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Learning by Ear

A popular program in Africa and Afghanistan, Learning by Ear comes to Pakistan and delivers inspiring, educational and entertaining sketches that deal with family life, education and equal rights, to name a few.

After the great success of Learning by Ear in Africa, Deutsche Welle (DW) launched an educational radio program – supported by funding from the German Federal Foreign Office for Afghanistan in April 2009. This program too has proved very popular. For this reason Deutsche Welle has now created two series of programs for Pakistan in Urdu and Pashto focusing on the importance of education for all young people and opportunities for women and girls according to the motto "Today's Children Are Tomorrow's Future" with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.

Learning by Ear Pakistan is a bilingual, interactive distance learning program available by radio and internet in both Urdu and Pashto. With these programs Deutsche Welle wants to help radio stations in Pakistan meet the demand for entertaining drama and at the same time expand the horizons of the younger generation and support their development and independence in a globalized society.

There are two series and both are in radio soap format. Each series is devoted to a particular topic: The first shows that education is the key to improving the position of young people in society. The second one focuses on the role of women and girls in Pakistan and how – if given the opportunity – they can make a much greater contribution to society. Each series comprises five episodes of ten minutes in length. The series will be broadcast by FM stations throughout Pakistan and will also be aired by Deutsche Welle.

By launching Learning by Ear in Urdu and Pashto in Pakistan Deutsche Welle believes it is making an active contribution to public awareness of the importance of education for the future of society. The informative programs are lively and entertaining and help young people expand their horizons. At the same time they pass on important knowledge to the audience. They are simply fun to listen to!

The Project and the target group

Boys listen to a radio

Listen up!

Most people in Pakistan are under the age of 30. Nonetheless the younger generation often finds it difficult to make itself heard as older people tend to dominate public debate. Moreover the political developments in the areas bordering on Afghanistan have in last thirty years prevented many young people from having regular access to schooling. They have thus been deprived of their chance of an education. Girls in particular have often been excluded from the education system.

For this reason Learning by Ear Pakistan is designed primarily with these target groups in mind: boys and young men as well as girls and young women. After all education is a prerequisite for development. A good education means better job opportunities, access to learning through the media and the chance to play a fuller role in society. The main topics of the soaps have been chosen with this in mind.

Their message is one of tolerance and understanding in a society with many different cultures and traditions. The two drama series put across the advantages that can be had from having a good education and explain how education or a lack of it can determine a young person's path through life. The episodes are in soap format and designed to fit in with the every day of young Pakistanis. They are not overburdened by the problems of every day life although these problems are naturally addressed.
Listeners can submit their questions about the program via SMS, email or telephone.

Series one: The importance of getting an education

Pakistani schoolboys wear uniforms

Series one highlights the importance of getting an education

The first series is a five-episode drama focusing on the importance of education and how it can change lives. It highlights the differing views of two brothers about education and whether their children would benefit from going to school. One of the brothers makes sure that his son gets a good education because he is sure this will help him. The son responds positively and resists all attempts by his uncle to stop his education. The uncle thinks that education is a waste of time and makes his own son work in his business. He does not send him to school so the boy learns nothing at all. Soon he falls in with the wrong people and becomes a drug addict. When the security situation in the area worsens further the business is destroyed in a bomb blast carried out by militants and the family finds itself totally dependent on government support. The uncle falls ill and the whole family find themselves put in a camp for Internally Displaced People. His brother's family helps out. But is it too late? Can the son manage to break with drugs? Will he find a way to educate himself so that he can start his own business and secure his and his family's future? If you would like to find out, listen to Learning by Ear Pakistan.

Series two: Women as the motor of development

A girl in a classroom

Series two discusses women and girls as the motor of development

The focal point of the second series about women as the motor for development relates the attempt of a female school teacher to get a school built in her village. She wants her daughter to have an education. But the headman of the village is against the plan. He is fiercely opposed to education being promoted in his village because he considers it a threat. The school teacher's daughter is a hard-working, ambitious girl who has a strong desire to learn all she can. She wants to become a doctor. Most of the children in the village are eager to acquire education too but, having no school in the village, they have to go to the nearby city for their education. The village headman tries to prevent this by scaring the children. The school teacher is very determined and refuses to give up her plan to have a school built. Eventually – with the help of a non-governmental aid group - a school is built. But because it is so successful the headman has it blown up and forces the school teacher and her family to leave the village. Ten years later the village headman meets the teacher's daughter under unexpected circumstances and with an unexpected outcome! If you would like to find out how the series ends, listen to Learning by Ear Pakistan!

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