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


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


Examples include:

1. First women paratroopers inducted in Pakistan Army.


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


3. First female jirga held in Pakistan.


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


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


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

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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. ....

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.”

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…
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


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.,

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
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.

Riaz Haq said…
Amjad Ali, #Karachi rickshaw driver, father of six daughters sending them all to school in #Pakistan. One of his daughter Muskan just won a scholarship to study at top #business school. #education #highereducation https://www.universityworldnews.com/post.php?story=2019062115073239


In a country where many women are still discouraged from getting an education and are married off early, Amjad Ali, a father of six daughters, and a rickshaw driver, has broken the mould by sending his daughters to Karachi’s leading universities, reports Samaa TV.

“People often mocked and criticised me, saying that girls are bound to get married and move out and to stop wasting my hard-earned money on my daughters,” he said.

But one of his daughters, Muskan, recently received a scholarship from the Institute of Business Administration, which is one of the top business schools in the country. “It was one of the happiest days of my life,” he said. “Be it a son or a daughter, the right to education is equal for all,” he believes.

Abdullah J. said…
Muskan who is attending IBA is a graduate of TCF. Her other siblings are currently enrolled in TCF school. Her father Amjad who was a rickshaw driver is now employed at TCF as van driver. TCF has arranged scholarship for Muskan to pursue her education at IBA.
Riaz Haq said…
Muskan’s father is a rickshaw driver. She is now of 12 ⁦@TCFPak⁩ alum at IBA, thanks to a mentoring program started by our first IBA student Nadeem Hussain (who is now a World Bank employee on education.) Muskan’s sisters go to Dow & Szabist. She has 4 more sisters at TCF.

Riaz Haq said…
'Never imagined beyond my neighborhood': Taunton senior's journey from Haripur, #Pakistan to #Cornell. Spoke Urdu & Hindko but she was able to pick up English pretty quickly, becoming comfortable with it within her first year in #NewJersey https://www.tauntongazette.com/story/news/education/2021/05/11/taunton-high-school-senior-study-computer-science-cornell-mahnoor-abbas/4967683001/ via @tauntontogo

Taunton High School senior MahNoor Abbas and her family immigrated to the United States from Pakistan to have access to better opportunities.

In September, 17-year-old Abbas will achieve that goal, attending Cornell University to study computer science.

"I never imagined beyond my neighborhood," she said. "But now I'm excited to be going. My family made sacrifices so I could do this, and it's paying off."

Abbas, grew up in a small town in Pakistan outside Haripur. In 2006, when she was still a small child, her father and two of her siblings moved to the U.S.

Abbas's family expected her mother, herself and two other siblings to be able to join them a year or so after her father immigrated, but because of the U.S. immigration system, they ended up waiting 10 years before being allowed to immigrate.

"[My mother] was the one there taking care of us and making sure we took advantage of better opportunities," she said.

One of those opportunities was moving from a public to private school, which Abbas was able to do in the fourth grade.

Finally, during Abbas's eighth grade year, she, her mother and her siblings joined her father in Taunton.

While Abbas was grateful to have her family united, moving to America was no cake walk. She said she quickly realized that the social norms were very different.

"People were much less concerned with doing things for others and their community," she said. "It was much more individualistic, like people were focused on getting ahead in terms of their own success."

At first, Abbas encountered a language barrier, but already speaking two other languages — Urdu and Hindko — she was able to pick up English pretty quickly, becoming comfortable with it within her first year in Taunton.

Abbas also encountered discrimination due to being Muslim, such as other high schoolers questioning whether it is a privilege or a right for her to wear a hijab in school.

Another issue has been people associating her religion with terrorism.

"People think it's ok to call it 'Islamic terrorism' — that's something I've had to correct people on," she said. "I don't think [terrorism] is something that should be associated with my religion. Those men think they are following the religion, but they aren't."
Riaz Haq said…
TCF Is Being Featured At Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Best Practice Programme


TCF started with a dream to educate the most vulnerable children of Pakistan, thus enabling them to create a better future for themselves, and become agents of positive change. While this dream started with five schools, today TCF’s school network is spread across Pakistan, with 1,687 schools present in even the most remote areas of the country.

TCF at Expo 2020 Dubai
As a testament to TCF’s promise to provide quality education, TCF has been selected as one of the top 25 projects worldwide to be showcased at the Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Best Practice Programme, ‘Small Steps, Big Leaps’, Solutions for Sustainable Impact. TCF was selected after a review of 1,175 applicant programmes from 141 countries by an international committee.

The Global Best Practice Programme is an initiative that recognises organisations from around the world that have provided tangible, adaptable and scalable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. It sheds light on projects for global visibility and knowledge that are in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and have localised the Global Agenda in their countries, communities, neighbourhoods and households to ensure that no one is left behind. Amongst the five key topics the programme focuses on – including inclusive and sustainable service delivery, water and energy security, resilient habitats, and livelihoods and enterprise development – TCF has been selected in the social development category for its unique educational model in Pakistan.

The Global Best Practice Programme will highlight TCF from 2nd Dec 2021 – 2nd Jan 2022 as one of the successful and impactful solutions in the Best Practice Area (BPA) at Expo 2020 Dubai. The Best Practice Area (BPA) will be located in the Opportunity Pavilion next to the UN Hub at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Best Practice Area (BPA) will be a multifunctional exhibition and programming space housed within the Opportunity Pavilion, where different development best practices will be showcased and shared, thus modelling the idea of an “interactive hub” as a reflection of Expo’s overall theme – Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.

Riaz Haq said…
The education spending multiplier: Evidence from schools in Pakistan
Tahir Andrabi Natalie Bau Jishnu Das Naureen Karachiwalla Asim Ijaz Khwaja / 11 Jun 2023


Private schools in Pakistan, as in many other countries, are financed almost entirely through school fees. Therefore, when public schools improve, private schools must also improve or risk losing valuable revenue as parents opt for public schools. This column examines the effect of a public school grants programme in rural Pakistan and estimates the ‘education multiplier’ for the effect of public funding on private sector school quality. The authors find that grants given to public schools increase test scores in both public and private schools as a result of increased competition.

In the past, policymakers worried that there were not enough schools for children in low- and middle-income countries. But today, millions of children in these countries live in villages or neighbourhoods where they can choose from multiple public or private schools. Figure 1, for instance, shows a typical village in the Learning and Educational Achievement in Pakistan Schools (LEAPS) study. The village takes 20 minutes to cross on foot, but has five private and two public schools. The average village in the LEAPS sample has 7.3 schools, and 60 to 70% of the rural population in Punjab (Pakistan’s largest province) lives in such environments. If we include cities, that fraction rises to more than 90%.

That is a big deal for public policy, which has historically failed to account for the relationship between public policy and the private sector in education.

To see why, note that private schools in Pakistan, like in many other countries, are financed almost entirely through school fees, which parents must be willing to pay. Therefore, when public schools improve, private schools must respond, or face the risk of losing valuable revenue as children opt to attend improved public schools. Thus, understanding the total impact of any programme - even those targeted purely to public schools - requires considering its effect on all other schools in the market, not just on the school where the intervention was implemented, as accounting for the total effects can lead to very different conclusions about effectiveness. Our new paper (Andrabi et al. 2023) measures the effect of a public school grants programme in rural Pakistan and estimates the ‘education multiplier’ for the effect of public funding on private sector school quality.

Riaz Haq said…
The education spending multiplier: Evidence from schools in Pakistan
Tahir Andrabi Natalie Bau Jishnu Das Naureen Karachiwalla Asim Ijaz Khwaja / 11 Jun 2023


Private school fees and their entry or exit into the schooling market are not affected
Interestingly, we do not find evidence of a treatment effect on private school fees, exits (or entries) or market shares - by 2011, the market share of private schools was the same in treatment and control villages. The fact that market share did not change does not mean that parents do not respond to or observe improvements in school quality. Rather, enrolment shares in 2011 are an equilibrium outcome following quality changes in both sectors.

Using standard methods from the literature (Dhaliwal et al. 2013), we then show that the intervention increased test scores in public schools by 1.18 standard deviations for every US$100 in additional spending. But once we factor in improvement in private schools as well, cost-effectiveness increases by 85% to 2.18 standard deviations for every $100 in additional public funding, putting the programme among a small group of highly cost-effective interventions (see Evans and Yuan 2022). Finally, the education multiplier also had fundamental implications for how programmes should be targeted. We show that regardless of whether the government is interested in maximising test score gains from the programme or is interested both in equity and gains, accounting for the education multiplier changes the optimal geographical targeting and distribution of grants across villages.

Riaz Haq said…

The education spending multiplier: Evidence from schools in Pakistan
Tahir Andrabi Natalie Bau Jishnu Das Naureen Karachiwalla Asim Ijaz Khwaja / 11 Jun 2023


Our first main result, that grants to public schools increased test scores, contrasts with an earlier literature where null effects were more common (e.g. Das et. al. 2013, Mbiti et. al. 2019). We may now need to move beyond such ‘grant pessimism’ precisely because we have learned from the previous failures. In contrast to previous grants in India and Zambia, which were offset by parents because they were small, the grants here were much larger and could be used for infrastructure improvements (Das et al. 2013). Indeed, grant size and test score improvements are positively correlated in this programme.

In addition, the schools could use the grants to hire teachers on temporary contracts. Again, this policy reflected what we had learned from prior research, which has consistently shown that teachers hired on temporary contracts may be more effective because they face stronger career incentives (Duflo et al. 2015, Muralidharan and Sundararaman 2013, Bau and Das 2020).

Finally, to avoid the problems of centrally mandated expenditures that are not responsive to local needs as well as potential misuse, schools worked with a reputed NGO and a reconstituted school council to determine investment priorities that were then funded through the grant.

Beyond showing that public school grants can increase test scores, this study demonstrates the existence of a large education multiplier from the public to the private sector. Hundreds of millions of children live in neighbourhoods/villages with substantial school choice, and many of the schools that they can choose from are private schools that survive on school fees. In this highly interconnected world, the idea that there are `programmes for public schools’ and `programmes for private schools’ and that the two can be kept separate is no longer tenable. Failing to account for the effect of public sector interventions on the private sector - ex-ante in the design of the programme and ex-post in its evaluation – leads to less effective interventions and inaccurate evaluations. In our case, restricting the focus to public schools would have led to an entirely different estimate of the programme’s cost effectiveness.

While we show that taking the private sector into account is crucial, spillovers on private schools need not always be positive. Dinerstein and Smith (2021) find that in New York City a public-school improvement programme led to children leaving private schools, and these schools then shutting down. In the Dominican Republic, Nielson et al. (2020) show that a huge school construction programme led to the closure of some private schools, but with quality improvements among the survivors. But across all these studies, the clear message is that the days when public school programmes would have effects only on public schools are over. We need to think of the full schooling environment and not just the part in which we have intervened.

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