School’s new managers ensure that children learn ‘d’ is for dog instead of dirty

Gul Hasan Lashari Complex has been completely transformed since it was adopted.

Noman Ahmed November 06, 2012

KARACHI: Not too long ago, the students of the Gul Hasan Lashari Complex used to sit on dilapidated benches, trying to discern what their teachers had written on the cracked blackboards with peeling paint. Then, the altruism of a few individuals transformed all of this.

About 850 children studying in 11 different schools used to share the Complex located on Gizri Road, with classes for girls in the morning and in the evening for boys. But there was complete chaos -schools’ timings were not fixed and very often classes from one school eat up time from another.

Thirteen high school and university graduates, including Abdul Haseeb from Nixor College’s batch of 2011, formed a not-for-profit organisation called Justuju, in July last year and adopted four of the 11 schools. “The aim was to uplift the most important asset of the country: its youth,” Haseeb told The Express Tribune.

The organisation was not alone - Ravians Educational Society Trust (REST), another organisation headed by Karachi’s former commissioner Ziaul Islam, adopted six other schools. He told The Express Tribune that when they first adopted the schools, it was an “administrative nightmare” to manage all of them in one premises. The schools had their own sets of teachers and administrators who would often squabble with each other. “The absence of a central management authority was creating chaos…there was very little learning in all schools.”

Though this may sound horrifying, it is a more pervasive phenomenon in Karachi - an official at the education department’s reform support unit told The Express Tribune that more than 3,600 public schools are sharing around 900 buildings between them.

Finally in April this year, the provincial education department merged all the schools at the Complex into one: the Government Girls Secondary Campus School. Farhat Qureshi, a headmistress from one of the previous schools, was appointed as its principal.

Subsequently, a governing body consisting three members each from the two non-profit organizations, REST and Justuju, adopted the campus under the government’s “Adopt a school” policy.

The two different shifts were eradicated and the school is now operated in one timeslot. This meant that school timings increased to six hours, a two-hour addition to the previous duration of the school day.

“We wish to create an environment which will help and encourage each student to achieve their potential,” said Rafia Khan, the campus’ programme coordinator.

During the summers, the Complex went through a lot of infrastructural changes and the government provided grant of Rs1 million so that it could be spruced up. A new kindergarten class was set up and the building’s facade, classrooms and blackboards were painted. Clean bathrooms and access to clean drinking water, which are a luxury in Karachi’s public sector schools, were made available to the children. A computer lab and a library are the next priority.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2012.


well wisher | 9 years ago | Reply

Bravo! "A small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind"

HH | 9 years ago | Reply

Great!! Keep it up guys!!!

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