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Broad Class- Listen to Learn “Parhai Caro-Na”

Parhai Caro Na IRI a distance learning initiative to provide uninterrupted quality education to students during the school closure period

Photo of Fakhira Najib
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Tell us about your idea

POWER99 Foundation initiated implementation of Broad Class – Listen to Learn “Parhai Caro Na” Interactive Radio Instruction program, a distance learning initiative for young children (5-11 years) and offers them a way to safely continue their education in the midst of this medical emergency due to corona virus pandemic.

While many other educational services stopped entirely in Pakistan, Broad Class - Listen to Learn program redesigned as a radio education program called Parhai Caro Na (Lets Learn in Urdu). The overall goal of the program is to provide uninterrupted quality education to students during the school closure period. The objectives of the project are 1) To provide uninterrupted access to education services during school closure due to Coronavirus; 2) Increase awareness on Corona virus (Prevention & response mechanism) through radio programs

Parhai Caro-Na program is 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, non- formal education program for children who are not able to attend formal school.

Program believes in active and cooperative learning activities, listening exercises, speaking activities, riddles, sound games and role playing with music and stories. The pedagogical techniques have been devised on social, linguistic, cognitive, and emotional contexts and content of the program is socially and culturally relevant.

Radio set is used to receive broadcast through radio transmission. The 30-minute educational package addresses specific learning objective and is composed of series of activities, poems & games, delivered by consistent set of radio characters, who model instruction & activities. The children’s programs are bilingual narrated in Urdu (the common language in Pakistan) and English (as a second language and taught in schools as a compulsory subject). Distinct strands are presented, tailored to the needs and capabilities of each of the three age groups, using different methods of relaying information: Story time to increase self-esteem and numeracy and literacy skills through the power of storytelling.

Following is the details of activities being carried out:

Production of Messages relating to COVID-19

POWER99 Foundation produced messages in the voice of renowned doctors for awareness of Coronavirus (prevention and control) as tip of the day. These messages have been incorporated in the educational packages that are being aired five days a week (Monday – Friday) for children to share lifesaving health and hygiene messages for example, the importance of hand washing to prevent contagion. They also targeted parents with messages about positive parenting, parent-child interactions, and the importance of education

Radio Distribution

One hundred (100) specially designed wooden radios with rechargeable batteries; USB and memory card ports were distributed among households having three or above children. POWER99 team involved mostly school teachers who were trained during previous project involved in the original project) to use the radios, for which each of them was responsible

Airing of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and Promos

To get the word out, POWER99 Foundation first initiated running of promos/promotions on radio, alerting students about the broadcast/schedule of the educational package. Under the program, students and their parents/elder siblings tune in regularly at a specific time, as if for regular classes. They are supported to improve their own as well as their families’ knowledge of health including information related to COVID 2019.

Phone in and panel discussions after the broadcast

A phone in and panel discussion though live call-in interactive radio programs (12 in each district). Multilingual call in sessions allowed personal interaction between expert panelists (e.g., government representatives, a psychiatric nurse, a member of a local women’s empowerment organization), project implementer, children, and parents.The panelists answered questions, provided advice, and gave encouragement for coping with the crisis. POWER99 Foundation has set up a telephone hotline for students and their parents/community to call in and offer feedback.

Target Group: The program is directly benefit 289,000 children of primary grades affected by school closures in Abbottabad and Quetta. Besides this, the program is benefiting more than 6 million people (out of school children, youth and communities) in the outreach of radio transmission across KP and Baluchistan. Radio has the ability to reach across borders and more accessible for populations that lack access to other means of information technology. The program beneficiaries not only include children, but also communities listening live interactive radio programs on awareness on Coronavirus and all people in the outreach of the radio transmission.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

In response to Covid19 Broadclass Listen to Learn program is redesigned as Parahi Caro-Na, a 24 week distance learning initiative.This would be a stop gap solution for equal and quality learning and Increase awareness on Covid19 through radio programs. In a country with more than 30% people living below poverty line the COVID19 outbreak further eroded the fabric of society and caused the collapse of government services The school closure is widening the equity gap, many children do not afford or have access to digital devices or internet connectivity at home, even in far flung areas they don't have electricity. 4G internet uploads less than 1 megabytes per second; Educational Institutions do not have expertise to develop content for online teaching. Social distancing term in developing countries not relevant and biased we are physically distant as all social platforms like schools, mosques or gatherings are locked the effects of all this will reverberate long after the pandemic ceases

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

POWER99 envisions an educated nonviolent Pakistani society where people respect diversity and human rights and resolve conflicts peacefully. Its mission is to transform Pakistani education into an effective tool for providing modern knowledge, critical thinking skills and nonviolent coexistence. We are positioned as a community development resource center with both upstream policy level formulation, downstream grass root level integrated participatory action planning and implementation systems for development interventions. We have a fair history of filling these roles most effectively in the past, in close collaboration with national and international organizations and institutes specialized in crisis mitigation. Radio throughout the world plays a vital role in educating the public about crisis, warning of hazards; gathering and transmitting information about affected areas; relief organizations and public to specific needs; facilitating discussions about crisis vigilance and response

What region are you located in?

  • Southern Asia

Where are you located?

Islamabad is located in the northwest of the country on Potohar Plateau. It is the tenth largest city of Pakistan with an estimated population of 1.15 m people. There are 34 squatter settlements (slums) present in Islamabad, where more than 30% of total population reside. Out of the total 40% are working as sweepers. The children enrolled in schools mostly dropout (age of 7-10 years) due to economic reason, lack of interest/awareness among parents/communities on the importance of education.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Tracee Worley

Hi Fakhira,

Thanks for posting. This is a wonderful idea and sounds like it has wide reach. I love the name "Broad Class!" I'm curious if the radio curriculum aligned with Pakistan's national curriculum? Do you collaborate with teachers to produce your programming?

Photo of Fakhira Najib

Hi..Tracee Worley!. Yes, POWER99 Foundation has developed lessons for children of primary grades with the involvement of international and local education experts and teachers of public schools. All programs are based on the Students' Learning Outcomes (SLOs) of the national curriculum. The content of lessons is approved by Sindh Teachers Education Development Authority (STEDA). With the collaboration of Federal, provincial and district education departments, the program has been implemented in all schools of Federal Directorate of Education, Islamabad, selected schools of Haripur, Abbottabad and Battagram districts of KP provinces, Quetta district of Balochistan province, Jamshoro district of Sindh and Vehari district of Punjab province.

Photo of Tracee Worley

Amazing! Thanks for sharing.

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