The seventh storytelling workshop for politicians under School Reading Program 2016 was held in Peshawar on April 14 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 PPP Senator Rubina Khalid, PTI MNA Sajid Nawaz, PTI MPA Shaukat Yousafzai, PTI MPA Arif Yousaf and Naib Nazim Peshawar Syed Qasim Ali Shah.
CLF CEO Maham Ali gave her opening remarks at the workshop followed by an introduction of Alif Ailaan by AA nowledge Manager Zainab Iqbal. Trainer for the workshop Mustafa Shahbaz laid out the program’s objectives, stressing upon how participation of elected officials in storytelling sessions and similar activities sends out a message to schoolchildren that they personally care about and are interested in improving their academic skills, and by doing so, not only it develops a brand of politicians – one that particularly and regularly interacts with children through such exercises and takes ownership of the school system in their constituencies – but also offers an alternative learning platform through which political leaders themselves could impart concepts and ideas to young minds, improve their emotional intelligence, and help them to develop an attitude of curiosity and passion, in the classroom and beyond.
He narrated two stories with the participants, one of them was Sakhi Darakht that participants also read along. PPP Senator Rubina Khalid was of the view that media traditionally is the biggest platform for storytelling, but today, the mainstream media in Pakistan does not offer any such opportunity to our young viewers; not even a single news channel has any programme designed solely for children, and by not using the medium of storytelling, we are limiting the potential of our future generations by not letting them see the world that the books offer. She also suggested that parents should develop a habit of bedtime reading with children as well to supplement their learnings in school.
PTI MPA Arif Yousaf shared that he visits one school every week in his constituency to talk to students about their studies, hobbies, and school life in general, and that alone has impacted the students a great deal, as parents later communicate to him that his visits have inspired better performance in class, and improved school conditions.
Deputy Mayor of Peshawar Syed Qasim Ali Shah also spoke at the occasion, expressing interest in continuing the program at the level of local government and involving the District Council in Peshawar by collaborating on training sessions for Council members and having them visit schools for storytelling sessions on a regular basis. The workshop ended with commitments from all participants to visit schools for their storytelling sessions, and play their role in inculcating reading habits in children to improve quality of education.