More Teachers are Being Trained and Students are Showing Interest on Preventive Drug Education
Ms. Aziza Samady is a teacher in Naderia High School, Kabul city who has two years of teaching experience of Preventive Drug Education (PDE) in Afghanistan. She was one of the most active teachers from the beginning of Preventive Drug Education Project and currently serving as a Master Trainer. She speaks to Colombo Plan Web Media during a six days workshop on Lesson Planning for Elementary Schools in Afghanistan.
Q : How long have you been associated with the Preventive Drug Education programme of the Colombo Plan?
A : Almost two years. I was invited for the training on PDE in July 2010 at Kabul along with other 47 teachers from Kabul, Ningarhar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat. It was an eye opener for me and ever since, I have been active with the PDE project in Afghanistan.
Q : What do you think is the relevance of PDE in Afghanistan?
A : The main reason for such a rapid growth of drug problem in the country is lack of awareness and wide availability of drugs. I have seen many people start taking drugs from their early adolescent period while they are in their school itself. Therefore, our children must be given proper education on the harms of drugs as well as helped to develop life skills to say NO to drugs. The initiative by the Colombo Plan and the support by the Ministry of Education in implementing PDE in Afghan schools is a timely step and a necessity.
Q : How many students you could reach out with the lesson plans?
A : I teach in Naderia school, Kabul which has students strength of over 6000. I have reached out to more than 800 students since past two years. Last year itself I gave PDE lessons to 9 classes (divisions) and I have completed all the lessons as per the schedule. As I am worried about my own children, I take this sessions with full conviction and commitment.
Q : What methodology did you use in communicating the message?
A : I use Colombo Plan modules and teaching methodologies as taught to us in the training programmes. We are four trained teachers by the Colombo Plan in our school and we all follow the same teaching methodology which includes, role plays, group discussions, group works, brain-storming and other innovative strategies. So far, students have well received the PDE sessions.
Q : How active and interested were your students?
A : The Students have shown keen interest in the PDE classes as it was always different from other classes. Students actively participate in PDE classes as it is full of activities, and they like the way the message is communicated. I have noticed that students were showing keen interest in the home works as well. Some of them have found out the relevant verses from the Holy Quran that speak of drug uses as un-Islamic and Haram.
Q : What were the PDE lessons, you were teaching?
A : The topics I taught during this period for grade 7 to 12 covers all lessons, such as harms of drug abuse, communication, decision making, assertiveness, refusal skills, personal skills, stress management etc.
Q : How was the co-operation of your management?
A : School Management have been always supportive. In fact they were asking us to train more teachers on PDE and introduce more sessions. In fact my suggestion also is to train more teachers from each school, so that every student can get the message on drug prevention. Ministry of Education must have a training wing to go around and train more teachers in each school. I feel all the school managements will co-operate with this project as the issue is very alarming.
Q : You have been also a master trainer ? How was your experience in training other teachers?
A : I really enjoyed being a facilitator for training our fellow teachers from different provinces. I have managed sessions like self- esteem, communication, decision making, and assertiveness in the training programmes. I have assisted 6 such training programmes and of late, assisted the workshop on lesson planning for elementary schools. Even being a facilitator also was a learning process for me. I am sure the lessons we learnt from Colombo Plan is fully in use and we are confident on taking this project to thousands of teachers and students.
Q : What are your suggestions to the Colombo Plan and MOE?
A : My earnest desire and suggestion to the Ministry of Education is to integrate the lessons into the science subjects of the curriculum in Afghan schools, as the efforts by the Colombo Plan must not go wasted. Secondly, I would ask Colombo Plan to enhance the programme for more schools and all provinces of the country. I am happy the efforts are on to expand the programme to more than 300 schools in 15 provinces now. As more and more teachers are being trained and students are showing interest, we need more materials like flip charts and training tools. I hope Colombo Plan will make provision for that. PDE is our project and we will not rest until it is taken to every school and student in Afghanistan./*ts