Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) The Children’s Literature Festival (CLF), now rebranded as the Pakistan Learning Festival (PLF) due to an overwhelming nationwide response from all age groups and in preparation for the 100 years celebration of Pakistan, comes to Karachi from 14-16 December 2021. The first two days of PLF will be dedicated to the inclusive equalizing Children’s Learning Festival (CLF) on 14-15 December and one day to the Teachers’ Learning Festival (TLF) on 16 December.
All school systems are welcome, including institutions of children with disabilities. The venue is the coveted Arts Council of Pakistan in Karachi where the extraordinary trio, viz. the President of the Arts Council Ahmed Shah, Secretary School Education and Literacy Department (SELD), Govt. of Sindh Ghulam Akbar Laghari and Commissioner Karachi Muhammad Iqbal Memon will co-host alongside Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA). Sindh Minister for Culture and Education Syed Sardar Ali Shah will grace the event as chief guest along with Provincial Minister for Information and Labour Saeed Ghani and Member Provincial Assembly Tanzeela Qambrani.
The PLF is a true partnership of the Government, Civil Society Organization, Industry and Development Partner sponsors, including the Bank of Punjab (BoP), Habib Metropolitan Bank, Oxford University Press (OUP), Room to Read (RtR), British Council Pakistan, National Foods, Sindh Education Foundation (SEF), EdLab Pakistan, Learning Pitch, CandyLand, Essa Laboratories, Lightstone Publishers, Sightsavers Pakistan, SOC Films, Telenor, Oxfam in Pakistan, UNESCO, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Museum and K-Electric.
The famous choir of heritage school St. Joseph’s Convent (SJC), where millions of girls/women students have graduated since 1860 making it famous for its empowered gendered footprint, will be rendering the PLF /CLF anthem ‘Humain Kitab Chahiye’ written for the CLF by Zehra Nigah and composed by Rakae Jamil, both will be there too. There will be a special Concert by SJC choir on 14 December from 1:00-2:00pm at the Open Air Theatre, Arts Council.
At least 33 books will be launched, including 28 adapted books from RtR in Sindhi by ITA and SELD, the Hamara Adabi Jashan written and illustrated by Maria Riaz, Aik Sabaq Seekha by child author Aminah Alavi, Zebra’s Striped by Zoya Khan (written when she was just 15years old), Kaun Badshah Banna Chahta Hai by RtR and translated in Braille by SightSavers, A Special Garden written by Dr. Ambreen Ahmed and illustrated by Maria Riaz, and Amai and Shabnam by Fauzia Minallah. These are all PLF’s publications and are available for the public. Meanwhile, BoP CEO and President Zafar Masud will announce the Young Author Awards 2021-2022.
CLF Ambassadors and renowned actors Ahsan Khan and Adeel Hashmi will thrill the audience, promoting learning, protection and how to make Faiz Ahmed Faiz popular in schools and classes on the two days of CLF which is something not to be missed.
The program is available online on CLF’s website. There are over 70 sessions and 150 resource persons and institutions participating in the mega event.
Active plenaries and pitches will take place by industry, education and climate change giants on Ed Tech, Incredible Libraries, Education Reforms and Climate Change with many eminent speakers including Zehra Nigah, Dr. Arfa Syeda Zehra, Zubeida Mustafa, Dr. Fouzia Khan, Ahmed Shah, Rumana Husain, Afia Salam, CEO Katalyst Labs Jehan Ara and resource persons from Dot and Line, AzCorp, ITA, EdLabs, Learning Pitch, Deaf Reach Wonder Tree, OUP and more. Sessions on theatre, music, performing arts, puppets and cinema will have Ali Hamza, Rakae Jamil, Nazia Zuberi Hassan, Sheema Kermani, Samar Minallah, Nigar Nazar, Atif Badar, Shayma Saiyid and Junaid Zuberi. Sohail Rana songs revival continues at PLF this time too with a session Dak Baboo Dak Baboo led by Nazia Zuberi in schools supported by ITA teams.
Sessions on creative writing and art of book making will be led by Mohsin Tejani of the School of Writing and Batool Nasir of OUP and on Dastani Goi Bait Bazi by Badar and Syed Nusrat Ali. Kitab Gari – a CLF/Library/School on wheels – also being called ‘Jadoo Gari’ will also be launched at the PLF and will engage the children, teachers and families through interactive activities throughout the event. Moreover, there will be STEAM activities by Science Fuse, Digital Story Writing by AKUIED, 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, interactive activities by SEF and Naunehal Magazine and much more.
The PLF/CLF/TLF are ITA’s flagship nationwide programs, promoting learning and above all social emotional learning especially at the time of COVID-19. They have a nationwide footprint, having completed 74 CLFs in all provincial capitals, Islamabad and over 25 districts of the country, digital CLFs and PLFs, collectively reaching over 1.6 million children and teachers since its inception in November, 2011.