AIMS & OBJECTIVES
Government became the sole service provider. This had two very serious and long term adverse effects on the education sector: first, merger of private and public institutions removed the element of competition and quality began to deteriorate rapidly and it has reached a very low level by now; second, because of resource constraint, and lack of political will, the growth of public sector institutions could not keep pace with the increase in demand created by rapidly growing population. This ever-widening gap between supply and demand provided great opportunities for profiteering to private schools often established for this very purpose. In most of the private schools, quality of education has the least priority. Unsuitable premises, untrained teachers, unacceptably large class size, and inadequate attention to character building are generally the distinguishing features of such institutions. Private schools, in order to make unfair profit, impose unreasonable educational costs on the parents. Lower middle class households have large families and small incomes at their disposal. Nearly all of them, therefore, find it impossible to meet educational expenses of their children from their legitimate earnings. Consequently, the concerned parents have to choose between sending their children to affordable third-rate schools or to find fair or unfair means to augment their incomes. In the absence of sufficient honest sources of supplementing income, large number of parents reluctantly indulge in corruption.
Government, donor agencies, and foreign aided NGOs are correctly engaged in addressing the needs of low-income groups. On the other hand, not enough attention is being paid to the plight of middle class families who are expected to fend for themselves in the education market. It is not fair, as market forces should not be allowed to determine educational expenses.
Quality education is a fundamental right of every child in a civilised society, and government invariably is the primary service provider. But the Government is just not interested in promoting education; it only wants to use it as a ploy to get more and more foreign aid.
There is very little that the concerned citizens have been able to do to change the official mind set. Loud noises have so far failed to produce any tangible result. Time is running out. Investment in the form of basic education cannot be postponed: it either takes place at an appropriate age when the need is present or it does not. For the young child there is no second chance.
We know that Governments do not have the will or desire to change the dismal state of education. But are we, as citizens, so handicapped that we cannot bring about a social revolution on our own, and thereby generate so much pressure on the government that it is forced to change its attitude. There are a lot of people who offer enormity of problems as an excuse for their inaction. We agree with them that no individual can solve the entire problem but, as individuals, we are not expected to do so. We must hold ourselves accountable for the power and resources available to us. The test question is; have we used the available resources for optimum benefit of the society. And this question we must ask ourselves before we judge the actions or omissions of others.
The fact is that citizens can do a lot. Instead of feeling frustrated about the dismal state of education and indifference of the government towards this sector, we, the concerned citizens decided to act. It is our belief that if we, the Pakistanis, are not willing to invest for our better future then we have no right to such a future.
Moved by the prevailing situation, in September 2001, we founded Quality Schools Foundation (QSF) to provide affordable quality education alternative to the children of middle class communities. We are grateful to Allah and our supporters that within a short period of 4 months we were able to raise sufficient funds to start construction of our first school at Rawalpindi. Our donations come entirely from Pakistanis living here and abroad.
In the first phase Quality Schools Foundation has planned to establish kindergarten to higher secondary schools for girls only. This arrangement will allow girls who join our schools to continue education in the same institution before joining a professional college. The medium of education is English but due importance is being given to Urdu. Since our only return on investment is quality of education, we are doing everything possible to achieve a very high standard. The reaction of parents, students and specialists has confirmed that we have made rapid progress in this vital area. A visit to our school at Rawalpindi will allow you to make your own assessment and we take this opportunity to extend to you an invitation to do so.
The main principle on which the entire education programme is based is to implement a process for character development and quality education. This programme provides the foundation for intellectual, moral and spiritual growth. It is a process designed to develop the character individual to each student and equip her with the necessary knowledge and literary skills. It is our endeavour to equip the students with the skills that are critical for the future creative thinking, the ability to learn independently and continuously, and effective communication.
For imparting quality education, a good curriculum and high-quality teachers are essential. QSF school follows a curriculum that not only adds to the knowledge and literary skills of the students but also contributes to their intellectual growth. The teaching method focuses on helping the students to recognize, understand, reason, accept and retain in order to learn and grow, and to enjoy the learning process.
There is no substitute for a good teacher. She is the heart of the entire education process and is the example that the students follow. Unfortunately in the prevailing dismal state of education in the country, there are virtually no role models for the future teachers. The training imparted by teacher training schools is poor. Teachers take up their jobs holding degrees and diplomas but with little professional knowledge and skills. To ensure availability of good teachers, QSF has a well-designed initial and continuous teacher training and professional development programme. A monitoring and evaluation system has been developed to assure delivery of high quality education.
The school has dedicated facilities for teacher training and their professional education. These facilities will also be used to impart top quality, hands on teaching skills to the ladies of the area thus enabling them to adopt teaching as a career. Complementary to the role of the teacher is the role of the parents. A parent – teacher relationship based on trust and co-operation is essential for real education of a child. An enabling environment has been provided for parents, teachers and community to work together so that the best qualities of the students may emerge and they get ample opportunities to grow to their full potential.