Education through the Arts

Creativity for All

"The arts humanize the curriculum while affirming the interconnectedness of all forms of knowing. They are a powerful means to improve general education."

- Charles Fowler

Rote learning, the common teaching method across Pakistan’s public schools, stifles a student’s creative impulse, restricting the child to monotonous and repetitive but meaningless tasks. As a result, children lose their ability to think, imagine, dream, and create.

However, Government Girls Primary School Gharibabad No. 3, located in the district of Sukkur, has become an artist’s paradise, a fertile ground for imaginations to soar and creativity to explore unchartered realms.  The school is participating in STEP’s Whole School Improvement Programme, which strives to improve opportunities for children’s learning by undertaking development work in schools as a unit.

On May 12, 2014 the school’s Parents Teacher Association (PTA) and the Afaq Foundation organised a Drawing Competition to enhance students’ creative skills at GGPS Gharibabad No. 3. A total of 42 government schools, including STEP schools, participated in the competition. The children painted, drew, coloured, and actively explored their creative sides. Students with the best paintings and drawings were awarded certificates and prizes for their work. Students from five of STEP schools in Sukkur received top three positions. Students from two STEP schools tied for first place, one STEP school received second place, and two other STEP schools tied for third place. Because of the success of this activity, teachers, parents, and the community members are now planning to organise Mathematics and Writing Competitions in the near future.

The school overall has demonstrated significant progress in providing quality education and cultivating a child-friendly learning environment. The female teachers of the school spend their hours after school painting the walls with colourful pictures of animals, plants, and various learning displays. Furthermore, community members of the locality have pooled their resources and efforts to purchase a drinking water tank and a generator. The teachers have developed and are implementing a systematic plan for developing the school, establishing targets and criteria and then strategising accordingly to meet the targets. The increase in enrolment from 150 to 400 students over the past 3 years, since STEP’s intervention began, is perhaps the greatest indicator of the school’s improvement. Parents are transferring their children in this school from private schools; moreover, even government officials have enrolled their children in GGPS Gharibabad No. 3.