Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pak Girl's Journey: Karachi Slum to Harvard Business School

Anum Fatima, a resident of Ibrahim Goth slum located near Karachi's Steel Town, is making history; she is going to Harvard  Business School this summer as part of a student exchange program.

Anum's father is employed as a driver and her mother works as a maid. The slum school she attended is run by The Citizen's Foundation (TCF), a private foundation. From 5 schools in Karachi in 1995, TCF has expanded to 910 purpose-built schools with 126,000 students in 97 towns and cities across Pakistan.

Institute of Business Management (IoBM) Karachi


After graduating from the TCF school located near her slum, Fatima has completed her BBA in Human Resource. She is currently attending College of Business Management (CBM) of  the Institute of Business Management (IoBM), a private Business School in Karachi.


Anum is breaking many stereotypes about Pakistani women, particularly poor women, by studying business management at top business schools in Pakistan and the United States. She told a news reporter that when she broke the news to her father, he did not know what Harvard was. “When he went to work that day, he asked his boss, who told him what a tremendous achievement it was,” she said.

Although it's the first time that a TCF grad is going to Harvard, the Foundation schools have had many success stories of its graduates from poor families who have gone on to attend professional schools to become doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers and business executives.

In spite of its many failings in adequately funding human development, Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India over the last two decades. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future.

New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise described the rise of Pakistan's middle class in a story from Pakistani town of Muzaffargarh in the following words:

For years, feudal lords reigned supreme, serving as the police, the judge and the political leader. Plantations had jails, and political seats were practically owned by families.

Instead of midwifing democracy, these aristocrats obstructed it, ignoring the needs of rural Pakistanis, half of whom are still landless and desperately poor more than 60 years after Pakistan became a state.

But changes began to erode the aristocrats’ power.
Cities sprouted, with jobs in construction and industry. Large-scale farms eclipsed old-fashioned plantations. Vast hereditary lands splintered among generations of sons, and many aristocratic families left the country for cities, living beyond their means off sales of their remaining lands. Mobile labor has also reduced dependence on aristocratic families.

In Punjab, the country’s most populous province, and its most economically advanced, the number of national lawmakers from feudal families shrank to 25 percent in 2008 from 42 percent in 1970, according to a count conducted by Mubashir Hassan, a former finance minister, and The New York Times.

“Feudals are a dying breed,” said S. Akbar Zaidi, a Karachi-based fellow with the Carnegie Foundation. “They have no power outside the walls of their castles.”


GeoTV is illustrating  this welcome phenomenon of upward social mobility in Pakistan with a series of motivational "Zara  Sochiey" videos on young men and women who have risen from humble origins to achieve significant successes in recent years. Each individual portrayed in the series has overcome adversity and  focused on acquiring education as a ticket to improve his or her economic and social situation.

GeoTV videos feature a number of young men and women, including Saima Bilal, Kashif Faiq,  Qaisar Abbas and many others, to inspire and encourage other Pakistanis to pursue their dreams against all odds.

Contrary to the incessant talk of doom and gloom, the fact is that the level of educational attainment has been rising in recent decades.  In fact, Pakistan has been increasing enrollment of students in schools at a faster rate since 1990 than India, according to data compiled and reported by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jhong-Wa Lee . In 1990, there were 66.2% of Pakistanis vs 51.6% of Indians in 15+ age group who had had no schooling. In 2000, there were 60.2% Pakistanis vs 43% Indians with no schooling. In 2010, Pakistan reduced it to 38% vs India's 32.7%.
 

As of 2010, there are 380 (vs 327 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis age 15 and above who have never had any formal schooling. Of the remaining 620 (vs 673 Indians) who enrolled in school, 22 (vs 20 Indians) dropped out before finishing primary school, and the remaining 598 (vs 653 Indians) completed it. There are 401 (vs 465 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis who made it to secondary school. 290 (vs 69 Indians) completed secondary school  while 111 (vs. 394 Indians) dropped out. Only 55 (vs 58 Indians)  made it to college out of which 39 (vs 31 Indians) graduated with a degree.



Education and development efforts  are beginning to bear fruit even in remote areas of Pakistan, including Federally Administered Tribal AreasThe Guardian newspaper recently reported that FATA's Bajaur agency alone has 616 school with over 60,000 boys and girls receiving take-home rations. Two new university campuses have been approved for FATA region and thousands of kilometers of new roads are being constructed. After a recent visit to FATA, Indian journalist Hindol Sengupta wrote in The Hindu newspaper that "even Bajaur has a higher road density than India"

 Prior to significant boost in public spending on education during Musharraf years, the number of private schools in Pakistan grew 10 fold from about 3000 in 1983 to over 30,000 in 2000. Primary school enrollment in 1983 has increased 937%, far greater than the 57% population increase in the last two decades.

With current public education funding at just 2% of GDP, the Pakistani government is clearly abdicating its responsibility of educating poor children. Fortunately, there are a number of highly committed individuals and organizations like The Citizens Foundation (TCF) and the Human Development Foundation (HDF) which are very active in raising funds and building and operating schools to improve the situation in Pakistan. It is important that all of us who care for the future of Pakistan should generously help these and similar other organizations.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Must Fix Primary Education

Pakistan Human Development Since 1980s

Working Women in Pakistan

Pakistan's Out-of-School Children 

Pakistan's Human Capital

Status of Women in Pakistan

Upwardly Mobile Pakistan

Teach For Pakistan

Business Education in Pakistan

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

19 comments:

Mike Z. said...

A Spirit elevating news, thanks for sharing it Riaz Haq Sahib.

Faraz said...

This is something to be proud of because
1. Anum Fatima.

2. TCF that provided her platform

Idiot religious extremists and corrupt leaders are barrier/cancer in the growth of Pakistan but Anum Fatima and TCF are real assets of Pakistan.

Ram said...

even as an Indian I feel that this is a spirit elevating news which shows human endeavor has no limits.

Now let us hope pakistan's superior school enrolling translates into Pakistan growing a knowledge based economy to compete with India, or a manufacturing industry to compete with India. Otherwise what is the use of education.

Zaheer said...

Riaz,
This is a tremendous achievement. Thanks for consistently reminding us of the many positive things that happen in Pakistan. Your observations are really welcome, backed as they are by statistics and actual data.

Imran Qureshi said...

Last month I had the opportunity to visit a TCF school in Karachi. Although its located along the banks of a Sewage river, the students, teachers and the staff were no less motivated than any other school in the world. The day I visited the school, a local company was conducting a entrepreneurial seminar. When we visited the classroom, the excitement was obviously about winning the first position but the 6 teams were more interested telling us about their ideas and why their idea should be the winner. The enthusiasm and confidence was really something to witness. The winning team would have easily competed at any global stage. Considering where these students come from, the things they are doing can easily be compared to a private school in Karachi. Obviously there are challenges but with ample exposure these children can do wonders just like what Anum did.

Please continue to support the TCF schools and build the next generation of Pakistan …

Roy said...

Whats the connection between the girl getting a scholarship and rising middle class?

Riaz Haq said...

Roy: "Whats the connection between the girl getting a scholarship and rising middle class?"

I guess it's too hard for you to understand that education is the ticket for the poor slum dwellers to move up to the middle class.

There are many benefits of rural to urban migration for migrants' lives, including reduction in abject poverty, empowerment of women, increased access to healthcare and education and other services. Historically, cities have been driving forces in economic and social development. As centers of industry and commerce, cities have long been centers of wealth and power. They also account for a disproportionate share of national income. The World Bank estimates that in the developing world, as much as 80 percent of future economic growth will occur in towns and cities. Nor are the benefits of urbanization solely economic. Urbanization is associated with higher incomes, improved health, higher literacy, and improved quality of life. Other benefits of urban life are less tangible but no less real: access to information, diversity, creativity, and innovation.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/09/south-asian-slums-offer-hope.html

Aamir Malik said...

Mr. Haq
Frankly I did not know about the progress these institutions are making in Pakistan. Because the usual news from Pakistan is negative. Thank you for putting a professional report together.
But I don't think we should compare our self with India, due to a major difference in the social structure. Pakistan is a nation in building, while they are a little over bloated with their size.

Hamid said...

In a country of 180+ million there is should be no resting easy because one girl made it. There are countless millions who do not get even 10% of opportunity that this wonderful child got.

Good news is great but let us not get blinded by it and ignore poor children suffering due to poor governance violence and militancy!!

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on Pak-Turk school students placing second in an international contest:

Two students from Islamabad have bagged silver medal in the world finals of the International Computer Projects Competition held recently in Romania by giving solution to end loadshedding and resolve issue of energy theft.

Shahbaz Khattak and Abdul Muizz Lodhi of PakTurk School Islamabad have designed a GSM-based Automatic Meter Reader (AMR) which was presented in the Infomatrix Romania where their project won silver medal in the category of Hardware Control.

AMR can collect consumption data from power, gas and water meters without involvement of meter readers. It transmits data to central database of service providing company for billing, troubleshooting, and analysis.

AMR saves utility providers the expense of visiting every location to read a meter, its billing is based on actual consumption rather than estimates, past or predicted consumption.

Moreover timely information can help utility providers and customers’ better control usage and production.

It provides accurate data, track usage, improve energy management, detect tempering and cut operational costs by discouraging wastage to boost profit. It can be used for security and fire alarm systems.

Khattak and Lodhi said that metre reading will no more remain a time consuming and labour intensive manual process if gas, power and water utilities employ ARM which will also settle the issues of complaints by consumers and increasing energy theft presently estimated at Rs250 billion annually.

Also, some modification can enable power companies to switch off air conditioners and other home appliances drawing extreme amounts of energy remotely which will end the need of loadshedding in Pakistan where over 5000MW is consumed by A/Cs in summer, the students said.

Commenting on the development PakTurk officials Kamil Ture and Turgut Puyan said that participation in global competitions and winning prizes has become a regular feature for Pakistani students which reflect their talent.

Educational institutions should encourage young to apply their imagination, passion, and creativity to make a difference.

The competitions are not just about promoting professional excellence; it also serves to promote intercultural dialogue and cooperation, said Ture.

Hundreds of students from many countries including United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Russian Federation, Macedonia, Belgium, Romania, Poland, Hong Kong, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Vietnam, Hungary, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ecuador, Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Laos, Colombia, Kenya, Albania, Iraq, and Malaysia participated in the event and presented projects covering a wide variety of topics.


http://dawn.com/2013/05/29/pak-students-find-new-solution-to-end-loadshedding/

TCF-USA Silicon Valley said...

It gives us great pride to share with you the success of two former TCF students who have received scholarships to attend premier universities in the US this year.

Anum Fatima completed her matriculation studies at the TCF school in Yousuf Goth. Her stellar results at the intermediate level led to admission at the College of Business Management where she completed her BBA degree in. She secured admission to the MBA program at the Institute of Business Management (IoBM). She was then accepted to the 2013 US Sisters Summer Exchange Program supported by the US Pakistan Women's Council, whereby she has received a scholarship to attend the Harvard Business School during the summer semester. Anum hails from humble origins and is the eldest of five siblings. Her father works as a chauffeur, earning a modest salary of $100 a month.

Nadeem Hussain joined the TCF school at Ibrahim Goth in the 4th grade. When it came time for his matriculation exam, Nadeem was the highest scorer among the regional TCF schools. Nadeem gained admission at the Institute of Business Administration, one of the leading universities in Pakistan, through the competitive National Talent Hunt Program. He is currently in the 3rd year of his Bachelors in Computer Science degree and has been selected for the "Study of the United States Institute for Student Leaders on Comparative Public Policy - 2013 Program" (USEFP). He will attend the program at the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute Civic Initiative in Amherst, Massachusetts. Nadeem's father works at a factory producing wires and earns a nominal wage of between $150 to $200 every month. He is the second of 5 siblings, all of whom have completed their matriculate from TCF.

For a typical TCF student who comes from an economically challenged background, to be able to attend a premier university in the US is nothing short of a miracle. It is the care and support of people like you that makes such miracles possible.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report on a newly-inducted female fighter pilot in Pak Air Force:

With an olive green head scarf poking out from her helmet, Ayesha Farooq flashes a cheeky grin when asked if it is lonely being the only war-ready female fighter pilot in the Islamic republic of Pakistan.

Farooq, from Punjab province's historic city of Bahawalpur, is one of 19 women who have become pilots in the Pakistan Air Force over the last decade - there are five other female fighter pilots, but they have yet to take the final tests to qualify for combat.

"I don't feel any different. We do the same activities, the same precision bombing," the soft-spoken 26-year-old said of her male colleagues at Mushaf base in north Pakistan, where neatly piled warheads sit in sweltering 50 degree Celsius heat (122 F).

A growing number of women have joined Pakistan's defence forces in recent years as attitudes towards women change.

"Because of terrorism and our geographical location it's very important that we stay on our toes," said Farooq, referring to Taliban militancy and a sharp rise in sectarian violence.

Deteriorating security in neighbouring Afghanistan, where U.S.-led troops are preparing to leave by the end of next year, and an uneasy relationship with arch rival India to the east add to the mix.

Farooq, whose slim frame offers a study in contrast with her burly male colleagues, was at loggerheads with her widowed and uneducated mother seven years ago when she said she wanted to join the air force.

"In our society most girls don't even think about doing such things as flying an aircraft," she said.

Family pressure against the traditionally male domain of the armed forces dissuaded other women from taking the next step to become combat ready, air force officials said. They fly slower aircraft instead, ferrying troops and equipment around the nuclear-armed country of 180 million.

"LESS OF A TABOO"

Centuries-old rule in the tribal belt area along the border with Afghanistan, where rape, mutilation and the killing of women are ordered to mete out justice, underlines conservative Pakistan's failures in protecting women's rights.

But women are becoming more aware of those rights and signing up with the air force is about as empowering as it gets.

"More and more ladies are joining now," said Nasim Abbas, Wing Commander of Squadron 20, made up of 25 pilots, including Farooq, who fly Chinese-made F-7PG fighter jets....


http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/06/12/pakistan-airforce-women-idINDEE95B0GZ20130612

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Atlantic Magazine story on Pakistanis taking MOOCs at MIT:

It's more than 11,000 kilometers from Shakargarh, a city in northeastern Pakistan, to the venerated halls of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the top universities in the United States.

Twenty-five-year-old Khalid Raza lives in Shakargarh but is taking "The Challenges of Global Poverty," a course taught by a former adviser to the World Bank and a professor of international economics at MIT.

Recently, while on the bus, he pulled out his laptop and submitted one of his first assignments.

"It was an amazing experience when I was submitting my assignment," he said. "I was traveling and my friend was sitting with me. When I submitted my assignment, after some time he asked me a question, 'What are you doing?' So I told him the whole story, that I am taking a course from the U.S.A. He was so surprised and shocked."

The experience -- something Raza says he never thought would be possible -- doesn't cost him a single rupee. All he needed was the interest and an Internet connection to reserve his seat in a virtual MIT classroom.

Raza is one of the several million learners worldwide to have discovered "massive open online courses," or MOOCs. While a number of universities attempted to introduce free online courses in the early 2000s, MOOCs have only begun to catch fire in the last year. Today, the silly-sounding acronym has become a buzz word, and is one of the hottest topics in education.

A group of U.S. education technology startups, in partnership with dozens of top U.S. universities, now offers MOOCs on everything from poetry to physics. Course platforms feature lecture videos, other multimedia content, embedded quizzes, discussion boards, and online study groups. Essays and other projects less suited to automated grading are reviewed by classmates based on rubrics. Interaction with professors and teaching assistants is rare. Completing a course earns you a certificate, and several U.S. schools have begun to accept MOOCs for credit.

The startups' founders say their goals are at once practical and humanistic -- an effort to overcome rising education costs and a shortage of resources and make top-quality learning accessible to the masses.

Anant Agarwal, an MIT professor, is the president of edX, a nonprofit collaboration between his university and Harvard University that currently offers more than 60 MOOCs.

He believes his and similar projects are nothing short of transformative.

"I think education is not going to be the same ever again," Agarwal says. "I really describe this technology and MOOCs as the biggest revolution in education since the printing press -- and that happened 500 years ago."...


http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/07/what-happens-when-people-in-pakistan-start-taking-mit-classes/277580/

Riaz Haq said...

Malala inspires girls school enrollment surge in KP, reports Bloomberg:

MINGORA, Pakistan — The Pakistani Taliban's attempts to deter girls from seeking an education, epitomized by the shooting of 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai in the face last year, are backfiring as school enrollments surge in her home region.

While Yousafzai missed out last week on the Nobel Peace Prize, her plight is helping change attitudes in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, which lies at the center of a Taliban insurgency. The four-month-old provincial government boosted education spending by about 30 percent and began an enrollment drive that has added 200,000 children, including 75,000 girls.

Yousafzai's story "is certainly helping us to promote education in the tribal belt," Muhammad Atif Khan, the province's education minister, said by phone. "Education is a matter of death and life. We can't solve terrorism issues without educating people."

Taliban militants targeted Yousafzai in retaliation over her campaign for girls to be given equal rights to schooling in a country where only 40 percent of adult women can read and write. Though the Nobel award went to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Yousafzai was showered with accolades in a week in which she published her memoir: she won the European Union's top human rights prize and met President Barack Obama at the Oval Office.

The shooting occurred a year ago as Yousafzai traveled home on a school bus in Mingora, a trading hub of 1.8 million people where a majority of women still cover their faces and girls aren't comfortable answering questions from reporters. The bullet struck above her left eye, grazing her brain. She was flown for emergency surgery to Britain, where she lives today.

The increased media attention on Swat since the shooting is pressuring government officials to improve educational standards and encouraging locals to send their kids to school.

Three days ago in Mingora, as local channels flashed the news that Yousafzai didn't win the peace prize, high school student Shehzad Qamar credited her for prompting the government to build more institutions of higher learning.

"She has done what we couldn't have achieved in 100 years," Qamar said. "She gave this town an identity."..
------------
"Taliban wanted to silence me," Yousafzai said in an interview with the BBC last week. "Malala was heard only in Pakistan, but now she is heard at the every corner of the world."

Sadiqa Ameen, a 15-year-old school girl in Swat, said she wanted to read Yousafzai's book, titled "I am Malala." The Pakistani Taliban, or Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, has threatened to kill Yousafzai and target shops selling her book, the Dawn newspaper reported, citing spokesman Shahidullah Shahid.

"This is probably the first ever book written by a Swati girl," said Ameen, who lives near Yousafzai's school. "I am sure her story will be something we all know and have gone through during the Taliban rule."

Musfira Khan Karim, 11, prayed for Yousafzai's success in the Nobel competition with her 400 schoolmates in Mingora.

"I want her back here among us," Karim said in her school's playground. "I want to know more about her. I want to meet her."


http://www.registercitizen.com/general-news/20131013/taliban-intimidation-backfires-as-shot-teenager-inspires-school-enrollment-surge

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Gulf News story about Anum Fatima:

Dubai: Anum Fatima, a first-year MBA student at the College of Business Management, Karachi, has been selected to attend a seven-week programme in English for Professional Purposes at the Harvard Business School Summer Exchange Programme on a fully funded scholarship. What’s more, Anum has already been offered a one-month internship at a Washington DC firm, Conversion. Clearly, Anum is looking forward to her eight-week stay. “I am absolutely thrilled and my entire family is excited,” says the 23-year old in a phone interview to Education. Anum, the eldest in a family of five, was able to realise her education dreams thanks to scholarships through grade 9 to undergraduate study in Business Administration and now for her MBA by The Citizen’s Foundation (TCF), a Pakistan-based non-profit organisation dedicated to the field of education that helps students from impoverished background achieve their dreams.
For Soheil and Nasreen Akhtar, Anum’s parents, the news of Anum’s Harvard stint came as boundless joy. Soheil, who works as a driver in a Karachi-based organisation, was able to complete just his matriculation while his wife never had formal education. The two therefore always dreamed of their daughter achieving milestones in education. With a meagre income, Anum’s father could barely manage the family’s basic needs. Paying for the schooling fees of his children was a stretch. But Anum’s performance at school came to her rescue.
“I was very keen to study and always stood first in class even in the private Urdu medium neighbourhood schools I studied in upto grade 9,” she says. “My parents were very supportive. I must thank TCF which has been my motivating force by supporting me with scholarships as well as logistical guidance at every step. They offered me a scholarship to complete my studies after grade 9, by giving me admission at the Yousuf Goth TCF school. I became the first girl in my family to complete matriculation,” she says.
TCF did not stop at that. They offered scholarships right through college and graduation and now post graduation. “When they asked me if they could nominate me for the Harvard Summer Exchange programme, I was only too happy to consent. I was selected from a group of three nominations based on my academic qualifications and answers to the questions I sent across,” says Anum.
Her father, she says, had no clue about what Harvard, or her acceptance to it, meant. “People at his office explained to him and he was overjoyed telling our friends and extended family about it,” says Anum. Once she is back from the US, she is determined to complete her Masters, find a job and help her siblings do even better than her. “I want to help my brothers and sisters and motivate them never to give up on studies. My youngest sister, Samreen Kauser, and brother Tayyib-Ur Rehman, are enrolled in first year college. Another sister, Tayibba Kauser, is studying in the second year and a brother older than Tayyiba, Haisham Soheil, is in third year at the Szabist University. I want them all to achieve their dreams and I will do everything I can to help them,” says Anum, who is already supporting her family by tutoring at least nine girls at home, during her free time.
.....


http://m.gulfnews.com/life/education/karachi-girl-anum-fatima-goes-to-harvard-1.1197501

Riaz Haq said...

From The News:

After finishing school, she received a scholarship to attend the Institute of Business Management (IoBM), first for her Bachelor’s and then her Master’s. And when she applied for a US State Department programme for women, she was selected for spending three months at the Harvard University.

“It was an advanced learning programme for English. There were 15 students from all over the world. I topped my class and received a certificate, and a book signed by the Dean,” she said.

The three-month long trip to the US opened new avenues for her. She met a classmate of Benazir Bhutto, she spoke at the state department and interned at a US-based think tank.

“People in the West think that girls in Pakistan are not allowed to study. In all of the presentations I made and all the people I talked to, I told them that parents wanted their girls to study, but it was the lack of resources and awareness that held them back.”

They were also interested about knowing the state of education in Pakistan. Fatima patiently explained to them the public-private divide, and how the civil society was sometimes able to bridge the gap. She attended a fundraiser for the TCF. “I met a lot of Pakistani Americans. They were very interested in where I come from. What problems my community faces. With one of them I am currently working on a micro-finance project for Ismail Goth.”


http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-212619-From-Ismail-Goth-to-Harvard-and-back

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR story on tripling of private schools in Pakistan to 69,000:

With increasing in fiscal pressure, growing un-met demand for education, weak management of the public education system, and poor quality perception of the public schools, there is a structural gap on the supply side, revealed a report Access to Finance (A2F) for Low Cost Private Schools (LCPS).

Department for International Development (DFID) funded, Ilm Ideas Programme launched a study on Access to Finance for Low Cost Private Schools in partnership with Pakistan Microfinance Network here on Monday. The A2F for the LCPS report revealed that Pakistan's education industry provides a classic impact investment opportunity for private sector finance. Until now, the public sector has been playing a dominant role in the education industry. However, with increasing fiscal pressures, growing un-met demand for education, weak management of the public education system, and poor quality perception of the public schools there is a structural gap on the supply side. The report further states that given the scale the large number of out of school children and poor performance on international education indicators, there is a strong case for private sector intervention at the service delivery level either under a public-private partnership framework and/or on its own.

The number of private schools in Pakistan has multiplied to almost three folds - at a much faster rate than the number of public sector schools. Most of this growth has been within low cost private schools which now account for about one third of school enrolment in Pakistan. The study on 'A2F for LCPS' reports that there are currently over 69,000 low cost private schools in the country and is emerging as a key ancillary tool for improving enrolment rates and the quality of schooling in Pakistan.

Addressing on this occasion, Richard Montgomery Head of the UK's Department for International Development in Pakistan said that this innovative initiative would potentially help low cost private schools to access finance for the first time, which could enable them to invest in improving the quality of the education they provide, and expand access so that even more children can go to school. Given that Pakistan's population of 185 million will mushroom by half again within the next 40 years, innovative ideas like this will help ensure the burgeoning youth population is well educated and able to bring prosperity and stability to the country, Montgomery added.

Ross Ferguson Private Sector Development Advisor at UK's Department for International Development said that according to an estimate, LCPS sector needs over Rs 100 billion to fund existing expansion plans to support access to finance linked to investment in quality which can help raise both enrolment and learning outcomes. To achieve this education and the finance sectors must work together and the DFID is ready to support these partnerships, Ferguson added.

Panellists including representatives of Punjab Education Foundation, Education Foundation for Sindh, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, State Bank Pakistan, Khushali Bank, Kashf Foundation and First Microfinance Bank presented their views on exploring the full potential of the low cost private school sector with a view to enhancing access to credit and investment in quality solutions to improve operations, governance and overall quality of services the LCPS sector provides. A large number of people including donors, public and private sectors organisations from the education and finance sectors, school administrators and education service providers participated in the launching ceremony.


http://www.brecorder.com/general-news/172/1168383/

Riaz Haq said...

Two poor #Karachi slum kids rise from Hijrat Colony to attend McGill University. #Pakistan

http://www.dawn.com/news/1128844/fruits-of-labour

The story begins in Haripur in the 1990s, Waris Khan worked at the Tarbela Dam as a labourer and made his way to Karachi with Rs500 in his pocket and a simple dream that his children’s life would be better than his.

Karachi was not welcoming at first; Waris slept on the footpath for a few months, desperately trying to eke out a living. He was convinced that Karachi would “do” something for him and that conviction kept him going.

Then, his luck began to change slowly, he found work at a vegetable stall, where for 16 hours a day he sorted and stacked vegetables. Eventually he set up his own stall, selling watermelons and fruit chaat.

He rented a room in Hijrat colony and got married. On Dec 3, 1993, his son Fazal was born.

Waris worked long hours enabling him to expand his business and he soon set up a large fruit stall in Bath Island.

He would often ask the men and women who frequented his stall about the neighbourhood school called Kensington Grammar School. Very early on, he had made up his mind that Fazal would attend this school. When the time came, he confidently strode in through the gates and insisted that they educate his son.

The school was run by a family who strongly believed in providing quality education for children from low-income backgrounds. Adil Soomro whose family set up the school tells me “Waris paid the fees for Fazal for a few months but after that when he could not afford to, we sponsored him.” Fazal was a keen learner and adapted easily to the school.

As the years passed, Fazal went to school in the mornings and helped his father at the fruit stall in the afternoons. He often bought his books along and would do his homework there. “My colleagues at school would see me at the fruit stall,” he says. “Some of them were accepting of me, others didn’t want to study with the son of a fruit vendor.” He says. “In fact, there came a time, when some of my father’s regular clients stopped coming to our stall and we heard that they were telling people that my father could afford to send me to school because the fruit he sold were so expensive.”

In the years that followed, Fazal’s younger brother also joined school and continued in his footsteps. When the O level results were announced, Fazal received a scholarship at the Lyceum School. His parents were overjoyed, Waris Khan could see the years of hard work paying off.

“Years ago my father’s cousin’s wife had taunted him and told him that he would never amount to anything and that his children would also remain uneducated labourers,” Fazal tells me. “That really hurt my father to the core. When I got into A levels he felt vindicated!”

Fazal fit into Lyceum, playing sports, participating in extra curricular activities. He slowly made a few friends. “Even though I wore the same uniform as them, somehow they knew I wasn’t like them,” he says. But many of his classmates accepted him with open arms and helped him settle in. When the time came to apply for college — ­­­ he didn’t even consider it an option given his financial constraints — until Adil and his mother who had been guiding him since his early school days encouraged him to.

And then a miracle happened … he got accepted with a partial scholarship to McGill University.

“I remember telling my father that I had been accepted at one of the best universities in Canada. I had gone to the his fruit stall to break the news to him, but I knew there was no way that I would be able to afford to go.” Fazal remembers that he had tears in his eyes and for the first time he felt helpless.



Riaz Haq said...

Aansoo is a 20-year-old student in the final stages of a bachelor's degree. She is the only person in this village with more than a smattering of education. Her mission is to change that: "I'll make these children doctors," she says. "I'll make them teachers and engineers."

The kids in Aansoo's cattle shed are from Pakistan's Hindu community — a marginalized, sometimes victimized, minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim nation. Their village has for centuries subsisted on the tiny income produced by picking cotton and green chilies for feudal landlords.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/11/25/364981722/in-pakistan-a-self-styled-teacher-holds-class-for-150-in-a-cowshed