Education Program-An Introduction
The strategic goal of CMDO’s education program is to contribute in achieving universal primary education in FATA and KP province through enabling environment for the enhancement of enrolment. CMDO has more than 11 years experience (since July 2004) in a variety of interventions for the promotion of education for children in KP and FATA. It provides education services in line with MGD Goals and Government of Pakistan targets. This includes the expansion of education services as means for withdrawing children from labour and any other unhealthy enterprises. CMDO efforts in this regard include formal quality education, transitional non formal education, early childhood education, adult literacy program, institutional development, reconstruction and rehabilitation of schools, capacity building of teachers and district/agency education departments, and school supplies assistance program. These activities were designed to attract and retain children at schools and prevent drop out by mitigating discouraging aspects of the system. Additionally, a program on the prevention of children from engagement in armed conflicts focus directly on raising awareness of the civil society on the issue besides advocacy and lobbying with the authorities to create an enabling environment for children through appropriate policy, legislation, and implementation. CMDO is also working for institutional strengthening, smooth implementation of legislation and effective administration of schools while closely working with the government education department for filling the gaps within the institutions.
One of the major contributions of CMDO in education is providing quality education to the extremely vulnerable children in FATA and KP. CMDO has been implementing numerous projects with the support of several donors in KP and FATA. CMDO at present and in the past together has directly educated over 15,300 children (56% girls) under its education and literacy program in KP and FATA. This includes establishment of 42 Early Childhood Education centers (ECEs) with total enrolment of 1,585 children, established 125 Transitional Non formal Education centers (NFEs) with total enrolment of 4,496 children, provided school supplies including books, stationery, school bags, stitched uniforms and shoes to 4,675 children under school supplies assistance program, provided teaching aid and teachers’ and students furniture in 83 government primary schools, educated 1,224 mothers under literacy program, and upgraded/rehabilitated 117 primary and middle schools under infrastructure improvement program, established five English Medium Model schools with 568 enrolment, established 70Learning Resource Centres in government schools and trained 542 government and NFEs teachers.
The wide range of CMDO education services intend to withdraw people from extreme poverty, towards enhanced opportunities of livelihoods through increased education and literacy levels. In the current scenario where extremism and religious militancy is growing and children and youth are caught in its vortex an enhanced literacy will combat radicalism and preventing children from engagement in armed conflicts and extremism.
Education Program Interventions
Five (05) Community Based Replicable English Model Primary Schools, established in Jamrud Tehsils of Khyber agency-FATA, are providing sustainable quality formal education to children. The total number of children benefiting from these schools is 568 among whom 45% are girls which is a great achievement especially in area like FATA where the ratio of female education is very low. Most of the students are from low income class as they could not afford education and were potentially at high risk of remaining illiterate and falling into child labour and radicalism. All these schools provide primary education to children at an affordable cost of rupees 100 per month. The fee has been imposed for the reason of sustainability because after the completion of project tenure the owner ship of these schools will be handed over to the community and fee will be decided at such a breakeven point which will be enough to afford the salaries of teachers and other school expenses. The teachers of these schools are well qualified and trained. They are provided regular counseling and trainings in areas where room for improvement exists and where some shortcomings are felt. Quality is considered a major factor by CMDO in providing education to children and due heed is paid to the maintenance of quality in operating these schools.
Early Childhood Education
Another milestone of CMDO in the education field is the introduction of Early Childhood Education (ECE) in KP and FATA for children between the aged 4-6 years. It is a pre-schooling programme which ensures the enrolment of the children who are vulnerable to remaining out of schools due to poverty or illiteracy in their family particularly parents. Under this intervention special trainings were given to ECE facilitators, recruited from the local community, in activity based teaching. Alongside that an attractive environment was created, where several recreational facilities were provided for the children to learn through games, joyful learning kits and interaction with facilitators. Above all the centers offered very friendly environment to children where they could build their confidence in close interaction with the teacher/facilitator. Each centre was hosting 30 children, including females, between the ages of 4-6. CMDO ECE programme has so far educated 1,585 children in 42 centres in Peshawar District, Khyber Agency and Mohmand Agency. They were later enrolled in the schools that housed the ECE centre. The students so mainstreamed were not in position to afford their educational expenses and who were at high risk of remaining illiterate and exposed to child labour, social evils and radicalism.
Non-Formal Education (Transitional Schools)
CMDO’s transitional non-formal transitional education (NFEs) aimed to withdraw and prevent children between the age of 7-12 from child labour and radicalism. It established 125 NFEs with total enrolment of 4,496 children that include 65% girls. It provided free books, stationery, uniforms and shoes. The full primary course was condensed for such special intervention. The accelerated primary course was taught in three to three and half years. These children were then mainstreamed in the formal schools system with their peer group. To support an improved net enrollment, the activity was accompanied by strong social mobilization, sensitization and motivation of parents and communities. 4,496 out of schools children, between the ages of 7-12, engaged in child labour, vulnerable, and/or at risk of falling into child labour were enrolled in 125 Non Formal Education centres established by CMDO in Khyber agency and Peshawar district.
The quality in the non formal transitional education was maintained by restricting the children strength to 30 per centre in areas with moderate population and 40 per centre in areas of thick population and employing well qualified and trained teachers from the local community. The activities of the centers were regularly monitored by trained education promoters besides monitoring staff. Data regarding the performance of teachers and students was gathered by the monitoring team and Education Promoters for analysis of the progress. Regular counseling and facilitation was provided to the teachers for further improvement. At the end of the project 1,975 children were mainstreamed into formal schools. 2,521 children aged 14-16 aged boys and girls who were couldn’t be mainstreamed because of the age factors were trained on various vocational skills along with the provision of tools and accessories.
CMDO signed grand Memorandum of Understanding with the Provincial Government and sub-MOUs with the district/agency line departments for utilizing the government institutions for establishing NFEs, Learning Resource Centers and mainstreaming children completed primary schools into formal education system in upper grades.
CMDO conducted detailed assessment survey for missing facilities in government schools in district Peshawar, Khyber and Mohmand Agencies. The study revealed that 80% schools were lacking drinking water facility, 85% washroom facility, 80% broken electrification, 45% broken windows and doors, 40% no or broken boundary walls and 35% lacking furniture for teachers etc. CMDO reconstructed and rehabilitated a total of 117 non-functional and low performing government primary schools, with almost 50 % government girls’ primary schools, in district Peshawar, Bannu, Lakki Marwat (KP) and Khyber and Mohmand Agencies (FATA). Depending upon the unique requirements of each school informed by an assessment, CMDO provided to these schools drinking water facility, construction/rehabilitation of pour flush latrines, electrifications work, repair and renovations of floors, ceilings, plasters, boundary walls, wood work such as, repairs of window, doors, ventilators white wash etc. The principal tools and techniques also included stakeholder participation, more especially the community in the rehabilitation and renovation process. The community participated in the planning and management of the activities. Provided school furniture for teaching staff and students in 83 schools and established 35 Learning Resource Centres in government schools through school libraries along with activity based teaching kits. These interventions contributed to increase the overall enrolment and ensured longer retention of students because of the enhanced facilities.
School Supplies Assistance Program
Under the School Supplies Assistance Programme 4,675 boys and girls children in 83 government schools have directly benefited in districts Peshawar, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, and Khyber agency. The supplies sought to provide incentive to at risk children to ensure their retention and primary course completion. The supplies included school stitched uniform, shoes, notebooks, school bags, slates, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, geometry boxes etc. Marginalized children were identified through an assessment with participation of the local government elected representatives and school teachers. These children were vulnerable to dropout. Parents’ mobilization campaign was also launched which aimed at motivating parents to pay greater attention to the education of their children. With this in view several focus group discussions and mass meetings were held under which guidance was provided to parents and their problems were notified so that appropriate solution could be found for their problems and their children could be educated.
Formation and Trainings of School Management Committees
For efficient management of schools, CMDO has organized community groups and school management committees. At present and in the past, CMDO has been working with 175 such committees (PTCs) who have been regularly monitoring the whole process and periodical meetings are held with these committees in order to invite their suggestions for making the system more effective. CMDO has trained 1,350 PTCs male and female members in districts Peshawar, Lakki Marwat, Bannu (KP), Khyber Agency and Mohmand Agency (FATA). The committee members are kept updated and trained for improving the effectiveness of interventions. The level of awareness of school management committees in respect of issues and problems associated with education in the country is raised through a systematic strategy. A raised level of local community awareness is intended to raise public pressure groups for policy improvement and development. In the given circumstances, where the public education systems is afflicted with numerous problems ranging from quality to outreach to far flung areas, the strategy to capacitate local communities has proved helpful in implementing the programme. Management and policy advocacy of the education system is expected to bring long lasting improvements in the system.
Literacy for Adult Females
In view of the state of affairs existing with respect to female education in FATA, and given the many disadvantages associated with illiteracy in females, in August 2005 CMDO implemented a project on Female Adult Literacy in Upper Kurram agency. Specifically the project meant to reinforce women specific health, gender justice and political rights related issues through education. It educated 1,224 female adults including housewives and drop- out children in 20 centres in upper Kurram agency in Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The project sought to make females literate through their knowledge and reading skills in Urdu with greater ease and in shorter time for which special primer was introduced. The females thus educated were able to read, write and do simple arithmetic. Students were provided with free textbooks and learning materials. Eight debate competitions were also conducted to raise awareness amongst the target groups. Moreover, they got an insight into health, nutrition, saving and basic agriculture. The management ensured that the lack of facilities in schools viz. boundary walls, toilets facilities, and clean drinking water etc does not works as a disincentive for the female population to go to the centres. Teaching aids like black boards, charts, chalks, mats etc for students were provided by the project. The management, staff, the local community and all stake holders participated in the planning and management of the project. One who can read newspaper and write a simple letter in Urdu served as a standard for literacy.
Capacity Building Teachers Trainings
CMDO has so far trained 542 male and female government teachers including NFE teaching staff on advanced teaching methodologies, student performance evaluation techniques, and improving the quality of education in public schools in districts Peshawar, Lakki Marwat, Bannu (KP), Khyber and Mohmand agencies (FATA). The objective of the training was to build child friendly behavior of the teachers and train them in pedagogy. CMDO has signed an MOU with Provincial Teachers Training Institute (PITE) and ABES Islamabad for NFE, ECE and Formal Schools Teachers training. CMDO has also trained 10 Master Trainers who are already working in education programme as Education Promoters and Social Mobilizers as master trainers who are well versed with the modern tools and techniques of teaching and can impart trainings to teachers. CMDO has launched a systematic programme of capacity building trainings of teachers belonging to Model Schools, NFEs, Literacy Centers, and Early Childhood Education (ECE) centers. 25 teachers capacity building trainings have been conducted internally by trained and well versed education promoters and social organizers so far and more than 100 teachers both male and female have capacitated in these trainings.
Strengthening of Government Institutions
To provide quality education to the children and bring the education system at par with the international standards strengthening of government institutions is of utmost importance. Keeping this in view the education department has signed an MOU with CMDO under which it provided quality assurance tools and techniques to the education department and trained them on ensuring a better monitoring mechanism. The agreement between the parties also included developing an EMIS for the education department and strengthening their monitoring cell. CMDO also trained the staff of education department on Geographic information system which will enable them to track the location of their activities and develop a comprehensive data base on the basis of data acquired. In this regard a three day training workshop was imparted to the education department by GIS department of CMDO and in future more such kind of trainings will be imparted to the education department. CMDO provided IT equipment, developed various databases for school monitoring purposes for the district/agency education department and trained them on the use of advance software’s.
Advocacy and Awareness for Education
Alongside other educational activities and providing material support to individuals an advocacy and awareness campaign is also necessary for the mobilization of parents, communities so that they might pay greater concentration to the education of their children. CMDO believes in participatory approach for work and has developed a network of 1,800 plus community based organizations in KPK and FATA. Besides that CMDO has also established 85 schools management committees which actively participate in CMDO educational centres. Regular meetings are held with members of these committees and organizations for the exchange of views on different issues relating to the activities of CMDO in their areas. All these committees and groups work on behalf of CMDO and raise awareness and mobilize the people for educating children. Members of these committees also provide guidance to the uneducated parents for enrolling their children in schools in order to raise the literacy rate and ratio of enrolment in schools in the area. They regularly arrange meetings with the community and involve local government representatives in these meetings for identifying problems relating to education and finding out solutions for it.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Quality Assurance and Quality Tracking
Major strength of CMDO in assuring quality of work is its monitoring mechanism. Monitoring mechanism of CMDO includes regular field visits by efficient monitoring staff, regular collection of data regarding activities and its analysis, providing regular feedback to staff after their periodical performance appraisal, use of modern techniques like GIS (Geographical Information System) for tracking activities & beneficiaries maintaining a complete profile of each beneficiaries that include information regarding him \ her as well as of family and developing a comprehensive data base.
In order to track quality of work CMDO has developed quality indicators matrix for regular monitoring of the schools and centers. Primarily it captures three targets that include teacher performance, school performance and student performance. Education Promoters collect data on prescribed indicators matrix periodically from each centre for analysis on sophisticated software and generation of reports. The major indicators tracked in the centers are punctuality of teachers and students, Class room environments, Student Subject expertise, lesson plan, Implementation (Lesson well structured and interesting), Links with Previous Knowledge, Written Work, and Direct involvement of Pupils in activities. After the data is being analyzed and performance of each centre students and teachers are assessed the results are then shared with the concerned staff and efforts are undertaken to address weaknesses and bring improvements.
A system for tracking of direct beneficiaries of education programme has been instituted by the management of CMDO education programme. Social organizers and Education promoter associated with the educational projects takes GPS coordinates of the locations and centres of direct beneficiaries and all the corresponding information related to project. The information includes complete profile of the beneficiary and his/her family ranging from number of individuals to their income status. The information is fed into a database which is shown on the map of the area like a dot and the whole profile of each beneficiary and even of the whole centre or village can be obtained by a single touch. This system facilitates the staff and the third party in the monitoring and evaluation of project inputs and impacts. Moreover it also ensures transparency and accountability.
People of Khyber Agency are considered very much inclined towards religion. The society is mainly male dominated and women are not given any stake in decision making process. Approximately 90% Females (girls) do not go to schools for education due to non availability of girls’ schools or cultural constraints; however they get religious education from their elders at their homes. Keeping in view the importance of girls’ education CMDO has convinced elders of the area to allow their female kids for school education. After a successful dialogue with them in 2006 CMDO established 121 Non Formal Education centers (NFE). Noticing positive contribution of CMDO, elders of other areas have requested them to establish NFEs in their areas. They have allowed co-education in some of the NFEs which was another achievement of CMDO. Now in five legendary schools 7 to 12 years old girls receive quality education sitting side by side with boys. Elders of the area allowed CMDO to provide education without discrimination of male or female teachers that shows their trust on CMDO. Presently, 52 NFEs are working in the Khyber Agency wherein 932 female and 810 male students are getting education. CMDO is providing free books and other necessary items to all these students at their respective NFEs.
CMDO’s Future Education Program
In the light of previous education program experiences, CMDO would keep working on up-scaling its education sector activities such as providing quality basic education to children living in poverty, increase children enrolment in schools, mitigate child labour and provide them education opportunities and bring improvements in basic school infrastructure in the intervened areas in FATA/KP. In order to increase community awareness, CMDO would undertake vigorous social mobilization campaigns to sensitize on the importance of educating children. The Village based Talimi Islahi Jirgas could also be formulated to work along with local community institutions in such social mobilization and awareness campaigns.
CMDO should also actively involve concerned district/agency level education departments and social welfare departments in the implementation of child labour laws in their respective areas and brining improvements in public sector educational infrastructures and facilities. CMDO under the education program should also work with them in upgrading existing school building and as well establishing new schools identified and prioritized by its community networks. The existing schools should also be provided with digital labs, libraries, and playgrounds. Similarly, other interventions such as teacher training programs, updating curriculum, and co-curricular activities should also be undertaken on continuous basis in next five years.
The Education Program activities should also include the establishment of model English medium schools to serve as a model for replication on a large scale. The organization should work with sponsors for the improvement of physical condition / infrastructure of public sector schools. Early Childhood Education model will be replicated for ensuring the enrolment of vulnerable children. The concept of participatory monitoring will be promoted through establishment of parent teacher associations (PTAs) in both public sector and new schools. Non formal education centers will mainstream working children between age group 7-11 through education for a period of 2-3 years. Basic Literacy and Skills Centers will provide basic literacy and enhance the skills of youth aged 14-17. Female Adult Literacy centers will provide basic literacy and skills to women. It addition, CMDO under BISP program trained 11,000 female on entrepreneurship skills, business tools, book keeping that enabled them for successful running of the business with the condition to enrolled their children in schools which will have direct impact on the children education.
A database for quality indicators will be established along with a tool for monitoring the services and tracking the effective progress of projects. The system for tracking of direct beneficiaries will be further evolved.