Inspirational Story of University-Going Daughters of Karachi's Rickshaw Driver

Three daughters of a Karachi rickshaw driver named Amjad Ali are attending top universities in Pakistan. All three graduated from The Citizens Foundation's K-12 schools located across Pakistan, including poor districts of Pakistan's megacity of nearly 20 million residents. Amina Amjad, the eldest is studying at Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) to become a medical doctor, the second daughter is enrolled in Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZBIST) to become an engineer and the third Muskan Amjad is going to the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi's top business school on a full scholarship.

Girls' Education: 

Muskan Amjad
This would be unusual for a poor man's children attending top universities regardless of gender. What makes it particularly noteworthy is that these are daughters of a poor man in a country where girls' education is often ignored.  “People often mocked and criticized me, saying that girls are bound to get married and move out and to stop wasting my hard-earned money on my daughters,” Amjad Ali told hosts of Samaa TV, a private television channel in Pakistan.  The Citizens Foundation (TCF) making it possible by making K-12 education accessible and affordable for Pakistan's disadvantaged children.  There are many success stories of TCF alumni posted on TCF's Facebook page.


Back in 2013, another TCF alumna Anum Fatima, a resident of Ibrahim Goth slum located near Karachi's Steel Town, made history; she went to Harvard Business School 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.

Karachi Rickshaw Driver Amjad Ali and Family 


The Citizens Foundation: 

The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is a non-profit organization, and operates one of the largest privately owned networks of low-cost formal schools in Pakistan. The Foundation runs 1,567 school units, educating 252,000 students through 12,000 teachers and principals, with over 17,400 employees. It has very low overhead by Pakistani NGO's standards. Approximately 94% of the Foundation's expenditure is allocated to the Education program.

Pakistan Truck Art Message From A Girl: "Let me Study; Let me Advance"

TCF plays a very important role in the lives of its students during school and after they graduate. It runs an Alumni Development Program (ADP) where successful alumni inspire and mentor students and fellow TCF alumni.  Muskan Amjad volunteers for ADP.

If you read Pakistan media headlines and donation-seeking NGOs and activists' reports these days, you'd conclude that the social sector situation is entirely hopeless. However, if you look at children's education and health trend lines based on data from credible international sources, you would feel a sense of optimism. This exercise gives new meaning to what former US President Bill Clinton has said: Follow the trend lines, not the headlines. Unlike the alarming headlines, the trend lines in Pakistan show rising school enrollment rates and declining infant mortality rates.

Key Social Indicators:

The quickest way to assess Pakistan's social sector progress is to look at two key indicators:  School enrollment rates and infant mortality. These basic social indicators capture the state of schooling, nutrition and health care. Pakistan is continuing to make slow but steady progress on both of these indicators. Anything that can be done to accelerate the pace will help Pakistan move up to higher levels as proposed by Dr. Hans Rosling and adopted by the United Nations. 

Rising Primary Enrollment:

Gross enrollment in Pakistani primary schools exceeded 97% in 2016, up from 92% ten years ago. Gross enrollment rate (GER) is different from net enrollment rate (NER). The former refers to primary enrollment of all students of all ages while the latter counts enrolled students as percentage of students in the official primary age bracket. The primary NER in Pakistan is significantly lower but the higher GER indicates many of these kids eventually enroll in primary schools albeit at older ages. 

Source: World Bank Education Statistics


Declining Infant Mortality Rate: 

The infant mortality rate (IMR), defined as the number of deaths in children under 1 year of age per 1000 live births in the same year, is universally regarded as a highly sensitive (proxy) measure of population health.  A declining rate is an indication of improving health. IMR in Pakistan has declined from 86 in 1990-91 to 74 in 2012-13 and 62 in the latest survey in 2017-18.

Pakistan Child Mortality Rates. Source: PDHS 2017-18

During the 5 years immediately preceding the survey, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 62 deaths per 1,000 live births. The child mortality rate was 13 deaths per 1,000 children surviving to age 12 months, while the overall under-5 mortality rate was 74 deaths per 1,000 live births. Eighty-four percent of all deaths among children under age 5 in Pakistan take place before a child’s first birthday, with 57% occurring during the first month of life (42 deaths per 1,000 live births).

Human Development Ranking:

It appears that improvements in education and health care indicators in Pakistan are slower than other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) represents human progress in one indicator that combines information on people’s health, education and income.

Pakistan's Human Development Growth Rate By Decades. Source: HDR 2018

Pakistan saw average annual HDI (Human Development Index) growth rate of 1.08% in 1990-2000, 1.57% in 2000-2010 and 0.95% in 2010-2017, according to Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update.  The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future:

Pakistani leaders should heed the recommendations of a recent report by the World Bank titled "Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future" regarding investments in the people. Here's a key excerpt of the World Bank report:

"Pakistan’s greatest asset is its people – a young population of 208 million. This large population can transform into a demographic dividend that drives economic growth. To achieve that, Pakistan must act fast and strategically to: i) manage population growth and improve maternal health, ii) improve early childhood development, focusing on nutrition and health, and iii) boost spending on education and skills for all, according to the report".

Summary: 

The story of Muskan Amjad shows that the state of Pakistan's social sector is not as dire as the headlines suggest. There's reason for optimism. Key indicators show that education and health care in Pakistan are improving but such improvements are slower than in other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018. One of the biggest challenges facing the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is to significantly accelerate human development rates in Pakistan.

Here's a video clip of Amjad Ali and his family's appearance on Samaa TV's Naya Din show:

https://youtu.be/7qXI93xdOn8



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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Dubai-based ‘Coded Minds’ launching its Pakistan operations

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/487837-dubai-based-coded-minds-launching-its-pakistan-operations

Karachi: A Dubai-based global education company, Coded Minds, that offers iSTEAM (Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) subjects, is launching its Pakistan operations by organizing its first-ever summer camp in Karachi.

With a vision to bring good quality advanced technology education at the grassroots level, Coded Minds’s first Summer Camp in Karachi is being offered at an affordable cost.


“We are very excited that we will be able to serve the education sector in Pakistan,” says Omar Farooqui, founder, and president of Coded Minds. Since its launch, in 2017 the company has grown rapidly in the Middle East and Asia.

“We are now officially registered in Pakistan and we aim to provide the best education to the young generation of the country so that they can play a crucial role not just for Pakistan but also at the global level,” Farooqui said.

“There is a major misconception that technology education is expensive. It is completely the other way round. The price point of our first ever summer camp actually reflects the same. We believe quality education has not just to be affordable but also reachable to the grass root level.”

Farooqui, who has had meetings with President of Pakistan Dr Alvi and the Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood in February 2019, says that Pakistani talent can rule the world if they are provided with the right skills and education.

The five-day Summer Camp will continue from June 24-28 in the North Nazimabad area.

The courses offered are Introduction to Programming, Scratch Jr., App Development.

Children between the ages of 4-13 will be able to attend this course.
Riaz Haq said…
Enough funds allocated for education sector in KP budget: minister

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/489322-enough-funds-allocated-for-education-sector-in-kp-budget-minister

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Finance Taimoor Salim Jhagra on Monday informed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly that the government had allocated enough funds for the education sector in the budget.

He was responding to a point of order raised by Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani about cut in education budget. The minister also said that efforts were being made to improve the quality of education. Taimoor Jhagra added the provincial government had spent huge amount on providing facilities to the government schools across the province.

The minister said the government had planned to abolish 23 training centres for teachers in the province as these were not functioning properly in the past. He said the government had allocated extra budget for the training as qualified and well-trained teachers could impart quality education to students.

The minister informed the House that recruitment would be made in education, health and other departments through fair and transparent process. He said the government was not politicising the creation of jobs and posting and transfer in government departments.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani said that he had learnt from officials concerned that the government had planned to close down 23 training centres for teachers He said the move would deprive the teacher community of training to improve their teaching skills.

The legislator also quoted a media report in the House that the government would not fill about 84,000 vacant posts in various government departments for next three years. "On the one hand the PTI leaders are claiming that the government will provide 10 million jobs to the youth but on the other it is not filling out the vacant posts," he said, adding that extension in retirement age of the government servants would cut new jobs.
Riaz Haq said…
World Bank Group
Pakistan@100
From Poverty
to Equity

Policy Note
March 2019

Intergenerational Income Mobility

Pakistan has made substantial progress in terms of poverty reduction and overall
improvementin standards of living over the past decades. The process of economic development
in Pakistan has led to absolute upward mobility across generations.

Children and youth living in today’s Pakistan experience a much higher quality of life than their grandparents. If we look at the
period from the early 1970s to the present, welfare as measured by GDP per capita (calculated in
2010 US$) increased 2.5 times from US$453 to US$1,178. Social indicators have also improved
significantly. For example, a child born in Pakistan today can expect to live, on average, more than a
decade longer than a child born two generations ago and achieve higher educational levels.
Nonetheless, the picture is less positive when considering intergenerational mobility (IGM) from a
relative perspective, that is, the extent to which an individual’s position on the economic ladder
within a society is independent of the position of the individual’s parents (Box 3).


Intergenerational Education Mobility


A recent report (World Bank, 2018b) analyzing trends in IGM in education across 146
countries indicates that Pakistan ranks among the worst performing countries in absolute
educational mobility, defined as the share of adults that are more educated than their parents, and
relative mobility, defined as the correlation between individuals’ education and that of their parents.
Pakistan also ranks among the 10 worst performing countries when looking at the share of
individuals in the 1980s’ generation who made it to the top quartile of education out of all those born
to parents with education in the bottom half of their generation. Ideally, if one’s ability to obtain an
education did not depend on how well educated one’s parents are, the share would be 25 percent. In
the case of Pakistan, only 9.4 percent of individuals born in the bottom half make it to the top
compared with a median of 15 percent among developing economies.

Compared with other South Asian countries (in IGM in education), Pakistan is doing marginally better than India (8.9 percent) and Bangladesh (8.6 percent), but worse than Nepal (11.4 percent), Afghanistan (12.3 percent), Sri Lanka (15.9 percent),
and the Maldives (24.8 percent).

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/868741552632296526/Pakistan-at-Hundred-From-Poverty-to-Equity
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…
NETSOL’s Education Support Program Touching Lives

https://magazine.cxoforum.global/netsols-education-support-program-touching-lives/


NETSOL’s Education Support Program (NESP) has proved to be a huge success after the company reported that it has hired 3 ambitious women who were the daughters of security guards working at NETSOL.


NETSOL has been actively involved in contributing to the education sector. The company has been recognized for its NESTOL Education Support Program (NESP) by PASHA Awards in 2019. The NESP Program is specifically designed to provide support to the children of underprivileged employees. The program covers almost 500 children who are working in NETSOL’s “Admin Support Function”. Moreover, the company makes sure that the children attend english-medium schools only. The students enrolled in the program can gain access to quality education from schools located all over Pakistan.

NETSOL’s effort to contribute to society has indeed bore fruit with the exciting news that three young females who are daughters of security guards have been hired in NETSOL’s IT department. The company stands true to its vision:
Riaz Haq said…
Congrats #ParagAgrawal! Now to all those “liberal” #Pakistanis bashing #Pakistan by invoking some of the worst #Islamophobic stereotypes of #Muslims as “terrorists”, here’s an uplifting story of a #Karachi slum girl who’s now a neurology resident in #US. https://www.newsweek.com/slums-pakistan-school-doctor-1640783

Dr. Sidra Saleem's story

I grew up in a very small urban slum, between New Karachi and Gulshan-e-Maymar in Karachi, Pakistan. These slums—called katchi abadis—are areas that are not recognized by the government and so they don't get access to healthcare, education and basic necessities. The houses are small, not well maintained and roads are not constructed properly so public transport doesn't service the area. Electricity is not available on any set schedule and we didn't have addresses to receive mail.

Our house had three rooms for myself and my four siblings, my parents and my grandparents, but there were people living in worse conditions around us. Some of our neighbours had up to 10 children and they lived in one room, all sleeping on the floor.

My father is from a very small village in central Pakistan but he migrated to our katchi abadi to work as a labourer and his monthly income was the equivalent of U.S. $200 a month. Our circumstances were difficult, $200 is nothing, so it was hard to make ends
meet and there was a constant struggle for basic necessities. We would have to think several times before buying a single item, and my family and I only bought new clothes on special occasions, once or twice a year. We never had the chance to dine out or go to malls. The whole world outside our neighborhood was a "different world" to us.
As a child, I had always wanted to be a doctor and in 6th grade I made the decision to pursue that goal. However, in the back of my mind I knew that the only way for me would be to get into a government funded medical school. Privately funded schools charged a lot, and I knew I wouldn't be able to afford it. But I knew I could work hard; that was in my hands.

When I was in grade 6 or 7, I also began tutoring other students and I continued doing that all the way through to the end of medical school. I didn't earn much, only $50-100 a month for up to four hours of tutoring a day. By 10th grade, when I was 15, all schools in the education system held exams for students. I was among the very top students, scoring around 90 percent in the exams.

That was one of the happiest days of my childhood, not only for me and my family but also for my teachers. It made all of us realize that I had a bright future ahead. I then received a scholarship from the State Bank of Pakistan and went to an intermediate college. Despite the college being far from my home, there was a contentment from knowing I didn't have to worry about finances.

However, the other students mostly came from very expensive private schools and had their own personal transport and personal tutors. It was difficult, because I was not able to participate in their conversations other than about school. That was the first time I really felt that life is unfair and harder for the poor. I remember I went home to talk with my old school teachers, and they encouraged me to make my comparisons based on intellect and hard work, not money. By the end of Grade 12, I ranked 24th out of over 10,000 students in Karachi.



But there aren't very many medical schools in Pakistan, and entry into them is competitive. And, out of thousands of students who apply, perhaps only a few hundred receive government scholarships. I was fortunate enough to be among the students who received a scholarship.
Riaz Haq said…
TCF Is Being Featured At Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Best Practice Programme

https://www.tcf.org.pk/2021/11/tcf-expo-2020-dubai-global-best-practice/

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…
ASER Report Findings:

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/913975-educational-outcomes

These poor living conditions (in urban slums) are also reflected in the delivery of education. Around 20 percent of the urban slums surveyed did not have a government school. The majority of children living in the surveyed urban slums were enrolled in private schools (59 percent) that include madrassahs (eight percent) and non-formal education providers (one percent) and the remaining children (41 percent) were enrolled in government schools. Enrolment is higher in the 5-10 age bracket, while one in three children of 16-year-old is out of school.

There are also inter-district variations. Government school enrolment is higher in Lahore (59 percent) while private school enrolment is higher in Korangi, Karachi (again 59 percent). In terms of madrassah enrolment, it varies between two and three percent in Lahore, Malir, and Korangi, and it is 24 percent in Karachi-West where one in four children is studying in a madrassah.

Girls relatively fall behind in terms of enrolment. With regard to evaluating learning outcomes, children studying in urban slums lag behind the ASER assessment in 2019 in these very same districts conducted as part of the ASER survey. However, urban slums of these four districts are being assessed systematically for the first time in this pilot study.

According to the report, “In 2019, learning outcomes (5-16 year old) gathered in the same four districts revealed Urdu/Sindhi story reading at 46 percent, while in 2021 the four district katchi abadis, story reading in Urdu/Sindhi is 35 percent. For two-digit division in 2019, 41 percent children were competent, while in katchi abadis in 2021, it is 26 percent; in 2019, 46 percent children could read sentences in English, but in katchi abadis in 2021, 37 percent children can read English sentences. The challenges can be interrogated by gender, institution, mother tongue, psychosocial well-being etc.”

Despite challenges, girls performed relatively better in numeracy and literacy in urban slums. Similarly, children studying in private schools showed relatively better results than those studying in government schools. It is again something that has already been highlighted by me in an article ‘Private education’ (October 31) published on these pages. Madrassah students’ educational outcomes were extremely poor. Only 7.4 percent could read a story in Urdu/Sindhi, 10 percent could read sentences in English, and 4.4 percent of more than 400 madrassah students (5-16 years old) who were assessed as part of the pilot study could solve division problems.

The other important factors are learning in the mother tongue, household wealth, parents’ – particularly mother’s – education, technology availability and usage that are positively correlated with higher learning outcomes of children. The report also states that psychosocial well-being is important, and as someone who has always believed and practised in never ever giving up and always having a good fight with a positive frame of mind no matter how difficult and arduous circumstances might be at some point in one’s life, one sees the wisdom in including this variable in the report while assessing children’s well-being.

Another positive finding of the report is that technology and internet usage is prevalent in the majority of houses in urban slums. Roughly 80 percent of the households have mobile phones – 63 percent even have smartphones – and 21 percent have laptops/computers. In total, one-third of the participating households (33 percent) stated that they use the internet. This shows that there is tremendous potential for web-based technology-oriented learning and livelihoods solutions.


Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s generational shift
By Dr Ayesha RazzaqueMay 22, 2022

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/959718-pakistan-s-generational-shift

Last year saw the publication of ‘Womansplaining – Navigating Activism, Politics and Modernity in Pakistan,’ a book edited by Federal Minister Sherry Rehman to which I was able to contribute a chapter. It connected education with women’s rights and argued that indigenous movements like the Aurat March should focus on education as a core part of their agenda.

Detractors of Pakistan’s women’s rights movement have been taking potshots at it by claiming that the issues it raises are not the issues of ‘real’ (read: rural) women. Put aside for a minute the fact that Pakistan’s rural population now accounts for 62 per cent, down from 72 per cent in 1980, and is on a steady decline. While the numbers may differ, and women’s power to negotiate may differ, rural and urban women share basic challenges and better education can yield similar opportunities and improvements in life circumstances.

Indigenous progressive and women’s rights movements have adopted the cause of education as an agenda item but should make it front and center, specifically K-12 education for girls in rural areas. New data further substantiates that connection with numbers. Education up to the higher secondary level, just the education that rural schools offer today, is the enabler that brings increased women’s labour force participation, delayed first marriage, lower rates of consanguinity, increased income, increased spousal income, and is a contributing factor to greater freedom of movement and communication – all positives.

Studies exploring the relationships between levels of education and life circumstances around the world are plentiful and capture the situation at a point and place in time. The Learning and Educational Achievements in Pakistan Schools (LEAPS) programme is qualitatively different because it already spans a period of almost two decades. The LEAPS programme has been tracking lower- and middle-income households in 120 randomly selected villages across three districts in rural Punjab since 2003. It has been revisiting them since then, most recently for the sixth time in 2018, roughly once every three years. That makes it one of the largest and longest panels of households in lower- and middle-income countries. This study is also unique as it looks at return on investment in education beyond an individual’s income and looks into the possible spillover into life circumstances and quality-of-life which is especially interesting for those interested in women empowerment and feminist movements.

In this latest round it surveyed 2006 women now aged 20-30. All these women were from the same 120 birth villages and have been tracked to their marital homes within or outside the village if they have married, migrated or moved for any other reason. Preliminary descriptive results of the long-running LEAPS study tell interesting stories. The headline finding of LEAPS investigators is that Pakistan is in the midst of a ‘generational shift’ where, for the first time in its education history, we have a ‘critical mass of moderately educated women’.

In this generation only 18.7 per cent of rural women are without an education, down from 75.5 per cent from their mothers’ generation. Nearly 50 per cent have an education ranging from a primary to secondary education, up from just 20 per cent in the previous generation. A stunning 22.9 per cent have a higher secondary or above education, up from an almost nothing 0.3 per cent in their previous generation.



-----------

Existing plans, at least in the domain of education, remain unguided by some of the very excellent evidence that is available. Meanwhile, the Planning Commission is organizing a ‘Turnaround Pakistan’ conference perhaps as early as May 28 to conduct national consultations. Whether a hurriedly thrown together conference can change the way business is done remains to be seen.

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