Upwardly Mobile Pakistani Slum Girl Goes to Harvard

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

Comments

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…
Pakistan's Burka Avenger female superhero reflects shifting ground realities with increasing women participation in the affairs of the nation.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2013/07/burka-avenger-pakistans-buka-clad.html

Examples include:

1. First women paratroopers inducted in Pakistan Army.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/pakistan-s-female/757556.html

2. First female combat pilot commissioned in Pakistan Air Force.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22895373

3. First female jirga held in Pakistan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23442129

4. Malala Yousufzai emerges as an international icon for girls' education in Pakistan and elsewhere.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2013/07/pakistani-government-and-top.html

5. Increasing number of court marriages by young couples in defiance of tradition of marriages arranged by parents.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2012/12/violent-conflict-is-part-of-pakistans.html

6. Rising female participation in Pakistan's work force.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/09/working-women-seeding-silent-social.html
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…
Though instability continues to plague Pakistan and many areas are dominated by social conservatism, some of the country's more affluent residents have worked to fashion a very different kind of lifestyle for themselves. Pictures of men and women taking part in all sorts of activities and professions - from being a pilates instructor, to a textile retail entrepreneur, to a member of a rock band - offer a different view of Pakistan to images of conflict that often make the news.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1118136
Riaz Haq said…
The delivery of education services is a very important and much talked about topic in Pakistan. This article attempts to challenge the myths associated with this topic. The focus of this article is government schools in Peshawar.

The three main features of the delivery of educational services are: 1) to increase access of all schoolgoing age children to school; 2) to improve the quality of education delivered; and 3) equity – to provide educational services to all children without discrimination.

In Pakistan, approximately 75 percent children attend government schools, while 25 percent attend private schools. The quality of education provided in government school is generally rated as poor. Equity in government schools is a non-issue because government schools are generally meant for the economically less advantaged class of society.

Myth 1: Financial allocations for the education sector are low and increased allocation will automatically improve the standard of education. Each province of Pakistan allocates around 40 percent of its annual budget on the standard of education; in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa it reached around Rs70 billion in 2014-15. Moreover 50 percent of employees in each province belong to the education department.

Despite this huge investment in education, the required educational results are not achieved. One indicator is examination results. An analysis of the results of the matriculation examinations of the Peshawar Board of Secondary and Intermediate examination in the year 2008 reveals that among 20 top position holders, not even one was from a government school, although 80 percent students in the province attend government schools. Students from private schools got higher grades (97 percent A1, 78 percent A, 47 percent B), Government school students got a higher numbers of low grades (89 percent D, 78 percent C and 53 percent B).

Although private schools receive no government funds and also pay taxes, their examination results are far better than government schools. Increases in allocations don’t automatically improve the delivery of educational services unless mismanagement of funds is controlled. Singapore developed a world class education system by the most productive use of four percent of its GDP allocations.

Myth 2: Students are young and their opinions don’t matter. Students are important education stakeholders and the education system is meant to develop the younger generation into useful citizens. Therefore, their opinion needs to be considered while bringing about education reforms.

A survey was conducted in 2008 in Peshawar to gauge the satisfaction level of stakeholders (teachers, students, parents, education officers, and politicians) in government schools. Stakeholders showed only 28 percent satisfaction level towards the delivery of education services. Students showed the highest level of dissatisfaction among all the stakeholders.

Students were interviewed in their classrooms at the primary, middle, and high school levels. They complained that teachers don’t teach in classrooms and spend more time chatting with other teachers. Education officers on monitoring visits to schools spend time in the principal’s office.


Myth 3: A uniform education system will improve the delivery of education services. In Pakistan, three parallel educational systems run parallel to each other. The very underprivileged class attends madressahs, the underprivileged attend government schools, and the middle and richer classes attend private schools. There can’t be a uniform system unless class difference is removed.

There is no uniform education system in the US and Europe, where both government and private sectors are involved in the delivery of education services. ....

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-9-319691-Education-myths
Riaz Haq said…
Going from an inner-city slum to an Ivy League university is an incredible journey for anyone. But for a girl in Pakistan, a country where the female literacy rate is 38%, it is an almost unheard-of achievement.

Anum Fatima made international headlines when she won a summer scholarship to Harvard. She grew up in a Karachi slum but attended a school run by The Citizens Foundation (TCF), an education charity which has opened 1000 schools teaching more than 145,000 underprivileged children. TCF schools are built in deprived areas and are open to all faiths and ethnicities. They also focus on giving both girls and boys equal access to education - 46% of their pupils are female.

Now 23, Fatima was one of TCF’s first graduates. The daughter of a maid and a driver, she completed her undergraduate degree and has started a Masters Programme from CBM, a leading business school in Karachi, with a TCF scholarship. Fatima says: “I want to be the CEO of a leading company but before that I want to spend a few years at TCF to pay them back for all they have done for me."

Anum has given presentations on the challenges girls face

While she was delighted with the news that she would be jetting off to Massachusetts, her father had a slightly delayed reaction. Fatima said: “He had not heard of Harvard. When he went to work that day, he asked his boss, who told him what a tremendous achievement it was.”

Fatima came first in her class at the Harvard summer school. She says: “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.”

During the three-month trip she also spoke at the US State Department and interned at a US-based think tank. She was able to give people an accurate description of the educational challenges in her country.


Fatima said: “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.”

The need for education to be made a priority in Pakistan is clear - 26 countries that are poorer than Pakistan send more children to primary school and one in 10 children worldwide who are not in primary school live in Pakistan. TCF believes its model is a Pakistani solution to a Pakistani problem.

Ateed Riaz, Co-Founder of The Citizens Foundation, said: “Everything related to education is a step forward; whether it is under a tree, in a garage or in a tent. However, we felt that since we ourselves are a product of formal education, we will build our institution along the same lines. We will create schools which are properly built, and not in a tent or basement. We were confident about our decision and there was never any hesitation or doubt regarding the path we had chosen.”

http://www.aworldatschool.org/news/entry/anum-fatima-on-amazing-journey-from-Pakistan-slum-to-harvard-1614
Riaz Haq said…
A kulfi seller from #IBA. #Sindh's poor village kid graduates from top management school in #Pakistan

http://tribune.com.pk/story/994032/a-kulfi-seller-from-iba/ …

According to Zulfiqar, students from rural Sindh usually go through a ‘zero semester’ at IBA Sukkur before their formal programme starts so they can be brought to the same level as other students. Two weeks before the finals of the zero semester, Zulfiqar’s brother, who was managing the shop in his absence, passed away. Zulfiqar thought of giving up his studies and going back to the shop. But his friends convinced him and his father otherwise. Around eight of his friends started depositing money in Zulfiqar’s account to support him every month, telling him that they had found an anonymous sponsor for him. Fortunately, Zulfiqar won an actual scholarship at IBA Sukkur soon after, which was able to fully support him.

Zulfiqar went on to become the vice-president of the student body at IBA Sukkur and flourished in his academics as well as extra-curricular activities. He even raised money for furniture, stationery and other resources to refurbish a school for street children near the university. After graduating from IBA Sukkur, he moved to Karachi for an internship and is currently looking for a job. His father recently asked him to approach the village wadera to help him find one but Zulfiqar refused. “I’ve only asked God for help all my life,” says Zulfiqar, his face beaming with confidence which comes from being a self-made man in the making. “I am the most educated man in my village today. Once I have enough resources, I’m going to open a school in my village. Why should I ask my wadera for help? If you believe in yourself and work hard, opportunities will knock on your door.”
Riaz Haq said…
Upwardly Mobile #Pakistan: #TCF & #IBA Alum Nadeem Hussain's rise from #Karachi slum to #WorldBank consultant. http://tribune.com.pk/story/1062613/extraordinary-pakistanis-nadeem-hussain/ … …

This is a moving story about a young man from a katchi abadi in Karachi, who graduated from IBA, Karachi despite his father working as a mazdoor in a wire factory for 35 years. Today, Nadeem Hussain works as a World Bank Technical Assistant to the Government of Sindh and after his office duties are over for the day, he helps children from katchi abadis secure admission into top tier universities like IBA, so they can experience the same life transformation that he did through the power of education. What’s even more striking about Nadeem’s story is that the daughter of the owner of the factory where Nadeem’s father works studied at IBA, at the same time as Nadeem.

“I’ve personally experienced how education removes the barriers of class and privilege,” shares Nadeem. “There was a time in my life when I went to the factory to help my dad sometimes. Later, when I secured admission into IBA, the owner of the factory was so proud that he hugged my father. My father was the proudest dad in the world at that time. Two years later, the daughter of the factory’s owner also got admitted into IBA and we actually took a course together. Now, I want other children from katchi abadis to have opportunities like this.”

Extraordinary Pakistanis: the mama and baby fund

“My father migrated to Karachi from Naushahro Feroze when I was a young boy,” shares Nadeem. “He started working in a wire factory and we got a house in a katchi abadi near the industrial area. There was no school in the area and I was an out of school child until The Citizens Foundation (TCF) opened up a campus in my area. My mother got me enrolled in grade four because she had studied till grade five and was able to teach me the Urdu alphabet on her own. I did my matric in 2007 and later applied for a fully funded National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP) scholarship in IBA. At IBA, I got the opportunity to visit the United States as part of an exchange programme and visited places like MIT, Harvard and the US Senate. In the US, I realised that no other child from my TCF school or katchi abadi would get the opportunity to see what I’m seeing unless I could help them in some way.”

In his senior year at IBA, Nadeem and a friend, Farheen Ghaffar, created the TCF Alumni Development Programme (ADP) together with a group of volunteers, to help TCF students find placements and funding for top tier universities like IBA, LUMS, NED, FAST-NU and Habib University. Here’s how their team works: first, the team collects data from TCF, of their graduates. These graduates are then educated about the different top tier universities and their programmes. For example, the application process to a top university is in itself so complicated and the application fee so high that it becomes a barrier to the application. The ADP’s team of volunteers mentor the TCF alumni and guide them through the application process while convincing university management to drop the application fees for such underprivileged children. Through their honest work and advocacy, Nadeem and team were able to convince Dr Ishrat Hussain at IBA to waive the application fees for all such students and recently, five students mentored by Nadeem’s team are successfully studying at IBA, fully funded by scholarships.
Riaz Haq said…
Remote northern #Pakistan village Gojal transformed by #education , #CellPhone, #Internet, new highway http://on.natgeo.com/2dPriY5 via @NatGeo

PASSU, Pakistan—Sajid Alvi is excited. He just got a grant to study in Sweden.

“My Ph.D. is about friction in turbo jet engines,” Alvi says. “I will work on developing new aerospace materials—real geeky stuff!”

Alvi’s relatives have come to bid him farewell as he prepares to leave his mountain village and study in a new country, some 3,000 miles away.

“We will see you again,” one of them says as they hang out in the potato field in front of Alvi’s house. “You know you won’t get far with a long beard like that. You look like Taliban!”

Alvi, dressed in low-hanging shorts and a Yankees cap, is far from a fundamentalist: He’s Wakhi, part of an ethnic group with Persian origins. And like everyone else here, he is Ismaili—a follower of a moderate branch of Islam whose imam is the Aga Khan, currently residing in France. There are 15 million Ismailis around the world, and 20,000 live here in the Gojal region of northern Pakistan.

I’ve been visiting Gojal for 17 years, and I’ve watched as lives like Alvi’s have become more common here. Surrounded by the mighty Karakoram Range, the Ismailis here have long been relatively isolated, seeing tourists but little else of global events. But now, an improved highway and the arrival of mobile phones have let the outside world in, bringing new lifestyles and opportunities: Children grow up and head off to university, fashions change, and technology reshapes tradition. Gojal has adjusted to all of this, surprising me every time I return by showing me just how adaptable traditions can be.

With these photos, I hope to add nuance to our understanding of Pakistan, a country many Westerners associate with terrorism or violence. People have suffered from this reputation, and many feel helpless in trying to change it. The Pakistan I’ve seen is different from that popular perception. I returned there this summer with my family and focused my attention on a young and forward-thinking community in Gojal, a place I know well.

I first came here in the summer of 1999. I was 25 and my girlfriend and I bought one-way tickets to Pakistan. We were looking for inspiring treks (the Karakoram Range has the highest concentration of peaks taller than 8,000 meters). Back then, we were among the roughly 100,000 foreign tourists to visit northern Pakistan each year.

We stayed for months, opening new passes, learning the language, and exploring the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Pamir. I kept returning, but over the years, I saw the number of fellow hikers plunge. The tourism department now records only a few thousand foreign visitors each year.

“Following the terrible September 11th attacks, anyone involved in tourism had to sell their jeeps or hotels; no tourists dared to come here anymore,” says Karim Jan, a local tour guide.

With each return visit, I noticed other changes. While outsiders were rare, the improved Karakoram Highway, now able to host vehicles other than Jeeps and 4x4s, brought in local tourists from south Pakistan, and southern cities became more accessible to the Wakhi.


Young men and women began leaving to study in these cities, and they came back for summer holiday dressed in new, hip fashions. Shops multiplied along the road, selling new spices, sugary snacks, and sodas. Biryani rice, a favorite dish from Punjab, now often replaces the traditional turnip soup or buckwheat pancakes during celebrations.

But despite what I’ve seen change on the surface, the spirit of Gojal is very much the same.

Riaz Haq said…
From Slums to Universities Abroad – 5 Most Inspirational Stories

http://www.parhlo.com/from-slums-to-universities-abroad-5-most-inspirational-stories/


Every once in a while, 1 out of the 23 – 32 million people living in slums in Pakistan, manages to surpass all the obstacles that come their way, to the extent that they break all barriers right to the very last…

1. MUHAMMAD SABIR

One such inspiration to all students, (regardless of their social background) is Muhammad Sabir, a 28 year old activist that is now running the organisation called ‘Slumabad’ that aims to focus on social issues like promoting education and hygiene in kids from slum areas, since these topics are of least importance in such places.

Having completed his schooling from City District Government Boys High School, Township Lahore and graduating from Pakistan’s Chartered Institute of Management Accountants by doing side jobs such as teaching tuition, Sabir was selected as a 2012 fellow for the Emerging Leaders of Pakistan (ELP) programme run by the Atlantic Council, a development program empowering future Pakistani leaders. For his training, Sabir was sent to United States of America. There he met with policymakers, civil society leaders and such, to help further his efforts in Pakistan.

2. ANUM FATIMA

From Ibrahim Goth, (a slum area in karachi) this TCF student has completed her B. A from CBM and is now being sent to Harvard Business School for a Summer Exchange Programme on a full scholarship.

3. SHAH FAISAL

Shah Faisal, is a dedicated student that lacks the funds for further education though he has managed to secure the first place in 12th grade (inter) exam’s all over Pakistan. Though this samosa vendor has appealed to be given a scholarship in Peshawar University’s System Engineering program, he hasn’t received confirmation as of yet.

4. HARAM ZULFIQAR ALI

A similar success story – a star student who managed to secure amazing grades in matric is the daughter of a vegetable seller. After school she and her sister sell vegetables with their father or manage their own ‘gola ganda’ stall. Be it power break downs or a shortage of gas, she lets nothing deter her from her aim of being the best. One day she wishes to gain admission into a medical college to pursue her family’s dream.

5. FAZAL WARIS KHAN

Son of a fruit seller with a vision; this man let nothing stand in his way to success and certainly did not let this label define him negatively. Instead, today he stands proud of having made it to where most people can only dream of being, a partial scholarship to McGill University, in Canada. Being funded by a good soul, Fazal graduated from one of the most reputable A level institutions in Karachi, again only on merit, and not on source. Today his brother is following his footsteps with many people supporting them in their efforts to improve their lives and those of their to -be families.

These are just a few cases that we know of. There are hundreds more that are only restricted by such circumstances that don’t allow them to excel beyond what they have been exposed to. We strongly believe, being granted the right opportunities does wonders for lifetimes to come. If anyone of you possesses the means to help not just these kids, but the likes of them, sponsoring their education is potentially the best way to not only secure the future generations of this nation, but also to give back to the society in which we spend such privileged lives.
Riaz Haq said…
In Lahore, Pakistan, parents with incomes of
less than 2,000 rupees per month spend 10–11
percent of their income on education, while
those with monthly incomes above 10,000
rupees spend 6 percent (Alderman et al.,
2001).

http://www.epdc.org/sites/default/files/documents/The%20Effects%20of%20School%20Fee%20Abolition%20on%20Parents.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
School Quality, School Cost, and the Public/Private School Choices
of Low-Income Households in Pakistan
Harold Aldermana
Peter F. Orazemb
Elizabeth M. Patern


Given the deliberate concentration on low income neighborhoods, the
sample strategy identified a large number of low income households. Fifty-five percent of the
sampled children are in households earning less than 3,500 rupees ($100) per month,
corresponding to below $1 per person per day. Despite the low incomes, a surprisingly large
proportion of children is in school. Only 11 percent of the boys and 8 percent of the girls aged
6-10 were not enrolled. However, the probability of withholding a child from school drops
rapidly as income rises. The lowest income households withheld 25 percent of their boys and 21
12
percent of their girls from school. In contrast, almost all children in households earning above
Rs 3500 are in school.
Not only is enrollment high, a high share of children is enrolled in private schools, even
children from the poorest families. Only in the poorest category in table 1 is the share of
children in government schools greater than in private schools, and then only barely so. As
household income increases, the share of children in private school increases dramatically.
Similar findings of extensive use of private schools by poor families in Karachi (Kardar 1995).
The high proportion of children in private schools is even more surprising, given the
share of household income that must be sacrificed. Even though the amount spent per child rises
with income, the share of income spent declines. In addition, for the lowest income households,
the difference in expenses between private and government schools is not large. While the fees
for private schools exceed that for public (indeed, most public schools are free) government
schools charge for uniforms, books and supplies. Operating costs of private schools are relatively
low, despite relatively higher teacher pupil ratios, due to lower salary structures. Overall, many
private schools can compete with government schools on total schooling costs. The survey
verified these costs by interviewing staff and managers.

http://econ2.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/orazem/lahore.pdf
Riaz Haq said…
2014 World Bank report on private schools in Pakistan by Quynh Nguyen & Dushyanth Raju:


http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/426541468145475006/pdf/WPS6897.pdf

Using school census data from 1999/2000, Andrabi, Das, and Khwaja (2008) found that
the majority of Pakistan’s roughly 36,000 private schools were established in the 1990s and were
at the primary level (up to grade 5). The rural share of private schools established in each year
was at least as large as the urban share. Furthermore, the vast majority of private schools
established in the 1980s and 90s reported that they were for-profit. Using school census data
from 2007/08, I-SAPS (2010) determined that the number of private schools has since doubled to
70,000, with particularly strong growth in schools at the middle and high levels in both rural and
urban areas. Using multiple rounds of household sample survey data, Andrabi et al. also found
that the private school share of enrollment rose markedly over the 1990s for both rich and poor
households and urban and rural households, and rose more in the provinces of Punjab and
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) than in Sindh and Balochistan. Over this same period, the
government school system—the dominant provider of schooling in terms of the number of
institutions and share of enrollment—has seen its position steadily erode, particularly in urban
areas and in the rural parts of Punjab and KP provinces. This has occurred despite the fact that
government schools are ostensibly free for the user, while private schools typically charge fees.

------

School fees are generally low enough that poor households manage to pay
them. For example, Andrabi et al. (2008) find that average tuition fees constitute around 2
percent of the average household income in both rural and urban areas.

--------

The picture remains roughly the same for children in the 11 to 15 age group. One-third of
these children are not in school. Specifically, 12 percent of children have dropped out, whereas
22 percent have never gone to school. Forty-six percent are in government school. Eighteen
percent are in private school, which is a few percentage points lower than the corresponding rate
for the six to 10 age group. Again, given the sizeable share of children that are not in school, the
private school participation rate of 18 percent translates into a private school share of enrollment
of 27 percent.

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