There is only one program design element that cuts across BRAC's vast portfolio: community ownership. If communities don't step up, for one reason or another, BRAC's programs falter.
So BRAC's Education Program in Pakistan was thrilled this spring, as students and their families came together for their annual functions. These public ceremonies, which happen school-by-school beginning in the middle of March, celebrate graduates and celebrate the value that education brings to communities where it remains commonplace to pull children out of school when they reach the same level of education as their parents.
It was a great reminder that community ownership isn't just an abstract program design element--it's also the sights and sounds of daughters, sons, mothers, fathers and teachers all singing, clapping, cheering the progress they're making together.
The children of Pakistan's Lasbela district lack of the services most would consider essential to proper social and cognitive development, including access to pre-primary education. Because of this, many students struggle to comprehend and retain the government curriculum that is used by schools in the district including BRAC primary schools. In order to to supplement this curriculum, the BRAC Education team has designed additional pedagogic techniques and materials in the areas of storytelling, song and rhyme, art, games, puzzles and general knowledge in order to enhance students' ability to absorb their daily lessons.
Distinctive from most government schools, BRAC schools, which are primarily based in regions where children are deprived of sufficient early childhood development, employ student-centered teaching methodologies that engage students on an individual level. These methods include active learning, in which students solve problems, answer questions, formulate questions of their own, discuss, explain, debate, or brainstorm during class as well as cooperative learning, where students work in teams on problems and projects under conditions that assure both positive interdependence and individual accountability. There is also a practice of inductive teaching and learning, in which students are first presented with challenges (questions or problems) and learn the course material in the context of addressing those challenges.
The difference this makes in the children's lives can be observed by interacting with the them; their confidence and active participation in any activity within and outside of the school is drastically higher than those who are not enrolled. With your support, we can continue to make an invaluable impact in the lives of these children and foster positive socioeconomic change in the community.
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