For the second year in a row, Next Generation Pakistan conducted a summer internship program at the School of Technical Sciences, Gohawa from the 24th of June to the 6th of July. During the course of the internship programme, students from class 5 to 10 were taught English, Mathematics, History, Science, Debates and Dramatics. The teachers comprised of high school/undergraduate students from various institutions all over Lahore. They served not only as propagators of knowledge, but also as mentors and role models.
Considering that all NGP undertakes is purely youth-based and youth-driven, the reduced age gap between the interns and their students served as a promoter of the child-mentor relationship. Furthermore, the interns worked on making themselves relatable to their students, in order to remove the inconvenient gap between the privileged and the underprivileged youth of this country. Keeping in line with what we believe, this project sought to empower the youth of this country to orchestrate change, regardless of the size of the impact created.
The summer camp ended with a memorable trip to the Lahore Zoo, PIA Planetarium and a lunch at McDonald’s where a surprise magic show was organised for the students. The students enjoyed watching the wide variety of animals, from giraffes to snakes to the glorious white tigers and were mesmerised by the musical and informative show at the Planetarium regarding astrology. The interns truly learnt what it feels to give back to those who deserve it the most.
The English class was made to focus on the communication skills of the students, with particular emphasis on tenses, parts of speech, singular/plural and for the higher classes; creative writing as well. If not perfecting their grammar, both spoken and written in this short time period, the interns were successful in making the students at STS confident with adhering to speaking this language.
The Math class was an arena for conceptual improvement. The interns tried their best to get some of the difficult topics across to their students and were successful in doing so as shown by the various tests and quizzes conducted in each class. Some of the weaker students showed significant improvement and interest in the subject, helping the interns achieve their purpose.
Furthermore, another forum for the inculcation of crucial learning techniques and concepts was the Science class. Conforming to the harmful method of route-learning, most children in Pakistan, from a very early age are unable to acquaint themselves with conceptual learning, which is why we believed it was imperative to include Science in the curriculum. Additionally, STS contains a well-equipped Science Lab where various experiments including food tests using Benedict’s solution, the usage of litmus paper to detect acids/alkalis and acid/base reactions were conducted in this program. Particular emphasis on the environment and its conservation was essential to the course outline of each class.
History was a fulfilling experience for students and teachers, alike. The curriculum consisted of various aspects of international history such as the two world wars, strategies of war and international crises presented before the UN, alongside the formation of Pakistan and its government and politics consequent to creation. The usage of visual aids such as charts and maps helped make learning easy and comprehensive. The interns adopted a strictly apolitical and unbiased teaching style to help foster understanding from the other party involved in the teaching process.
The extra-curricular activities created arenas for capturing the untapped potential latent in the students at STS. Debates class taught them to reason, argue and question, to value logic and to reject assumptions, biases and prejudices. Furthermore, it helped contain confidence in the students, making them comfortable in their own skin to voice their thoughts. The interns organized speech competitions to create healthy competition amongst the students and to motivate them to polish their oratory skills. Senior classes were trained in the Parliamentary style of debating and were acquainted with research methods to find support for their argument. Similarly, Dramatics class served as a medium for expression for the students at STS. The interns taught them basic rules of the stage alongside the importance of Drama as an art. Short plays were performed by each class at the conclusion of the summer camp, either serving to educate a valuable lesson or to provide comic relief. The interns learnt the extent to which undiscovered talent is prevalent in Pakistan’s youth and NGP hopes to introduce opportunities in the near future for its exhibition.
The internship program gave the youth of Lahore a platform to give back to society. It helped us realize what remains outside the bubble that most of the privileged youth is accustomed to living in, of children with the same dreams and aspirations as us but of not the same privileges and means of achieving them. The interns represented role models for the children, showing them all they had the potential and fortitude to become like while the students represented the responsibility the interns had undertaken to initiate change in this nation. It was a learning experience of equal measure for both the parties involved, entailing valuable lessons never to be forgotten.