Mar 11, 2009

Think locally, act globally

Laying the right foundation was extremely important, so such master trainers were chosen who could play an instrumental role in promoting the use of Information and Communication Technology in the schools and colleges in Orangi Town

Orangi Town is a small densely populated town in the northwestern part of the largest metropolitan city of Pakistan--Karachi. According to 1998 census, the population of Orangi Town was estimated to be more than 720,000. Inhabitants of Orangi Town comprise mainly of immigrants whose ancestors primarily hailed from the Indian state of Bihar. However, several other ethnic groups also reside in the area.
Orangi poverty alleviation project (Orangi Pilot Project, OPP) was initiated by Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan in 1980. The project was aimed at socio-economic development of the Orangi area. The project comprises a number of programs, including a people's financed and managed Low-Cost Sanitation Program; a Housing Program; a Basic Health and Family Planning Program; a Program of Supervised Credit for Small Family Enterprise Units; an Education Program and a Rural Development Program in the surrounding villages.
Thus, it is no wonder that when Intel Education introduced its Intel Teach to the Future Program way back in 2002, the residents of Orangi Town were the first ones to make the most of this opportunity.
Nisar Ahmed from the Faran Education Trust, decided to train 20 Master Teachers in the effective integration of Technology into the existing k-12 curriculum. The challenges faced were many, but the residents kept their morale high. They knew well that in order to keep pace with the rapidly changing world, they needed to create an effective workforce who could prepare today's generation to cope up with the challenges of the 21st century world.
As Nisar puts it: "Laying the right foundation was extremely important so we paid a lot of attention in choosing such master trainers who could become our trusted workforce and would play an instrumental role in promoting the use of Information and Communication Technology in the schools and colleges in Orangi Town. The purpose was see evidence of a long term impact."
Strictly working towards achieving the main objectives of the program, these master trainers are working hard to bring about a difference to the quality of education in Orangi area.
Dr Rafi, one of the master trainers, joined hands with Intel Education and has coordinated and conducted many Master Trainer batches in Orangi Town. He along with his colleagues has trained a sizable number of teachers in Orangi Town since 2001.
Accruing to Dr. Rafi, "What I like best about this course is that, there is never a boring moment. Each time you revisit the Core Strands of the Course, you discover something new."
Dr Rafi was extremely excited when the course became increasingly Project-based. "There are so many problems in Orangi Town that you can at once make a connection."
Since he also owns and runs a school in that area, he trained all his teachers on the course and decided to implement Project Based Learning in his own School. It was not difficult to identify a problem, there were so many around.
However, his students decided to tackle the Sewerage Problem which is one of the most ambitious Projects of the Orangi Pilot Project to date.

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