A network of schools being run by professional citizens of Pakistan to counter the growing lack of quality education for the underprivileged
A country which is the first Muslim nuclear power of the world, the basic rights of education still seem to be a distant dream for many, especially women. If recent stats are to be quoted, there is an anxious picture of education for all, especially girls. The overall literacy rate is 46%, while only 26% of girls are literate. There are 163,000 primary schools in Pakistan, of which merely 40,000 cater to girls.
Of these, 15,000 are in the Punjab Province, 13,000 in Sind, 8,000 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 4,000 in Baluchistan; according to a report by the Federal Education Ministry of Pakistan. One does not want to sound desperate, but the education situation in the country is very grim. It is in such times of darkness that people rise up to shed some much needed light and The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is the perfect example.
‘Through the power of quality education enabling moral, spiritual, and intellectual enlightenment. Creating opportunities to improve quality of life’, is the mission statement of TCF; a professionally managed, nonprofit organization set up in 1995 by a group of citizens to counter the dismal state of education for the poor in Pakistan. TCF’s main priority is to uplift the current state of female citizens of the country and for this purpose; it strives to promote education amongst them.
The organization has up till now established 910 purpose built schools in the country, all of which are located in urban slums and rural areas of Pakistan. These are areas characterized by extreme poverty, where people neither have the means nor access to quality education. The foundation ensures that at any given time more than 50% of its students are females. TCF schools follow a curriculum in line with the officially prescribed syllabus by the board of their respective region, but it is suitably modified and regularly updated to meet the demands of modern-day education.
This is done to ensure that students receive the most up-to-date education which better prepares them to face the trials ahead and hone their skills respectively to such demands. Each school is primary and secondary rolled in to one, ensuring that every child receives the same standard of education throughout their educational life. Education in TCF schools is imparted through formally trained teachers, hired strictly on merit basis. The foundation organizes an extensive Pre-Service Training (PRESET) for its new staff every year. This training is spread over 100 hours of various modules dealing with child psychology, learning styles, assessment methods and child-centered teaching strategies.
Apart from PRESET, rigorous In-Service Training (INSET) is conducted every summer to keep the existing faculty abreast with new trends and pedagogy in teaching. The schooling system provides 95% scholarship to most of its students, meaning almost every student pays only Rs.10 per month to acquire quality education, while books and stationary are provided for free. Every school is custom built by renowned architects and has a library, art rooms and computer labs. Currently 126,000 students are enrolled nationwide in TCF schools and about 9500 jobs have been created in TCF communities.
The vision of TCF is to create an educated Pakistan where every child acquires the same quality education regardless of class, religion or creed. Illiteracy, according to TCF, is the root cause of every evil in society today and the foundation does everything possible to eradicate this disease. In terms of priorities for the government, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless and healing the sick will always seem to take precedence over basic education for the poor.
TCF is one of those charities that stand to provide basic knowledge of the world to those who are neglected by society and enable them to change their destiny. TCF receives capital donations for constructing and equipping new schools. As such, these funds are used exclusively for that purpose. Non – capital contributions fall into two categories: Zakat and non-Zakat funds. Zakat funds are used to support the education of deserving children. Non-Zakat funds are spent on providing all education-related services and facilities to the schools. To support TCF’s vision of an enlightened Pakistan, please contact:
Plot No. 20, Sector – 14, Near Brookes Chowrangi, Korangi Industrial Area, Karachi.