Green Living Pakistan

A Journey from Ordinary to Inclusive Education

Previously, our educational system focused on a narrow range of children’s cognitive development, with an emphasis on imparting content knowledge, often to be memorized and repeated as it was received. Lessons in math, science and reading – and tests in those skills – dominated the curriculum.

Recently, we experienced a development in our education system, bringing an international curriculum and examination system that is connected across the world with its global recognition. The Cambridge based curriculum is comprehensive as it is prepared as per the needs of modern times by international educationists in order to enhance students’ hidden abilities. However, only the curricular discipline does not offer the development of an integral, connected and patriotic personality.

Children need to be exposed to more inclusive education in order to grow and learn in their relationships, identity, emotional understanding and responsibility as proud Pakistanis. After all, children are multidimensional “whole” beings whose development is complex and just focusing on developing them as more skilled personalities to earn maximum capital selfishly undermines their hidden potential to become more interactive, responsible and patriotic personalities.

Inclusive education is based on a blend of curricular and extracurricular wisdom that nurtures a human ideal of enrichment in our material lives so that we can have seemingly successful and good lives, but barely contribute to the core values that build the kinds of communities that benefit us all. These values are social care, responsibility and patriotism achieved through responsible living.

Now, in the way we educate, we learn the skills, abilities and knowledge that are needed to increase our ability to do things successfully, which also increases our ability to live a successful life governed by the ideal of technological and material progress. We need these skills in a practical way to live and benefit our families and entire nation; problems arise when we acquire these skills only in a drive to achieve personal recognition and individual success.

The emphasis on merely personal development through academic education has a very limited impact on the growth of a whole personality. It promotes competition, the opposite of egalitarian collaboration, and it also promotes close group identity, such as class distinction, the opposite of connectedness and responsibility as patriotic citizens. While in today’s classroom, lessons may preach tolerance and civic spirit, the actual way in which daily life goes on does not promote an equal sense of responsibility for all. Understanding in academic classes remains superficial and purely intellectual if it is not practiced through mutual participation in extracurricular activities based on inclusive education. Students need to deepen and imprint this understanding with their learning and practical implementation to achieve social harmony, responsibility, patriotism and environmental conservation.

Inclusive Education to Nurture Life

Inclusive education is not just about what we study in schools and universities. Education is also not just about increasing your position and your pay scale. True education consists in developing knowledge and wisdom to nurture national responsibility besides economic growth.

Our traditional academic education is familiar with theories and skills. However, we have insufficient information about the practical application of these principles and skills. While we all know the importance and breadth of national responsibility and challenges, we cannot adequately apply our educational knowledge to the practical life. A person who does not acquire enough knowledge about himself and his inner vocation/passion will not be able to approach the education that is really suitable for him and will not be able to connect his thinking with his fellow countrymen.

Inclusive education plays a very important role in all aspects of our lives. A person who understands the practical applicability of education is successful in his life. Being a student, just shredding textual things and getting good grades is not important. The important thing is to understand how this will make our life beautiful for us and for our nation. That’s why an educated mind and a good heart combine to create revolutionary changes in society.

Real education is focused on the development of a “whole child”. Recent research in neuroscience, developmental and learning sciences, education, sociology and many other fields confirm that a “whole child” approach is not only desirable, but necessary to ensure that children learn well. According to two comprehensive science reviews of children’s development and learning:[1]

  • Brain development is shaped by consistent and supportive relationships; responsive communications; and modeling productive behaviors. The brain’s capacity develops most fully when children and young people feel emotionally and physically safe; and when they feel connected, engaged and challenged.
  • Learning has social, emotional and academic dimensions. Positive relationships, including trust in the teacher, and positive emotions, such as interest and excitement, open the mind to learning. Negative emotions such as fear of failure, anxiety, and self-doubt reduce the brain’s ability to process information and learn. Children can develop skills and awareness to work with emotions in themselves and in their relationships.

GLP in delivering Modern Inclusive Education through Extra-Curricular Activities

According to modern research on personality development, students need to get an inclusive education that connects them with society and gives them the ability to think as part of the whole fabric of nature and entire society. As part of the global system of inclusive education and a partner of the United Nations Environment Programme, Green Living Association and its sister organization Green Living Pakistan (GLP) synthesized these scientific findings to identify how to incorporate inclusive education into our research based creative activities focused on educating the whole family about patriotism and national responsibility.

Green Living Pakistan (GLP) is the sister organization of Green Living Association (GLA), which is a non-governmental, non-profit and not-for-funding (self-relined) organization working to expand Inclusive Education. We organize creative and research-based activities for school students and their families to develop them into patriotic, responsible and environment friendly citizens.

The focus of our campaigns and activities is to inspire the inner human potential to efficiently contribute to make a responsible, patriotic and environment-friendly Pakistani society. Green Living Pakistan offers modern inclusive education on subjects of patriotism, kindness and environmental conservation, especially for school students and, in general, for all segments of society, organizing innovative, colorful and interactive activities. Our campaigns and activities aim at inspiring every member of society to contribute their part in the process of bringing social harmony, patriotism and environmentally friendly living in the society.

We give each Green Ambassador (student participating in the activity) the status of a winner, offering at least one recognition. Participants are encouraged to bring worksheets home to work in association with their families to learn in groups and win lucrative prizes such as field trips, cash prizes, laptops, gold, silver and bronze medals and Green Ambassador Insignias.

How to implement meaningful, unifying and instructional Green Living practices to develop students into complete personalities

In focus groups and interviews with high school dropouts in 25 urban, suburban and rural communities, nearly half (47 percent) said the main reason for dropping out was that classroom education was not interesting. These young people reported being bored and disconnected from high school. Even among those who stayed in school, 81% said there should be more opportunities for interactive study and real-world learning[2].

Students crave opportunities to learn things that matter and are relevant to their lives. Extracurricular activities focused on inclusive education help students grow in their understanding when they build on students’ prior experience and learning scaffolding, meeting them where they are. For example, teachers can connect subjects in the Green Living guidebooks to common tasks that students are involved in to use that knowledge, such as in workshops, artwork, sports, and other settings. Or they could connect a story unit on environmental degradation to modern issues like climate change, global warming or rising violence in the society.

When skillfully combined with direct instruction, inquiry-based learning driven by students’ interests boosts their motivation and develops real-world skills. In a high school class, for example, students decided to study how environmental pollution affects the ocean and then created a campaign to reduce waste and litter and increase recycling at their school. These projects teach valuable collaboration, problem-solving, and organizing skills and have a tangible impact.

Assessments that include appreciation and opportunities to do additional study help students learn how to acquire and encourage an intrinsic desire to understand the material and challenge themselves beyond just grading. This type of “mastery-oriented approach” is associated with more meaningful learning. For example, worksheet questions cultivate student inquiry and review skills through hands-on projects – which give students the opportunity to learn in depth about an issue that is important to them and often work to create change in their own lives in a community. These projects are generally reviewed to meet a high standard of investigation and developed by expert panels and the seasoned affiliates.

Far from being boring, effective instructional strategies connect learning to students’ families, friends and teachers and empower them to use their knowledge for the benefit of themselves and others. Green Living Pakistan (GLP) developed a creative idea of involving the whole family in the process of achieving inclusive education, which has become the most successful way to educate the elders through children. Participation gives participants the opportunity to learn about social responsibility, learning about relation with our beloved homeland and contributing positively in practical life. Developing this sense of responsibility encourages us to save our societies and environment for the wider benefits of the entire nation. Since winners are made based on group activity; therefore, winners may be those who are unlikely to win a prize in formal school education.

A prominent research-based feature of GLP educational activities is the ‘association’ by which each student must associate with their 4-5 family members and work collectively with them on the given educational tasks. This research-based creative method has proven highly successful in saving students’ academic time and, along with other innovative features, has helped the GLP to be one of the most influential organizations delivering inclusive education.

Achievements

Green Living Pakistan in collaboration with Green Living Association is successfully striving to develop a patriotic and environment-friendly society. Our hands-on educational campaigns have facilitated hundreds of thousands of students and their families to bring patriotic and environment-friendly developments into their lives. Under its research-based activities imparting inclusive education, Green Living Pakistan (GLP) is successfully contributing towards achieving its inclusive education goals in Pakistan.

GLP is successfully achieving the defined objectives of Inclusive Education with the active and sincere participation of the Green Partner Schools in our green projects and activities. We should be proud of our achievements in providing environmental education and bringing national solidarity to date and the dedication goes to our partner green schools and their heads for their commendable spirit in developing a responsible, patriotic and environment-friendly Pakistani nation

Under a methodical plan of action, the GLP and GLA successfully achieved the objectives of their three five-yearly campaigns – ‘Kids’ Action to Restore the Environment’ (KARE 2007-11), ‘Collective Action to Restore Environment’ (CARE 2012 -16) and ‘Collective Action to Address Climate Change’ (CATCH 2107-21). The upcoming “My Green Homeland” activity is part of our fourth five-yearly “My Green Vision” campaign, which is proving to be highly successful in achieving our planned educational goals.

During our previous ‘CATCH’ practical campaign, Green Living successfully achieved its goal of increasing the number of associated Green Families from around 200,000 in 2021 to over 250,000 in the first quarter of 2023. Our next goal is to extend the group of Green Families in Pakistan from 250,000 to 400,000 by the first quarter of 2024.

My Green Homeland – the Forthcoming Activity

Green Living Pakistanis going to organize this year’s highly innovative and results-oriented activity ‘My Green Homeland’ in September, with the aim of motivating participants to contribute their part to bring about positive and environment-friendly developments in our respective communities, making our beloved homeland greener and sustainable. This will be an excellent opportunity for students and their families to get involved in the process of achieving inclusive education as an alternative to the negative and harmful activities present in society that spoil our youngsters.

In addition to regular features such as exclusive prizes and recognition for students, this time we are offering special participation packages for campuses and exclusive recognition for campus administrators, especially activity heads and coordinators with opportunities to become GLA Green Ambassadors to learn and contribute more in delivering inclusive education and earning nationwide recognition.

We are proud of our mutual green partnership and look forward to keeping it alive by bringing inclusive education to our society.

[1]Drivers of human development: How relationships and context shape learning and development

David Osher,Pamela Cantor,Juliette Berg,Lily Steyer&Todd Rose, Pages 6-36 | Published online: 24 Jan 2018

[2]Drivers of human development: How relationships and context shape learning and development1

David Osher,Pamela Cantor,Juliette Berg,Lily Steyer&Todd Rose, Pages 6-36 | Published online: 24 Jan 2018