Tag Archives: Pakistan

Why Teach For Pakistan?

MyraMyra Khan works in the Alumni Impact team with Fellows to support their Professional and Leadership Development over the Fellowship. She previously worked as a Program Officer at Teach For Pakistan.

How many children in Pakistan end up with the wrong childhood?

Roughly, aboutfor blog 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.

Classroom impact: every student matters

Bilal 2Bilal Afzal Khan is a 2012 Fellow at Teach For Pakistan and is currently teaching Maths to classes 8, 9 and 10 in Roshni School, Lahore. He graduated from the Lahore University of Management Sciences with a Major in Economics and Political Science.

Bilal was disappointed with his student Shaheen’s performance in his Math class. He called her mother in for a meeting to express his concerns and upon further discussion he made a startling discovery. Shaheen had fallen from the roof of her home almost three years ago, and had since faced many problems and suffered from a psychological disorder. She now failed to retain concepts in her mind. Bilal decided that he would not give up on her and pushed himself further to help her develop and succeed at Math.

Bilal invested more time in this particular student and introduced her to mental exercises while practicing simpler concepts.  She soon became more focused on her studies. Though she took longer than her peers to learn new concepts, she worked hard, and Bilal started to see improvements in her scores. When her end of year board exam results came out, Bilal was delighted to learn that she not only passed her Math exam but had performed well in all other subjects.

Bilal says, “If I had not availed the opportunity to join Teach For Pakistan, it would have never been possible for me to transform her life in this short period of time.”

Classroom impact: stepping beyond the academics

Fazil Maniya is a Teach For Pakistan Fellow in the 2012 Cohort. He teaches maths to classes 4 and 5 in Karachi. Fazil graduated with a Computer Science degree from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.

In this video Fazil talks about the powerful impact a teacher has on his/her students as a role model. By embodying and exemplifying them, a teacher can shape the values and mindsets of students in the classroom.

Community impact: investing parents to drive student excellence

Bareerah Hoorani is a Teach For Pakistan Fellow in the 2012 Cohort. She teaches Science and English to class 7 and 8 in Karachi. Bareerah graduated from the Institute of Business Administration.

In this video she talks about how she invested the parents of a struggling student in her achievement at school and how this resulted in academic gains for the student.

Classroom Impact: Making history in Roshni School

KHQ_7862Ahmed Rubbie Jamshed  is a Fellow in the 2012 cohort. He teaches Science and English to Grades 8 and 9 at Roshni School in Lahore. Ahmed has done BSc from the Lahore School of Economics.

“Out of a total of 40 students that took the science exam, over half the class scored A grades, 10 students scored B grades and only a handful scored lesser than that”

Ahmed is a grade 7 science teacher at Roshni School in Lahore. He feels fortunate to have taught in what he refers to as bipolar surroundings. He has taught in schools which are both predominantly conservative, but cater to opposite genders. MAO School in Karachi was an all boys’ school where he taught in the summer and the students were mostly Pashtuns. Roshni School in Lahore- where he has been teaching for over a year- is an all girls’ school where 90% of the students wear hijabs. The former school had problems of aggression and physical violence whereas the latter school has students who are under confident and taciturn.

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Ahmed says, “When I joined Roshni School, there was an ongoing problem with science classes because the school hadn’t had a proper science teacher in over 3 years. The students barely had any concepts and they were to appear for board exams of grade 8 in 5 months’ time. So the clock was ticking and I was given the responsibility of bringing their concepts to their respective grade levels and ultimately preparing 40 students for the board exams. It was a really hard task to balance the student learning outcomes from the national curriculum and the syllabus that the school was following but eventually I found the right mix. I held after school remediation, extra classes and even test sessions on Sundays. The foremost thing was the willingness of students to learn and their trust in me that I could guide them right”.

After a lot of effort on both parts, the students took the exams and were fairly happy with their performance. But when the results came out, nobody had expected what actually happened. Out of a total of 40 students that took the science exam, over half the class scored A grades, 10 students scored B grades and only a handful scored lesser than that.

This was by far the best result amongst all other subjects, and the best science result ever in Roshni School; in fact it was the best in all the schools in a 10 km radius.

Leadership: Ambitions of a 14 year old

Fahad Saeed is a 2012 Teach For Pakistan Fellow. He teaches Math and Science to Classes 6 and 7 at a Government Boys Secondary School in Karachi. Fahad earned his BBA from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.

Being a teacher in a classroom of 35 students who are multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and diverse in every respect is a challenging task. Therefore, at Government Boys Secondary School Leemo Gabol, each day is a unique learning experience for me. Teaching secondary grade levels is even more challenging since the academic gap is the widest in those grades, plus most of the students work after school to support their families. To make ends meet at home, the students start working from an early age and unfortunately, their jobs become the primary focus and school takes up a secondary role.

Like many other students, this was also true for Ahsan, a 14 year old student of Grade 7. A year ago, his father lost his job due to an injury and as the eldest of three siblings, Ahsan was forced to work after school to earn for his family. As time passed, he started losing interest in school and became increasingly involved in his job at a computer store.

When I joined the school, I realized quickly that Ahsan was not performing up to his ability. He always appeared preoccupied and disengaged in class. But as I spent more time in the classroom, I started to notice a change in him. Not only was Ahsan participating more, but his grades were improving as well. So one day when I sat down with him to discuss his progress, he told me about his life and his circumstances and how the Teach For Pakistan Fellows coming and teaching in his school had helped him realize the role education plays in a person’s life. The impact is such that Ahsan now wants to be an educationalist himself. When I asked about his future ambitions, he proudly told me that one day he will do for the whole of Pakistan what Teach For Pakistan is doing for his community.

Witnessing this transformation in Ahsan’s attitude and mindset strengthened my resolve of eliminating educational inequity so that the underprivileged masses of Pakistan can also attain an excellent education and succeed in life. The task is huge and extremely challenging, but through the Teach For Pakistan intervention we are changing mindsets and creating a momentum that will keep growing for years to come. Students like Ahsan will rise to our mission and lead their communities and then one day, we will realize our dream and see each and every child in Pakistan getting the education that they need and deserve.