natasha Ansari is responsible for this project.
On August 13 2010, the display boards were reviewed once again. Although there is still considerable work to be done, it was rewarding to see the improvement in the creativity, presentation and content of the boards. TRC will continue to remain involved in the process and provide feedback.
Workshops, Meetings & Conferences
? Review of DSD ECE Training Manual
Directorate of Staff Development (Punjab) in collaboration with UNESCO held an ECE training manual review meeting on June 15, 2010 in Lahore. The manual was developed by DSD and they invited various organizations from both the public and private sectors to give their feedback on the document. On behalf of TRC, Training and Development team member, Farzana Kauser, attended the meeting.
? TRC visits PITE Sindh, Nawabshah
September 16, 2010 TRC Training and Development Team (TDT) members Mehnaz Amir Ali and Nighat Hasan visited the PITE Sindh facility in Nawabshah. The main purpose of the visit was to familiarize TRC with PITE facilities and functions so as to provide input and support where needed.
Informative and enjoyable, our TDT members were given a tour of the PITE premises as well as their school, which holds both primary and secondary classes. They also viewed the ECE resource room and were given a detailed multimedia presentation on basic information and current projects that PITE Sindh is involved in.
? TRC to Conduct 50-hour Workshop at PITE Sindh
September 27 -? October 2, 2010, TRC Training and Development Team members, Nighat Hasan and Mehnaz Amir Ali will be conducting our 50-hour National Curriculum ECE Training of Trainers (NCECE-TOT) to build the capacity of ECE master trainers at PITE Sindh.
? Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE)
The Pakistan Coalition of Education (PCE) was established in 2005, as a civil society group committed to the improvement of quality education in Pakistan with the support of Commonwealth Education Fund – Pakistan. PCE works in more than 60 districts with 130 members.
Since last year, PCE is working on its reconstitution and making its aims, programmes, and membership base stronger. In this regard, PCE pursued TRC to not just become a member, but participate in the election process for the Board of Directors as well. On June 30, 2010 TRC became a member of the PCE and is also representing Sindh on the Board.
? TRC Attends PCE Board Meeting
Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) organized the first meeting of its newly elected Board on September 15, 2010. Being a provincial representative, TRC participated in the meeting. Amongst other items, selecting a chairperson and vice chairperson as well as co-opted members was on the agenda. The Board agreed to increase the number of co-opted members to five in order to include instrumental and diverse individuals both from the field of education and outside. Members unanimously elected Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ali from Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives as Chairperson and Ms. Amima Sayeed from TRC, as the Vice-Chairperson.
With respect to PCE’s vision, direction and programmes, it was agreed that the National Secretariat will provide details of PCE’s work to date, while the Board will advise on future strategies. Education provision in emergency situations and the need to push government for rethinking the systems in the reconstruction process was highlighted. PCE will engage the Senate Committee on Education and Women Parliamentary Caucus to share educational issues and recommendations for implementing NEP 2009 and Right to Education Act.
? TRC Invited to Attend UNESCO Conference in Moscow
TRC Director Programme Development, Mahenaz Mahmud has been invited to participate in the first UNESCO World conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (WCECCE). The Conference is scheduled from September 27 – 29, 2010 in Moscow City, Russian Federation. The objectives of the WCECCE are to:
– Strengthen political commitment to early childhood care and education.
– Map a course of action for accelerating progress towards Education for All (EFA) Goal 1 and related Millennium Development Goals.
TRC, based on its extensive work in the public sector for ECE, has been requested to share its experiences and lessons learned in the commission titled, “Capacity building to effectively deliver ECCE services”.
? TRC attends Pakistan Children’s Television Provincial Workshop
September 30, 2010 Rafipeer Theatre Workshop (RPTW), in collaboration with USAID Pakistan and Sesame Workshop, held a Pakistan Children?s Television Provincial Workshop at the Karachi Arts Council.
Combining puppetry, music, dance, live shows, technology and television encompassing TV, radio, live events and interactive websites, RPTW aims to create a memorable host of characters and a show, which will not only serve to address crucial themes and reinforce positive messages, but that will live forever as part of the fondest childhood memories of the adults of tomorrow.
As part of their research and development phase RPTW invited local educational policy makers, specialists and regional authorities on education and development to help identify the specific needs of each regional area in Pakistan. Natasha Ansari, Assistant Director TRC, participated and helped identify the needs and concerns as well as provide feedback on themes we felt were critical and needed to be addressed.
Attended by artists, literary committee members, school heads and various other organizations, the group brought rich, diverse individuals from all walks of life. Everyone in attendance felt the workshop was much needed and we look forward to seeing the show in production.