"As an organisation working on school reform, I never thought we would be fighting to get schools closed but early last month, we pushed the government to prioritize health and safety over all else and shut down schools, which could have become a source of transmission of the virus to millions of students' homes."
Shehzad Roy, Founder and President - Zindagi Trust
This was a difficult yet necessary decision at a time when the country was still open, cricket matches were on and most private schools were worried about their students' exams and college admissions. Thankfully we were able to make a convincing case for what was in the best interest of our children, our nation and our planet, fuelled greatly by our Founder Shehzad Roy's dissenting note in a meeting of the Steering Committee for Education in Sindh.
We conducted extensive research on how to make distance learning effective for our schools and the broader population of government school students who lacked access to digital learning opportunities. Our most significant insight was that content needed to be creatively and intelligently crafted to engage students beyond the classroom.
In pursuit of this goal, we had assembled our first illustrated video titled "Plus Ka Jadoo," a captivating story about mathematics. This video was made available with an open license, aimed at igniting curiosity and joy in all children, regardless of their location. It was also launched on the new state television channel for education by the Federal Ministry of Education and PTV.
It was a challenging time for educators everywhere as we had to figure out how to teach without the tools we had developed and perfected over the years. We hosted an online discussion with young education practitioners from across Pakistan to explore the changing role of schools in this new world.
For those who missed the live event, a recording of the conversation between representatives from Sabaq, Headstart IB School, Young Patriots School, Haque Academy, and Teach for Pakistan was made available. You can view the recording by clicking here .
During the period when schools were officially closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, here are some updates on what we were engaged in:
During the lockdown, we sent creative worksheets to students from KG to Class 10, encouraging them to spend their time constructively. These worksheets were generously contributed by some of Pakistan's best young artists. They were made available for free download, printing, and coloring, ensuring accessibility for all.
These learning packs included coloring and activity worksheets designed to promote mindfulness, gratitude, reflection, and, of course, lots of fun.
These materials were generously contributed by some of Pakistan's best young artists who selflessly donated their craft to support children during this challenging period. A heartfelt thank you to Shehzil Malik, Sophia Balagamwala, and their team at Kurrachee, including Aditi Dixit, Faqeha Nadeem, Fatima Baig, Jovita Alvarez, Tooba Shahbaz, Yosra Emamizadeh, Sara Jamil, Ali Imani, Ameenah Mansoor, Ammara Jabbar, Bismah Saleem, Hiba Zaidi, Momina Latif, Lamia Majid, Sabeen Yameen, and Syeda Sheza Karim.
Whether or not you studied in one of our schools, these materials were made available for everyone to enjoy, free for all to download, print, and color!