PR No. 145
ISLAMABAD: November 20, 2023

Federal Minister welcomed Shehzad Roy and appreciated his contribution towards education reform in Pakistan. especially for his work on the integration of Child Protection into the provincial curriculum of Sindh. Madad said that his contribution in the field of education is highly commendable. Madad said that due to Shehzad Roy’s efforts Sindh Government approved a new Teachers “Teacher Performance Evaluation” format developed by Zindagi Trust for Government Teachers across the province but also the National Assembly recognized his efforts and passed a law criminalizing corporal punishment. Shehzad Roy briefed the minister about the contribution and aim of Zindagi Trust. He discussed the initiatives taken by Zindagi Trust to make education accessible to all children in Pakistan and especially in Sindh. In continuation of his efforts he presented Madad Ali Sindhi with a proposal to develop and implement special elective courses focused on Chess, Liberal Arts, and especially music in all public schools in Islamabad. He said that Zindagi has developed a curriculum in collaboration with International Chess Federation (FIDE) for the students of class 3 to class 8. Shehzad said that the aim of introduction of such a course is to provide children with a platform to enhance their cognitive learning. He emphasised that chess along with other liberal arts, enables children to further develop and enhance their mental capabilities. On Minister’s direction NCC along with Zindagi Trust will develop a curriculum focused on teaching Chess and Musical instruments to students from grade 3 to grade 8. It will be further developed for the students of grade 9 and 10 as well. Madad said that such elective courses should be developed by NCC which can further be implemented by FDE on ground. He said that it is imperative that extra curricular activities are formally taught and encouraged at public schools. Madad said that he has given special instruction to FDE to ensure that sports events, debates and other such events are regularly organised in all FDE schools and colleges. Shehzad said that while recognizing the vital role of art education, Zindagi Trust (ZT) initiated its Art program in 2015, offering a diverse range of activities that act as conduits for creative expression. To this end, ZT curated a space conducive to artistic expression by making a designated art room in all its managed schools. Following this, ZT focused on building the capacity of government teachers designated to the art program. Through stakeholder engagement, and focus groups with experts in the field, ZT developed a comprehensive Art Curriculum to be used by all government schools across Pakistan as it continues to advocate for art to be recognized as a fundamental subject. He continued that Chess was introduced in Zindagi Trust managed schools in 2011. Shehzad Mirza, who trained in Russia and was a FEDA certified master chess player, initiated the programme that currently runs for students from Grade 3 to Grade 8. By running a master training programme, additional teachers were trained to allow the scaling of the programme. ZT students have succeeded at local and national level championships and their alumni now support other schools in offering Chess. The chess curriculum was developed after consultation of various sources in different languages, and considers the cognitive stages of children. By teaching the game's strategic nature, students learn to analyze complex situations, anticipate outcomes, and make calculated decisions, fostering their critical thinking abilities. The curriculum aims to teach students the value of planning ahead, making informed decisions, and assessing risks, skills that are transferable to real-life scenarios. Additionally, the subject is linked to mathematics, helping students understand patterns, develop spatial reasoning and problem solving abilities. Madad said that this is a praise worthy initiative and that he will officially launch this in the month of December. He said that NCC should develop and present this elective course to him on urgent basis so that it can be implemented by FDE in this year. Madad reiterated his commitment to reforming the public education sector. He said that it is his vision to lay the groundwork in such a manner that the future political governments can build a better Pakistan for the future generations.