The film follows five British schoolteachers from Birmingham, England in their journey to Pakistan as part of a British Council Pakistan project, commonly known as Connecting Classrooms. The plethora of inter-cultural dialogue that ensues as the two cultures disclose both tradition and practice under the umbrella of education, transforms a simple visit to Bhit Shah, Sindh into a mutually beneficent exchange.
Cast: Rebecca Bailey, Kamal Hanif, Ian Healey, Heather Hepworth and Sheila Holden
Rebecca Bailey is a schoolteacher at the Hill West Primary School. Kamal Hanif and Ian Healey are the Head and Assistant Head teachers respectively at the Waverley School, West Midlands. Heather Hepworth and Sheila Holden are Assistant Head and Deputy Head teachers respectively at the Calthorpe Special School.
The film records the experiences and the change in perception of these five schoolteachers that have come to Pakistan as part of Connecting Classrooms – a British Council Pakistan project that facilitates inter-cultural dialogue, and especially, an understanding of the different teaching styles employed in the UK and that of other countries.
Not knowing what to expect, the British schoolteachers are at first most excited about learning from and working with each other, as under no other circumstances would the three schools be able to come together and exchange ideas. Finding the same hustle bustle at 4 in the morning at the Jinnah International Airport as the plane lands in Karachi that they would at 8 pm in Birmingham kick-starts the series of experiences and discoveries that this documentary explores. The traditions and customs of Sindh serve as the contextual framework to what they learn about education in Pakistan, how they interact with its peoples, and the many ways in which they embrace its culture.
Following an introductory meeting with the Office of District Government Matiari, the British schoolteachers visit several public schools in the vicinity, including one for children with mental disabilities. They discover that teaching styles are more direct in Pakistan, with an ‘I talk, you listen’ approach as opposed to ‘let us do it together’ that is used in the UK. One look at the children’s report cards, however, ascertains the effectiveness of this approach in the results that appear to be just as good. An emphasis on discipline surfaces as a common feature in all the individual opinions expressed, when inquired about the school visits.
“There is greater substance in this film than just a cultural exchange. When Brummies Met Sindhis taps into the human being’s ability to connect with another human being, irrespective of race, creed, religion, profession, or location even.” – New York Times