The fifth storytelling workshop for politicians under School Reading Program 2016 was held in Karachi on March 31 st , 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 MNA Dr Fouzia Hameed, former MQM MNA Rehan Hashmi, MQM MPA Jamal Ahmed, PPP MPA Taimur Talpur and Secretary Education Sindh Fazlullah Pechuho.
CLF founder Baela Raza Jamil welcomed the participants and gave her opening remarks at the workshop. She noted that a higher enrolment rate wouldn’t help raise the standard of our schools any further if not accompanied by a change in learning levels of students. She remarked that education is an important political agenda and it is very important for politicians to take it up aggressively as general elections are just two years away. She spoke about SRP2016 giving a chance to politicians, LG representatives and education managers to show a lighter side of learning to students and teachers through storytelling as compared to rigourous tests and examinations.
Alif Ailaan’s Political Advocacy and Communications Manager Maliha Umer gave a presentation on the outcomes expected out of SRP2016. The trainers for the workshop were Asma Mundrawala and Mahvish Faruqi from Zambeel Dramatic Readings. Asma gave a small presentation on ‘The Magic of Storytelling’. She spoke about storytelling giving children confidence by helping them to express their thoughts and emotions; and it teaches us the value of listening and of the ‘spoken word’ especially in this day and age where the average human attention span is just a few minutes.
MQM MNA Dr Fouzia Hameed read the story ‘Bandar Aur Magarmach’ after which the trainer held an interactive exercise with the participants, asking them about how they would be reading the story later with children and then went on to elaborate the qualities of a good storyteller.
Secretary Education Fazlullah Pechuho talked about introducing Reading Classes of half an hour in schools all over Sindh to improve early-grade reading and math skills of primary-level students, and promised to visit any school in Sindh to do a storytelling session with children. PPP MPA Taimur Talpur and MQM MNA Rehan Hashmi read the story several times with the trainer, each time with different expressions. All three MQM participants also promised to visit schools in their respective areas.