The third storytelling workshop for politicians under School Reading Program 2016 was held in Karachi on March 17 th , 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 MQM MPA Irum Azeem Farooque, MQM MPA Syed Khalid Ahmed, PPP MPA Iram Khalid, PMLN MPA Shafi Muhammad Jamote, Additional Secretary, Education and Literacy Department Sindh, Nuzhat Fatima, DOE Karachi-West Shams-ur- Rehman, DEO Karachi- South Saba Mehmood, TEO Female (Primary) Seema Zahid and TEO Asif Aziz Rajput.
The proceedings of the workshop started with a welcome address by CLF CEO Maham Ali, briefing the audience about the concept behind School Reading Program, followed by an introduction of Alif Ailaan by Alif Ailaan Knowledge Manager Zainab Iqbal. The trainer for the workshop Rumana Husain (CLF Director and writer) started her training session with the presentation of the storyboard to explain the objectives and purpose of the School Reading Program, CLF’s objectives and Alif Ailaan’s four themes for 2016. Husain, quoted figures from ASER 2015 data indicating that Sindh ranked the lowest in categories of “Class 5 students who could read sentences in English” and “Class 5 students who could do two-digit math.”
She noted that with the help of stories, children’s worldviews are shaped as they are introduced to unique characters and situations, in addition to their vocabulary and listening skills being enhanced. She quoted examples of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who used storytelling as an effective means to campaign, and that storytelling remains a central component of leadership in the west for politicians, who also visit schools for storytelling sessions to encourage reading habits in children. She then continued with reading one of her stories ‘Pari Rani Aur Laal Peela’ – a fantasy story about a polio-crippled girl and a bird who explore the world together and travel vast landscapes that brings them even closer. The floor was then opened for discussion.
Saba Mahmood (DOE Karachi-South) talked about having permanent presence of a teacher in the classroom as the first step towards ensuring quality education, and pointed to Sindh Government’s efforts to introduce biometric attendance system as a means of doing that. She also held failure to assess students’ performances as a reason behind poor education quality in government schools as students of Grade I-III have not been taking exams until this year so their performance could not have been fairly assessed previously.
MQM MPA Syed Khalid Ahmed referred to the storytelling workshops held last year and committed to definitely lisiting a school this time around in his constituency. PPP MPA Iram Khalid announced to introduce a joint resolution in Sindh Assembly with MQM to celebrate a National Reading Day to foster creativity and learning. PMLN MPA Shafi Muhammad Jamote agreed that as politicians they will ensure that quality is improved in schools. The session ended with a promise from all politicians to visit schools and education managers to provide assistance in successfully carrying out schools visits in the concerned constituencies.
You may view the presentation given by Rumana Husain at the workshop at the link below: