The last workshop in series under School Reading Program 2016 was held on May 18th, 2016. The objectives of the workshop were to brief politicians, local government representatives and education managers on poor learning outcomes, and to deliver a training session on the art of storytelling to facilitate them for a storytelling session with primary students in government schools. The workshop was attended by PTI MNA Shafqat Mahmood, PTI MNA Ali Muhammad Khan, PTI MNA Engr. Hamid ul Haq, Former PPP MPA Shaukat Basra and PMLN member Jan Achakzai.
SRP Program Manager Momina Khawar began the proceedings of the workshop with presentation of the storyboard and ASER 2015 data on learning levels. As this was the last workshop in the series, the participants were also shown and briefed about the previous workshops their fellow party colleagues and members of other political parties had attended and the school visits they have been making throughout the course of the program, leading to overall greater impact in media in terms of participation of politicians to better learning outcomes.
Moderator of the workshop, Fereeha Idrees, took over for the storytelling session with the participants. Also having moderated the workshop in Quetta two weeks earlier, she encouraged the politicians to participate in the storytelling exercise with full zeal and commitment of visiting children in the future to read those stories.
PTI MNA Shafqat Mahmood was the first to read the story. He read ‘Shahzadi Nay Chaand Manga – a story about a princess pleading her father to bring the moon into her hands but instead got a ring made for her bearing the shape of the moon. He also argued that because education in our schools is not given in the language the child speaks at home, naturally, his level of understanding and learning will not measure up. He also suggested politicians and the development sector to support more interventions in addition to storytelling to improve quality.
Former Spokesperson of JUI-F Jan Achakzai had also joined the workshop and read the same story with animated expressions, followed by PPP leader Shaukat Basra, PTI MNA Ali Muhammad Khan and PTI MNA Engr. Hamid ul Haq.
PTI MNA Ali Muhammad Khan considered the approach of having politicians visit schools for an activity such as this as practical and meaningful, and by visiting a school in Mardan, he pledged to share his love of storytelling with children, and mobilise other politicians from his party in his constituency to participate in the initiative.
Fereeha Idrees closed the workshop with taking commitments from all participants to visit schools.