Life is Fun (LiF) Science Education : preparing for the Big Picture in 2017 and 2018

The second phase (Phase II) of Agami’s science education program, Life is Fun (LiF) has come to a successful completion in February 2017. Launched in July 2016, in Phase II all eight lesson modules have been developed, out of which 4 were tested and revised in Phase II.  About 350 students in grades 3-5 in 6 Agami schools, including 2 new, were reached through this initiative. Total budget for the first phase of the project in 2016 was $5000 sponsored by Mentor Graphics Foundation.

Phase II was launched with a brand new team of 6 new interns hired as mentors to run the interactive sessions, project coordinator from Phase I Amdad Chowdhury as the trainer and content developer and Zinnia Afrin as the new project manager to manage and facilitate the team. Team-building has been an essential part of this phase. Four test sessions were run to train the newly hired interns with 3 lesson modules used in Phase I to develop and test the contents before we embarked on a long-term operation involving multiple schools in multiple districts in the country starting March 2017.  A total of 17 interactive sessions were conducted in this period of 6 months.

The response from schools and students has been extremely positive and encouraging. One teacher reported that his students have enjoyed the sessions more than the regular classes that he teaches and have requested more LiF sessions. The dedication and focus of the team members were vital to the success of this phase of the project. Most importantly, they brought joy to the children of these Agami schools while sharing knowledge in an informal and unconventional setting and methodology.

The schools in Dhaka city area who received LiF sessions in Phase II are:

Pearabag PSD School, Moghbazar

Alok School, Agaogaon

Nandipara Primary School, Madartek

Bangladesh Mohila Shomity School, Baily Road

Shurerdhara Music School, Lalmatia

Sohag Swapnadhara Pathshala, Duaripara

Strong emphasis was provided on collecting feedback from the participating students and teachers as well as monitoring test results before and after the lessons. We also performed a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) analysis to capture all probable aspects of the project dynamics.  The take away message from the SWOT analysis is provided here: The lesson plans are easy to deliver and communicate, considerably adaptable to changes in factors like time, physical facilities and logistics and set-up and closing are fairly simple. This makes a viable model once perfected to replicate and expand for reaching out to hundreds of schools in different communities and localities around the country in the future. There are opportunities to develop and update the content with more current information and activities and to keep it learner-centric for fostering independent problem solving.

Next up is Phase III which is expected to start in mid-March. Phase III will be in implemented in two stages over the next two year 2017 and 2018. Four new interns have been hired to join the team to take LiF experience to Agami-sponsored schools outside Dhaka.

Author:  Mahjabeen Kamal, Saudi Arabia