How many children in Pakistan end up with the wrong childhood?
Roughly, about 25 million. Twenty-five million children at both the primary and secondary age in Pakistan are out of school. But that’s not all. We have to add the millions of children in school rote-learning, being beaten with corporal punishment and those who work six-hour shifts at mechanics workshops because realistically, that isn’t a great childhood either.
So what are you doing to change this?
The sad truth is that currently, you aren’t doing much. It is easy to turn a blind eye and think that it isn’t your problem. But the fact is that each and every day that we ignore it, the situation becomes much, much worse. Each passing day means another teacher has skipped school. Another student is disappointed when her teacher doesn’t come inside her classroom. Another principal takes a bribe from a teacher for not attending school. Another school turns into a ghost school when the last student who has been coming every day for the past month hoping to see his teacher there stops.
How does that affect me?
A bad or no education means literally millions of children are being left behind in Pakistan. Each generation that is born under or around the poverty line will unlikely get the education that helps them reach their full potential as humans and become contributing members of Pakistani society. Only a handful of children in Pakistan made it through to university level – around 7%. That gravely affects the working class demographic of Pakistan, the entire labour market and the entire economy. Do you still think it doesn’t affect you?
But how does it start?
As a child enrolls in school, often beyond the age that they should, they already have a developmental disadvantage because of their family background – they are malnourished, live in unsafe homes and their parents are usually illiterate. They attend failing schools that perpetuate their disadvantage, as most of their parents simply cannot afford to send them to schools that will give them an education that they deserve. Children grow up without the knowledge, skills and mindsets they need. They continue to live in the same socio-economic class throughout their lives, and then so do their children. This is how the cycle perpetuates.
Does it make a difference if I come in?
Yes. Because what Teach For Pakistan works to ensure that the Fellows in their classrooms make an impact on the 40, 60 or 100 students they teach, depending on how many grades and subjects they take on. You have the opportunity to be a teacher, leader, coach, role model and so much more for your students. Fellows on average find their classes are 4 years behind the grade level they should be at – and you change this. You will make a difference not only in your classroom scores, but also in your career post-Fellowship – because you have experience and exposure that not many people in Pakistan have.
But it’s not just us – people who support Teach For Pakistan and believe in the difference we make are some of Pakistan’s top changemakers –Dr. Ishrat Husain of IBA, Syed Babar Ali of LUMS, Dr. Quratalian Bakhteari of IDSP, Saad Amanullah of Gillette and P&G, and many more.
But will the Fellowship make me feel fulfilled? What if I’m missing out on other opportunities?
The Fellowship is a two-year commitment and we support any career path you decide to take after you complete the Fellowship. Through the Fellowship, you meet like-minded, thoughtful and committed individuals such as yourself and receive teaching and leadership training before you enter the classroom. The Fellowship is international recognized and many of our partners are excited to hire Fellows because of their experience.
Your fulfillment comes with the days you spend in your school. When your students run to meet you as you get off the bus to walk you through their gallis to their school. When parents tell you that no one has ever cared this much about their children’s future than you have. When you see that children growing up in dire poverty in Pakistan still have incredible, unprecedented amounts of talent, intelligence and spirit. When you know that you are the sole person harnessing that and making sure these children don’t end up with the wrong childhood. That is when you realize you have changed the future of Pakistan forever, for the better.