Project activities and multi school workshops consumed most of the quarter with back to back stakeholders’ training under PSSP and many visits to Sehwan marking full swing implementation of the project. TRC’s training halls were filled to capacity with simultaneous multi school workshop sessions, which scaled upto six trainings in the month of November. The TRC management focused energies on negotiating for new projects and meeting with potential new partners; many consultations were held in-house for finalizing the project proposal for Open Society Foundations (OSF) for which planning was already underway from the last quarter. The efforts culminated into desirable results and TRC secured a one-year grant from OSF to embark on an exciting, innovative and inclusive programme with an aim to integrate much needed critical thinking skills into pre-primary and primary classrooms. Through the programme, TRC will be working closely with stakeholders from both public and private sectors to advocate for education reforms at the policy level.

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Projects at TRC

Master Trainers Ready for Disaster Risk Reduction and On-time School Enrollment

PSSP aims to ensure that, parents, communities and teachers develop strategies for getting children ready for school. Through the Child-to-Child approach, older siblings (Young Facilitators) help younger children (Young Learners) learn skills and acquireknowledge and attitudes which enable them to manage school environment and reduce risks of disasters with confidence and success.

From September 30 to October 8, 2013, a nine-day Training of Trainers was conducted at TRC for master trainers of partner organizations (SEF and CDC) as well as TRC’s own lead trainers. The main objective was to introduce the Child-to-Child approach as well as pedagogies required to integrate Getting Ready for School and Disaster Risk Reduction materials into under-resourced schools of Sehwan selected for the intervention.

A total of 26 participants, 25 females and 1 male, attended the training. 9 participants were from Community Development Council, Sehwan, 5 from TRC, 4 from Sindh Education Foundation and 8 from TRC’s resource pool of public sector trainers as well as ECE-CPU graduates.

Dr. Sonal Zaveri, International Adviser from Child to Child Trust, UK was the lead trainer. In addition to administrative facilitation,TRC’s core trainers extended technical support to Dr. Zaveri and conducted training sessions on ECE covering themes of child development, active learning, role of play, language and literacy development and mathematical development.

As part of the ToT, a mock session was conducted with 33 school children, out of whom 14 were older children who enacted the role of Young Facilitators (YFs) for the Young Learners (YLs). The exercise proved very useful for the trainers who got an opportunity to observe and facilitate the Child-to-Child approach in action, which is the main tenet of the project.

Community Teachers Adopt Child to Child Approach

Following the Karachi based ToT, TRC’s team carried out a six-day training for the teachers of Sehwan schools participating in the project. From November 25 to 30, 2013 training sessions were conducted at CDC’s premises in Bhan Saeedabad, Sehwan. Theoverarching objective was to introduce the Child-to-Child approach to teachers who are responsible for implementing it in the schools through engaging children in roles of YFs and YLs, increase preparedness for disasters and enhance competencies for ensuring on-time enrollment in schools and student retention especially of the girl child.

A total number of 30 female teachers attended the training. From TRC, Seema Yasmin and Nighat Hassan facilitated the workshop.

The topics covered were child development, how children learn, language and literacy development, mathematical development, active learning, levels of children’s participation, good facilitation, risk and vulnerability, understanding C-t-C approach, assessing needs of children and conducting surveys.

Different teaching-learning methods, such as, group work, discussions, brain-storming, role plays and participatory lectures were used along with energizers to stimulate active participation.

A mock session with children was also organized to help teachers understand the C-t-C approach better. Atleast 33 children participated in the exercise and played out roles of YFs and YLs with teachers facilitating children’s engagement.

TRC Trains Mentors for Younger School Children

Since the PSSP follows a cascade model of stakeholders’ training, a four-day workshop was carried out at the school level for the Young Facilitators participating in the project as mentors for younger children. The TRC trainers conducted the workshop from December 17 to 20, 2013 in eight schools of Sehwan.

Since the project envisages wider community involvement to ensure success of C-t-C approach in school settings, parents, especially mothers, were invited for orientation about the key project activities as part of the training. The sessions for the Young Facilitators were geared towards preparing them to mentor younger children and getting them ready for school.

TRC distributed material amongst the Young Facilitators during the training. This included a school bag for each YF and stationery pouches with pencils, sharpeners, erasers, scales, crayons, colour pencils and a pair of scissors. They were also provided with the Sindhi translation of YF Guide, 4 story booklets as well as informational handouts on DRR to help them carry out their work with Young Learners.

A total number of 158 Young Facilitators and 133 mothers participated in the training in eight community schools.

TRC Secures an OSF Grant

A detailed programmatic and financial proposal was submitted to the Open Society Foundations (OSF) in response to their interest and willingness to partner with TRC. The proposed intervention focuses on developing and piloting materials to promote critical thinking skills amongst both teachers and students of primary schools. The proposal was approved and TRC is to initiate a year-long programme starting from January 2014. As part of partnership formalization, OSF Pakistan team along with their international representative, Mr. Anthony Richter, visited TRC on Dec 12, 2013 and met with the team.

School Focused Workshops

50-hour Active Learning at Schools

With a dedicated vision to bring about discernable changes in the teaching-learning domains of the school, the Sun Academy approached TRC with a request to conduct a comprehensive workshop with pre-primary and primary teachers.

The 50-hour training on Active Learning was led by Tabinda Jabeen and Uzma Rauf from TRC. The sessions were spread over sixteen days in October, November and December 2013. 16 teachers, 11 from pre primary and 05 from primary levels attended the training.

The interactive, hands-on workshop introduced the teachers to relatively new ideas and concepts related to children’s development and learning, brain development, the learning environment, principles of quality ECE programmes as well as the National Curriculum on Early Childhood Education.

The workshop sessions were interactive using a variety of techniques to stimulate and retain participants’ interest as well as encourage them to hold dialogue about their learning and experiences. The cumulative feedback was positive and all teachers who attended the workshop felt that they have become increasingly conscious of the fact that every little happening in the environment impacts a child’s learning and development.

The Dream Model Street School also approached TRC for training their ECE teachers and introducing them to pedagogies conducive for young children’s learning and development. The 50-hour Active Learning module was conducted by Tabinda Jabeen and Uzma Rauf from December 19 till 31, 2013. A group of 16 teachers, 4 from primary and 12 from pre-primary attended. Sessions were held both at the school premises and at TRC.

Effective Teaching at Shahwilayat School

In response to a request by the management of Shahwilayat Public School, a 12-hour workshop was conducted by Rubina Naqvi of TRC for 20 teachers of the middle school at the school premises on December 7 and 21 2013.

This workshop focused on essential aspects of effective teaching including involvement of students in their learning, dealing with challenging behaviour in class, application of the curriculum, effective communication skills, classroom organization and a positive working environment.

The teachers were encouraged to share examples from classroom teaching experiences and highlight issues that they could or could not resolve. The Head and Senior Mistress of the middle section were also present during most of the sessions.

Multi School Workshops from October to December 2013

During the quarter, thirteen multi school workshops were carried out which were attended by a total of 317 teachers from TRC member and non-member schools.

In October, four workshops were conducted titled ‘Designing Multiple Choice and Constructed Response Questions‘, ‘Seekhney kay Amal mai Khel ka Kirdar’, ‘ Effective Use of Teaching Aids’ and ‘Cross-curricular Integrated Teaching’.

Khushkhati’, ‘Teaching History Creatively’, ‘Paradigm Shift towards Creative Teaching’, ‘Moassar Taleemi Mahoul’, ‘eLearning for Schools in the Digital Age’ and ‘Gearing up to O Level Poetry‘ were the six workshops carried out in November.

During December, three workshops were held which included ‘Understanding Curriculum Development’, Planning Effective Art Lessons’ and ‘Are You an Effective Teacher?’.

Resource Mobilisation and Networking

Efforts continued for exploring viable partnership fronts with different like-minded organizations.

One meeting was held with the Sindh Education Foundation to further concretize the scope of work for teacher education initiatives in Early Childhood Education. Discussions regarding potential collaboration were initiated during the last quarter and were taken to the next level during this one with TRC modifying its proposed framework in the light of new developments with regards to SEF’s own project design submitted to the Government of Sindh for approval. Assistant Director, Ambreena Ahmed, represented TRC in this regard.

A meeting was held with EFS to explore opportunities of collaborative work. Ambreena Ahmed, Assistant Director, represented TRC. Established in 2012, EFS – Education Fund for Sindh is a not for profit company, that aims to tackle the education crisis in Pakistan. EFS is focusing on enabling access to education for out of school children to begin or complete their primary school education.

After a brief overview of both organizations, concrete options for future collaboration were discussed. The EFS representative explained in detail current educational interventions and pointed out that in addition to access issues EFS plans to focus on quality of education offered to children. EFS will initiate support to low cost private schools in Karachi through its voucher scheme and will upscale to other districts gradually. For these schools, EFS is interested to explore teacher training and learning resource provisions with TRC.

As a follow-up to this, another meeting was held at TRC where two EFS representatives visited our office. A detailed orientation on the TRC’s portfolio of services and products was provided by Ambreena Ahmed, Assistant Director and Rubina Naqvi, Senior Manager. The Programme Director, EFS, Farida Zuberi, inquired at length about TRC’s school evaluation programme and learning resources including the PTB.

The meeting concluded on a positive note and EFS team was also given a round of the TRC premises as they were interested to see our training areas and office set up.

A meeting was held with the head of the Reform Support Unit (RSU), Government of Sindh to discuss possibility of a linkage with the government under the Public Private Partnership mandate.

TRC representative, Ambreena Ahmed, apprised CPM-RSU about TRC’s scope of work and shared key accomplishments of the organization including the National Curriculum for Early Childhood Education. The CPM shared information regarding current and new programmes being run and planned by the GoS with support from development partners. She stated that ECE is a priority area and that RSU is advocating for more investment in ECE. RSU has proposed to the Secretary Education that more funding should be geared towards ECE in public schools and a possible collaboration with TRC is foreseeable in Sindh.

The CPM RSU asked the TRC representative for a demonstration on TRC’s Pehla Taleemi Basta for which another meeting was held at RSU. Ambreena Ahmed and Tabinda Jabeen provided a detailed overview of the PTB and explained its usage and benefits in early years classrooms.

Events and Seminars

World Teachers’ Day 2013, Arts Council, Karachi, October 7, 2013

Sindh Teachers’ Education Development Authority (STEDA) in collaboration with the Reform Support Unit (RSU), Government of Sindh organized an event to mark the World Teachers’ Day at the Arts Council Karachi on October 7, 2013. The WTD was supported by UNESCO, Islamabad. The purpose was to acknowledge teachers’ contributions, highlight issues and challenges faced by the teachers’ community as well as policy reforms initiated by the government and provide a platform to prospective teachers for sharing their aspirations. Honorable Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Senior Minister, Education and Literacy Department, Government of Sindh chaired the event.

In her brief address, Ms. Saba Mahmood, CPM, RSU, thanked all the guests from both public and private sectors, who had joined in the celebrations to pay homage to the noblest profession and shared RSU and STEDA’s joint endeavors for cultivating a supportive policy environment for teachers in Sindh. Next, Mr. Zahid Abbas Jatoi, a STEDA representative, presented STEDA’s policy actions for quality teachers as well as its future operational framework to strengthen teachers’ professional development programmes in Sindh. Role and functions of STEDA, its governance structure, achievements and future vision were some of the highpoints of the presentation. Mr. Qazi Ayaz Mahesar, Provincial Coordinator Sindh, UNESCO- Islamabad read the joint message from the heads of UNESCO, UNDP, UNICEF, ILO and Education International on the occasion and shared key education initiatives which UNESCO is currently supporting in the Province. 2 groups of student teachers enrolled in Associate Degree in Education (ADE) programmes at GECEs also made group presentations and spoke about their aspirations as emerging teachers in the 21st century. Dr. Fazlullah Pechuho, Additional Chief Secretary, Education, Sindh, presented the government’s stance on teacher education and apprised the audience of various initiatives, which are currently being undertaken for improving the provision for prospective and in-service teachers. Before the event proceedings ended, the event chair, Honorable Senior Minister, was requested to say a few words and the event drew to a close with a vote of thanks and lunch.

Ambreena Ahmed, Assistant Director, attended the event on behalf of TRC.

Bridging the Trust Gap: Sindh Government Calls on the Private Sector for Education Upliftment

A meeting was convened by the Chief Secretary, Sindh, Mr. Ijaz Chaudry on October 23, 2013 at the Sindh Secretariat. The main aim of the meeting was to promulgate Sindh Government’s willingness to engage with the private sector for improvement of education in the Province. The meeting was chaired by the Honorable Senior Minister for Education, Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro.

The meeting was attended by representatives of international donor agencies (USAID, UNESCO, UNICEF, DFID, STC etc), NGOs, civil society and other public sector concerns. TRC was also invited and Ms. Ambreena Ahmed, Assistant Director, attended the meeting on behalf of the organization.

The CS in his opening remarks thanked the members representing the donor community, civil society and NGO sector for coming together for resolution oriented deliberations over the issue of poor state of education in Sindh. Dr. Fazlullah Pechuho, Additional Chief Secretary, Education, presented the state of literacy as well as disparities at different levels of education delivery. He stressed the need to accelerate efforts for achieving the 88% literacy rate by 2015 as per the international commitments and also shared his concerns over the improbability of achieving the desired mark since the currently literacy rate lurks at 59%. The Honorable Senior Minister also expressed his views for expanding educational access and reforming the quality and endorsed the significance of the meeting as an endeavor to seek sustainable help from the private sector. In the proceedings that followed, the CS moderated a cross sectoral discussion inviting concrete input on specific fronts including the Adopt a School policy and whether it needs to be reformed, the school consolidation framework and the broader public private partnership mandate for easing out exchange of resources and expertise between the two sectors for a common cause.

In his closing remarks, the Senior Minister Education, thanked the participants and hoped that the meeting will pave way for constructive and longer term engagement of the private sector to uplift public education system in Sindh.

Interactive Discussion on the Problems of Coastal Communities

On November 22, 2013 a representative of TRC attended an interactive discussion titled Hum Sub that was organised by the Indus Earth Trust. The discussion was held at the Arts Council as part of the Pursukoon Karachi festival. Various stakeholders from the coastal communities of Sindh and Balochistan (which IET works with) were present to discuss the issues that face the area due to the deteriorating law and order situation. The volatile situation in the area has forced IET to shut two of its offices. A documentary made by Jibran Javed about the difficulties faced by the residents of the area was also shown to the participants.
Several children from poor fishing communities were present as stakeholders on the occasion, as were Shahid Khan, (CEO, Indus Earth Trust), Design Educator Tazeen Hussain (Trustee IET), Development Journalist and independent film maker Jibran Javed and community members Azam Khan, Bashir Ahmed and Allah Rakhi. Each stakeholder was given the opportunity to tell their story and discuss the issues they were facing.

Advocacy on School Health in Sindh

The Bureau of Curriculum, Education & Literacy Department, Govt of Sindh in collaboration with UNESCO, organized an advocacy seminar on School Health Programme in Sindh, on December 10, 2013 at Regent Plaza, Karachi.

The event aimed to raise awareness and take forward the dialogue on possibilities of integrating health education in the curriculum, textbooks as well as the national education policy. Representatives of public and private sector organizations working in education were present. Tabinda Jabeen and Sana Karim represented TRC.

Dr. Fazlullah Pechuho, Additional Chief Secretary, Education & Literacy Department, Government of Sindh, chaired the event. Idrees Jatoi of Bureau of Curriculum, shared recommendations on how possibly gender balanced health awareness can be integrated into curricula. He further emphasized on incorporating environmental awareness also into classroom teaching through hands-on, activity based methods. Different aspects of the proposed health programme along with the need for teachers’ training were highlighted.

Review of Sindh Public Private Partnership Act 2010

A review meeting of education sector by the Chief Secretary Sindh and Senior Minister for Education, identified that “Amendment and Review of Public Private Partnership – PPP Act and Adopt a School Policy” would be critical for improved access to quality education. Although the PPP Act 2010 is supposed to apply to all sectors, it is framed mainly for infrastructure and services related to various stages of construction and maintenance of facilities. Professional services such as curriculum design or teacher training are not included in the scope of PPP Act. The review exercise, led by Ms. Baela Raza Jamil, appointed as Consultant by the Reform Support Unit, aimed to provide a platform where state and non state actors could expand the scope through their experience and insights as well as collective deliberations. TRC also contributed to the process by participating in the meeting and sharing comments on the PPP Act. After two consultative meetings, revisions in PPP Act have been finalized and sent to the Chief Secretary for his perusal and presentation to the law department and final approval from Parliament. On the other hand, the Adopt a School Policy remains under deliberation with a proposal to identify it as one of the methodologies of partnerships for school improvement.

Sports Festival at Jaffar Public School

TRC was invited to attend a sports event on December 18, 2013, as part of the celebrations to commemorate the completion of 25 years of Jaffar Public School. Over 500 students from the junior section participated in different sports activities. It was well attended by parents and educationists from other schools in the city. Rubina Naqvi represented TRC at the occasion.

Policy Dialogue on ECE

The Education & Literacy Department, Government of Sindh has recently developed the Sindh Education Sector Plan- SESP through a consultative process will all relevant stakeholders. To discuss ECE as a significant component of the SESP, the Reform Support Unit arranged a policy dialogue, on December 26 2013 at Regent Plaza, Karachi supported by Plan International Pakistan.

Nighat Hasan from TRC attended the session which was aimed at discussing various ECE initiatives underway in Sindh, identifying synergies and initiating the process of policy development for ECE in Sindh through formation of a core group or technical committee.

Media Literacy

3rd Karachi International Children’s Film Festival

The 3rd Karachi International Children’s Film Festival was organized from November 25 to 29 at ZVMG Rangoonwala Community Centre. This event showcased 38 films from 27 countries and was attended by at least 2,883 students and teachers from TRC member and non-member schools. The KICFF spanned over five days and films were shown in three one-hour slots catering to different age groups. Two evening shows for families were also organized on the last day.

The Festival, like the previous two, was arranged in collaboration with the The Little Art, a Lahore based NGO which organizes a similar event in Lahore.

Despite the uncertain security situation in the city and exams in some schools, participation in the Festival was encouraging. The children were very excited and enjoyed the shows thoroughly. Room on the Broom, Daddy ABC, Are You Proud of Me? Guddu ki Guddi, Bunty’s Tree, Bubbles and Miriam’s Food Processor were rated as the most favourite films.

TRC received an overwhelming response from children, teachers and parents. Those schools which could not attend the KICFF due to exams and other activities, requested TRC to extend the number of days so they could also participate which was not possible. However, TRC is rethinking event dates for the next year to ensure maximum participation from schools.