Read India goes to Pakistan
Parveen Sayyed of Pratham’s Urdu programme visited Pakistan to coach teachers on Pratham’s CAMal methodology and initiate a Read Pakistan.
Tell us something about your recent visit to Pakistan?
On March 30th at 6 in the morning, Ishrath Sultana, Abdul Raheem (madarsa coordinators) and I left for Lahore in a bus. A police van in the front and back of the bus made us feel really protected and secure! The next day evening we reached Lahore. Our goals and objectives were very clear - to replicate Read India efforts and develop Read Pakistan. And for this we planned out the various teacher training sessions.
How effective were the teacher training sessions?
After chalking out the training sessions in Lahore we proceeded towards Multan where the first session took place. The first batch of trainings was focused on ‘language’ and some 35 people attended the session. The group was an interesting mix of volunteers, Idare Tleem–o–Agahi (ITA) members, Government teachers and some NGO representatives. Most participants thought of the sessions to be typically lecture type and theoretical. However their views changed once we warmed up to them and playfully introduced concepts through games and poems. Some important government officials also attended the training and found it extremely beneficial. For a hands-on understanding, we took the participants to a government school of Ravani, a local village. Here they could effectively replicate what they learned on day one. We gradually moved on with the subjects – language and mathematics and awarded certificates to the participants on successful completion of the training. We then moved on to conducting trainings on early Childhood Care to a batch of 30 participants at Punjab University in Lahore. I sensed that the participant’s response was positive in all the sessions.
Do you see any difference in the sessions you conducted in India and with teachers in Pakistan?
We did not see too much of a difference. Though I can point out a few examples like how the teachers there found it difficult to conduct a letter song activity with the children as they were so used to plain reading. Also, in a subject like mathematics, they found it very interesting how we made it a fun activity against the rote learning. Even story telling with expressions and actions was a new thing for them.
I must mention that sitting on the floor while teaching was something they were initially not very comfortable with. However, by the last day of the training, they appreciated the ease in communication with the children when on floor.
Is pratham making any special efforts in order to implement Read Pakistan?
ASER testing in Pakistan revealed the poor learning levels of the children. This caught ITA’s (Idare Tleem–o–Agahi) attention and they requested Pratham to intervene. We are now putting our best efforts in order to implement Read Pakistan.
How do you see the programme developing this year?
ITA (Idare Tleem–o–Agahi) will pilot the programme for two months in Multan. Rahi Mayer Khan will pilot from December to March and they will promote CAMal on a large scale.