Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) The Pakistan Learning Festival (PLF) entered its second day on Wednesday, with magical learning opportunities for ALL children, inclusive to the core.
Back in Karachi after two years, the PLF in a face-to-face mode received a tremendous response from students, teachers and the general public alike, with over 30,000 in attendance. Government, private and special education institutions/schools from across the province took part, with children/teachers traveling from places such as Mubarak Village, Malir, Hyderabad, and even from Lasbela, Awaran and Gwadar districts in Balochistan.
This three-day event, being held in partnership the BOP, Oxford University Press (OUP), EdLab Pakistan Learning Pitch, National Foods, Habib Metropolitan Bank, Room to Read (RtR), UNESCO, the British Council Pakistan, Telenor, Sindh Education Foundation (SEF), CandyLand, SightSavers Pakistan, SOC Films, Essa Laboratories, Lightstone Publishers, Oxfam in Pakistan, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Museum and K-Electric, is aimed at promoting interactive learning in general and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in particular, especially at the time of COVID-19.
The day proved that this was the best back to school learning gift for the children and schools from all districts of Karachi.
Sessions continued all day long on Creative Writing/Reading/Book Launches and Readings, EdTech during COVID, Incredible Libraries, performing arts, drum circle, NAPA Theatre, Gogi Nigar Nazar, Inclusive interactive stalls of the British Council, SEF, ITA, Deaf Reach, Wonder Tree, Learning Pitch/EdLabs, Circle Women, Aga Khan University and many book stalls as well.
Sindh Secretary for Forests Dr. Badar Jamil Mendhro attended the day two of PLF as chief guest and was especially happy to see the sessions and activities on Climate Change. He said that the climate catastrophe can only be avoided through collective efforts such as those being carried out by ITA through PLF, adding that children are our future and investing in children’s growth means investing in the country’s future.
The second day of the event featured rendition of Sohail Rana’s Song ‘Daak Babu’ that Nazia Zuberi Hasan instantly thought of with activities like letter writing, storytelling and doll-making, proving to be an equalizer with the heritage and positive culture completely blurring divisions of developed and developing. A society where children are routinely silenced by adults, it was a welcome departure from the norm at the PLF. Among thousands of children who participated in these two days, their writings, voices, photography, and lively activities were boldly prominent. The storytelling by ten-year-old climate activist of Pakistan Emaan Danish ‘Do not litter’ provoked other children to raise voice for the cause, followed by the national dialogue on Climate Change ‘Let’s Take Action’.
Active plenaries and pitches took place by on Ed Tech and Incredible Libraries. Moderated by Founder and CEO Katalyst Labs Jehan Ara, with panelists Dr. Fouzia Khan, Chief Adviser Curriculum SELD; Dr. Mohsin Raza from EDLAB; Sarah Sheikh from Deaf Reach; Azra Naseen Network of Quality Teaching and Learning AKU, Farah Shah from ITA, the panel discussion highlighted ‘Accelerating EdTech and Inclusive Solutions during COVID’.
Meanwhile, distinguished personalities such as Zubeida Mustafa, Shah Manzoor, Anila Yousaf, Syed Salahuddin, Ahmed Shabbir, Irshad Ali Sodhar, Seema Zahid and Maleeha Ahmed took part in the panel discussion ‘Incredible Libraries of Pakistan – a movement from below’ which was moderated by ITA CEO and CLF Founder Baela Raza Jamil.
Our Learning Festival by Maria Riaz, Meri Ammi by Maham Zehra, young Pakistani sister authors from Oman Aysal and Zunera Waheed and A Special Garden by Dr. Ambreen Ahmed were launched on Day 2 at the Open-Air Theatre with Rumana Husain and Baela Jamil.
Our hearts, minds, souls and expression together make learning meaningful with outcomes that sustain through life. In today’s age, learning begins with SEL as life skills that in turn spur cognitive and academic success. The PLF thus aimed at changing the narrative as it healed children returning to schools in this pandemic with sessions like ‘Saying it with Gogi Cartoons’ by Cartoonist Nigar Nazar, Drum Circle, Storytelling by AzCorp, session on digital safety by Safe Internet Outreach Program (SISOP), theatre play ‘Sultan’ written and directed by Uzma Sabeen of National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA), Cinema Ghar by SOC Films and Dawood Foundation, Puppet Show ‘Say no to bullying’ by Munazza Wasim and OUP Team, interactive musical session by The Music School and ‘Mazahiya Daastan Goi’ by Atif Badar. The open mic session ‘Bol kay Lub Azad Hain Teray’ and ‘Music, Math and Nature’ by Asif Sinan also continued for the second day.
The Art of Bookmaking, Letter Writing and Storytelling through Pictionary by OUP ensured children became young authors every hour and ITA’s stall and Kitab Gari engaged children in multiple interactive activities along with Mindful Art Workshops by Salma Habib and Syed Rizwanullah. The extraordinary team from Kazim Trust and Deaf Reach redefined the meaning of disabilities and inclusion with Inclusive Sessions for Inclusive Society.
Moreover, STEAM activities by Science Fuse, Ed-tech Solutions by EDLAB, numeracy-heritage by SBP Museum, tiny tales and arts & crafts by British Council Library, Environment and Climate Change Corner by the Grand Maali of Pakistan Tofiq Pasha Mooraj, Digital-3D activities by Wonder Tree, Learning Pitch, Teach the World Foundation (TTWF) and Popup Learning; interactive activities by SEF and DIY arts and crafts by Naunehal Magazine also continued to attract children throughout the second day.
ITA CEO and CLF founder Jamil also appreciated the warm reception received by the PLF in Karachi, grateful to the enthusiastic folks who made this event a wonderful success. She also said she hoped this would be just one of the many PLFs in the city of lights.
With an exhilarating dance performance by Kathak and contemporary dance artist Shayma Saiyid, the two days of learning festival for children came to a close. The third day will be especially dedicated to the teachers, also called Teachers’ Learning Festival (TLF).