The CB View - Pakistan

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Dateline: Karachi, June 27, 2014

Tameer-e-School Programme- Rebuilding the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Schools

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has declared an education emergency in the province. The provincial government has struggled to reconstruct destroyed schools or provide for missing facilities that were either destroyed by the Taliban or were not maintained by the previous government. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has been using the Tameer-e-School programme initiative to rebuild and restore around 28,000 schools in the province. Since, none of the provincial governments have enough financial resources to restore this amount of schools on their own, this Tameer-e-School programme encourages affluent individuals to donate and participate in the reconstruction and restoration of affected schools. Nearly two months since the campaign was launched on 30th April, let us look into what the campaign has achieved and what other provinces can learn from it.

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The Tameer-e-School Programme campaign was officially launched on 30th April, involving high profile activists from various fields, who campaigned about the importance of this programme. The campaign has since been in full swing within the K-P province and has been highlighted in local and international media. The full details about the Tameer-e-School programme can be found here. The programme is in its first phase, with five districts and 122 schools included in the programme thus far.

For our analysis, we have used the data which is available at the Tameer-e-School programme school listings page, which shows the funds requested as well as the funds raised for each school. According to the data which we collected for the programme from the website, during the 8 weeks since the campaign was launched, 13 million rupees has been raised, with 12 schools being fully funded for their cost of reconstruction and restoration of their missing facilities. There are 110 schools, which are fractionally or partially funded up until now, but we believe these statistics will change over time as more schools manage to raise the required funds for reconstruction.

We think the campaign will help to rebuild schools on a provincial level, and provide facilities in others; it will also bring a huge motivational and emotional impact on the people living in the affected province, whichhas been labelled as a troubled region by international and local media due to the Taliban insurgency, where schools were targeted specifically. The troubled times of past and present have affected the way people perceive education within the province. Militant violence and natural disasters have exacerbated the dismal state of education and schools. The whole education system remains alarmingly impoverished but efforts and programmes such as this are a good step forward towards stabilising the education system.

Helping Disadvantaged Young People Fulfil Their Potential

Building Young Futures in Pakistan celebrated the first graduates from the programme at a ceremony in Lahore. UNICEF and Barclays joined the Punjab Vocational Training Council, which delivers the training in Pakistan, and the Government Department of Youth Affairs, Sports, Archaeology and Tourism (YASAT) to award certificates to top students from each graduating class. The graduates completed a demanding year-long course comprising of diverse learning life skills, literacy, numeracy, entrepreneurial and social enterprise training.

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Set up in 2008, Building Young Futures programme is a partnership between Barclays and UNICEF, that shares a common goal to tackle youth unemployment by enabling disadvantaged young people to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to set up their own small business or find a job. The programme aims to directly benefit 74,000 young people between 2012 and 2015 in six countries; Brazil, Egypt, India, Pakistan, Uganda and Zambia. It’s an ambitious programme that is determined to bring real and positive change to the lives and livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable people, who were not fortunate enough to avail any opportunity earlier in life.

The programme in Pakistan supports some of the poorest and most vulnerable adolescents in Punjab. The programme team have carefully looked at the best job opportunities in the area and matched the training and work placements to help ensure the young people have the best chance of earning a living and becoming financially independent. It is important for Pakistan, in terms of enabling those who lack life skills because they did not have opportunities to enter the formal educational system; youth belonging to such categories can benefit from the programme to acquire such skills. Fresh graduates from the programme speak about their experiences; Sehrish, 16, from Faisalabad, said, “I can now read and write. I plan to open my own sewing training centre, after all what is the use of a skill if it is not shared?” Another graduate, Rizwan, 16, had never been able to go to primary school. But since joining Building Young Futures he now has developed the confidence to apply for work in local businesses as well as a hope to open up his own electrical repair shop in the future.

The partnership between Barclays and UNICEF is also working with national and local governments to influence policies that will unlock resources and support, benefiting many more young people both now and over the long term. The intention of the programme is to demonstrate a working model that can be replicated in large scale. In our view, the government should encourage and provide support to the Building Young Futures programme so that it can be extended widely, including to other provinces in Pakistan, thus creating equal opportunities for those poorest and most vulnerable adolescents in the country.

Private Universities Fees Structure to be Regulated

Addressing a recent news conference, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) said that consultation is under way to regulate fees structure of private universities. According to Dr. Ahmed, Government Universities cannot increase fees more than 10 percent under the HEC policy. There is no such regulation or guidelines for private universities when it comes to how much fees they are charging to students.

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While the quality of Pakistan’s private universities varies widely, they all share some common traits. Most of them have adopted the American model of higher education, which features a four-year bachelor's degree and system of credits. The quality criterion of these private universities is regulated by the HEC, which lists all the universities in its ranking system. We are in favour of Dr. Ahmed’s suggestion that private universities fees should be regulated to some extent, else we fear it may lead to a further commercialisation of higher education and a two-tiered system based on wealth. We do not believe that the quality of universities would suffer as a result, as competition among universities would remain the same.

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