In May 2018, Mahmoud Rezaei, from Herat visited the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature in Iran. Mahmoud Rezaei is a children’s education activists in Afghanistan and responsible for Tawhid Education Institutions in the country. During this visit, he was acquainted with the “Read with Me” project and also purchased the educational materials for literacy improvement program for his students in Herat. On July 4th and 30th, the “Read with Me” trainers held online workshops from thousand miles away from Herat for Tawhid Educational Institutions’ teachers and tutors.
Here is a brief interview with Mr. Mahmoud Rezaei:
Tell us about yourself and your activities.
I am Mahmoud Rezaei, the head of Tawhid Education Institutions in Afghanistan. I hold a master’s degree in Education Management. I started my education activities in Afghanistan since 1994.
Tell us about Tawhid Educational Institutions’ activities in Herat.
Tawhid Institutions started their educational activities in Herat, Afghanistan in 1992. These institutions focused on children’s education, especially girls, during the Taliban era. The organization is a major educational organization in Afghanistan, which was originally a small school with only a few students, but now it has nine schools and four cultural and artistic institutions with 5,000 male and female students and 400 educational and administrative staff.
How did you get acquainted with “Learning Sounds” and “Learning Alphabet” packages?
In 2016, I traveled to Norway to participate in a cultural and literary program hosted by the “Rumi Festival”. I met representatives from the Children’s Book Council from Iran. This was the beginning of my acquaintance with the Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature. Later, on a trip to Tehran, I met Ms. Zohreh Ghaini and her colleagues, and got acquainted closely with the activities of the Institute and the “Read with Me” program.
Following this acquaintance, I learned about “Learning Sounds” and “Learning Alphabet”creative packages and bought a number of them and took them to Herat. Then, through the collaboration with the “Read with Me” group, the online workshops were arranged, which was held in conjunction with these packages for our educators at Tawhid Education Institutions.
What was the education like in Herat for preschoolers previously?
In Afghanistan, there is no syllabus for preschool courses. Tawhid Education Institutions have developed a program aimed at preparing children to enter the elementary school by studying various educational programs and educators’ experiences. After knowing about “Read with Me”, we found that the program can help children’s in learning and it also develops the reading culture.
What is your idea about online “Learning Sounds” and “Learning Alphabet” workshops?
They were perfect. They were a great experience for our educators. They welcomed it and they believe that they can be better at educating children now on.
What is your future plan?
We want to further expand the “Read with Me” program at our institute in the next year. And of course first of all, we need to find a way to monitor the implementation of the program.
“Read with Me” in Afghanistan
The “Read with Me” program has been accompanied by children in Afghanistan before. This program was implemented for 15 pre and primary school educators in Mazar-e-Sharif in October 2016 and covered 400 children in partnership with the Afghan Children’s Fund.