Education in Pakistan | National Education Policy


Inclusion, Innovation and Care in Learning - One Day in D.I Khan CPB Learning Camps! (January 17th 2018)
Posted By Dr. Baela Raza Jamil

Mohsin sat on the edge in the middle of the class, but was unable to connect and I also could not make eye contact with Fatima Zahra sitting in the last row.  Fatima struggled with tens and units whilst Mohsin sat passively until someone said ‘oh mam he loves to come here but he is a slow learner’.   My instincts as an educator trained in principles of inclusion and innovations to draw out learners became sharper. I was going to be in this school for monitoring/support to the accelerated learning program Chalo Parho Barho only for the next 45 minutes, what trick could I pull out of my being?  After the Taliban period, this was my first visit to the beautiful district of D. I. Khan in KP, it looked and felt so peaceful – the fear had gone out of the atmosphere, I was very conscious of that feeling of calm and pleasure.  I love D.I Khan because it is a symbol of convergence of diverse geographies. It is framed by 3 provinces (KP, Balochistan, Punjab and FATA) - the dominant language is soft as the majority are Seraiki speaking. How many are conscious of these rich geographies and demographies embracing cultural diversity so seamlessly and not distancing fault lines as often conceived.   

As I had entered the government primary school in a rented urban setting with a very active head teacher – there was a warm welcome about this initiative we had begun with ILM 2 support, getting more out of school children enrolled and learning and also supporting in-school struggling children in grades 3-5. CPB is a 45-50 day camp for learning basic numeracy and literacy undertaken through a highly interactive approach. So 2 children not quite connecting out of 40 do stand out!  Kar Dikhao – Apney Sapnay Jagao Chalo Parho aur Barho (Do it- achieve your dreams –let us read and grow!) are the tag lines from the CBP song after all!  

I realized that the facilitator in the class was a very fine youth working hard but unable to engage with the notion of bundles /tens and sticks /units.  We did that very fast and together.  We got sticks from a jahroo and divided into bundles of ten as all children watched with fascination of ‘what was happening in the class!” We sorted this out with many quick exercises to clarify the notion of tens and units with several different examples until Fatima Zehra came alive with a sparkle in her eyes saying “I know this now!”  She moved away from the black board-with great confidence and a huge smile, despite her struggle with her walk due to her physical challenge with her hips and legs. 

My next interaction had to be with Mohsin who reluctantly stood up as I urged him to come closer to the black board. We wanted him to engage with shapes. We quickly tore up some old paper into tiny pieces.  The masking tape was doubled in shapes (square and triangle) stuck on the board; Mohsin helped in sticking torn pieces of paper on to those shapes and voila!  He did it and taught his peers – a new way to recognize a square and a triangle! His actions were sufficient –he did not have to speak but just do it! There was clapping and a sense by all that Mohsin had arrived in CPB!  We had claimed to be inclusive for our learning program and we did it! I wondered how many more students would be in this category across the CPB camps and immediately requested if we could add a cell in our monitoring and measurement tools for identifying our Mohsins and Fatima Zehras. 

As I walked down watching children playing hopscotch on literacy – letters and words the head teacher requested support from the Elementary & Secondary Education Department, KP for the forgotten ‘rented facilities’ who typically do not get the school construction grant or other learning materials grants – these are semi orphaned categories of schools – through no fault of theirs  nationalization took place in 1972 and now they are the most challenged structures not quite owned by the government.. The head teacher beamed up for helping bring so many children to school and helping the children in school learn so much better prior to the final examinations in 2018!