BroadClass – Listen to Learn (IRI) program an emergency assistance intervention

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The signing of the Letter of understanding- Mr. Waseem Ajmal Chaudhary, Joint Secretary Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training & Ministry of Information and. Fakhira Najib CEO of POWER99 Foundation

In Pakistan, the widespread outbreak of COVID-2019 has placed regular life on hold, like the rest of the world. In an effort to prevent the further spread of the virus, all public and private schools are closed, and lock down has been put in place in all parts of the country.  Due to this 46.8 million children enrolled in schools in Pakistan are experiencing education disruption, which can have long-term implications, especially for the most vulnerable.

The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training approached POWER99 Foundation for collaboration to introduce the program Radio School national hook-up of Radio Pakistan After various meetings and deliberations with the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training & Ministry of Information/Radio Pakistan teams, a Letter of Understanding (LoU) was signed between Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Trainings and POWER99 Foundation. Under the LoU, POWER99 Foundation provided lessons on literacy, numeracy, and health content to Radio Pakistan through the Ministry of Federal Education and Education and

The program has the following three objectives:

  • To provide basic literacy and numeracy instruction to camp children, many of whom were estimated to have either not attended school or been absent from school for a long period of time as a result of disaster-induced displacement.
  • To provide a series of structured recreational and reflective activities that would facilitate a collective ‘trauma healing’ process and ‘peace education’ among the children, most of whom were estimated to have been psychological, if not physically, harmed by the disaster.
  • To develop the foundations of a fully formed rapid education methodology that could be widely adopted by the government and other developmental agencies.

These two domains are designed to be supported by two teaching kits:

  • The “School in the air ” kit contains a USB for lessons, a teacher guide, and resource materials for students and their teacher with a radio with a built-in sound system, and rechargeable batteries with a USB/Memory card option.
  • The “Story Books” kit, includes a set of story books for children. The teacher receives a teacher’s guide to read stories to children.
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Conceived as a 24-week program, Broadclass is designed to coincide directly with the school year (a period of 36 weeks). The teacher (or designated “facilitator”) uses a radio to receive the broadcast or inserted a flash drive loaded with that day’s program into the radio.  Where AC power or batteries are unavailable, radios with rechargeable batteries are provided. The 45-minute program addresses a specific learning objective and is composed of a series of activities, songs, poems, actions, and games, delivered by a consistent set of radio characters, including a “radio teacher” and “radio students” who models instruction and activities. The teachers’ guide suggests post-broadcast learning activities which enable students to apply the lesson, further reinforced by the readers.

The program helps to stabilize fragile communities by providing a consistent, attractive, and reliable service; engaging families and communities, and teaching knowledge and skills that both children and adults need in order to move out of conflict and poverty.

Professional Training for “Radio School” and being aired on national hook-up of Radio Pakistan.

The BroadClass – Listen to Learn program is designed to be an emergency assistance intervention, and also a pilot project with a view to replicating it in other areas of the country where the school system had been devastated, and possibly to other countries in the region.

Inhale Courage Exhale Fear: Salma’s Story

Terrorism affects children in devastating ways. Salma’s story is one example of its overwhelming devastation to the emotional and psychological well-being of one child.  Salma is a young girl studying in one of the “School in the Air” partner schools in Quetta funded by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan. Her story begins when Salma’s mother passed away after giving birth to her.  When Salma turned 4, she lost her only guardian, her father to terrorism. He lost his life in the Shahbaz Town terrorist blast. Salma had no one. Eventually, she was taken in by a neighboring widow who saw to it that she be admitted into school. The trauma that this child had experienced made her an irregular student, afraid, and unable to make progress in school. She kept to herself and struggled when asked to participate. However, once she experienced the Broadclass program, her teacher, Margret Khuda Bakhsh, saw her change. She shared that

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Salma says, “I am happy now, radio characters are my friends, but I truly hate the fighting. It is not getting stop.
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BroadClass has become ray of light for Salma. She has started to take part in classroom activities along with other children, her condition significantly improved and she now acts like a normal child. (Foster Mother)

Salma began responding to the songs, happily singing the rhymes with her classmates, and the radio characters.  Salma now acts like a regular student and has learned quite a bit.  Ms. Khuda Bakhsh reflected on the reasons for the program’s success with Salma. She said that the biggest factor in the “BroadClass” program’s success with vulnerable children is that it creates a safe environment where children feel secure and as a result are able to successfully learn.

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