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21 December 2023

Schools2030 educator spent time getting to know her students, she was surprised by what she learnt

Bibi Tawoos’ experience of attending school, led her to want to help students with their holistic development.


Bibi Tawoos has been a teacher for 11 years, and currently works at a government girls’ primary school in Pakistan. She notes how her own teachers growing up inspired her, due to them holistically supporting her alongside her academic studies. 



“One of my favourite things about teaching is seeing the enthusiasm of the kids when they understand something – this makes them want to learn more from me.”


- Bibi Tawoos, Teacher at a Government Girls Primary School in Shitmerg Chipursan



Bibi Tawoos found that her students' home lives and environment were having a large impact on their education. They live in a remote area with harsh winters, and students often have poor living conditions, resulting in hard home lives and declining educational attainment. This led her to initially focus on working with students on hygiene education, as she saw it as a way of improving their wellbeing. 

Through her work with Schools2030, Bibi Tawoos learnt about the Human-Centred Design (HCD) process – a process where people create solutions through experimentation and that address the needs of the people they're intended for. Bibi began by working with one class, and in particular, one student who faced regular bullying. She worked with his parents and teacher, looking at how they could work together to ensure the student attended school in a clean uniform and in good hygiene. She used what she learnt to work with students at a grass-roots level, learning about their home environment and well being. She found that the HCD process was useful, as it led her to gain insight into her students' lives and led her to consider their holistic wellbeing. She believes that the HCD process and innovation in schools allows teachers to be creative and try out new ideas to help students. 


Bibi Tawoos’ innovation process began by attending a session with mothers run by a local health worker on the importance of hygiene. She then created a checklist of cleanliness for parents to complete on a daily basis, with Bibi also checking on her students well being within school. Home visits were conducted to observe the home environment and general cleanliness, and she ran sessions on a monthly basis for students and teachers on the value of good hygiene.

“The experiences of these children have a direct impact on their learning, confidence and behaviour, so it is important to understand their situations.”


- Bibi Tawoos, Teacher at a Government Girls Primary School in Shitmerg Chipursan


Bibi Tawoos highlighted how this was the first time she had explored non-academic areas with her students, bridging the gap between students, teachers and parents. She found that speaking with her students meant they were more connected and attached to her, and she noticed a marked change in their hygiene practices. These relationships also extended to her students' families, who appreciated the support provided and has led to an improvement in their overall familial wellbeing. Bibi Tawoos then began taking the time to regularly meet with the families and friends of her students, to discuss both academic and non-academic matters. She found that their trust in schools has increased, and they respect her profession more. This demonstrates the value in taking an innovative approach to education, and how trust plays a vital part in the success of educational initiatives. 


Bibi Tawoos’ work did however quickly highlight the socio-economic situation of her students, and how this was creating a barrier to the success of her work with students and families. They lacked access to hygiene products and the financial resources to purchase basic necessities such as soap and toothpaste. This led her to encourage the families she worked with to accept financial assistance from a local NGO.


Bibi Tawoos believes that a successful education initiative is one that is sustainable. She notes that change is slow and process-orientated, it needs patience and continuous effort. Motivating students and their families is not an easy task, as they need continuous support, however, that remaining motivated herself, means she can motivate students and families to work with her. She notes that in order for teachers to have the freedom to innovate, their school environment needs to be open to change and support teachers to try new things. For Bibi Tawoos, trust is a key factor in achieving this environment. 


Find out more about Bibi’s work here.