Money Well Spent
Nations are spending BILLIONS on education, as do Pakistan. But by far most money is being spent on fanciful buildings and sponsorship of study abroad. Money should go to where it is most needed and is likely to have the greatest social and economic effect. Following needs special attention:

(A) Basic Study Needs :
Money should be focused on basic needs at schools and colleges. Most essential aspects are building, furniture, library, teacher’s salary, teacher’s accommodation and teacher’s stimulus based on student’s achievement. Most governments are spending on more teachers, small class sizes, top class facilities and more and more elite universities. But emphasis should be on basics i.e. class room for every class, bench and desk for each student, sufficient electric fans in each class room (where electricity is available), toilets for students and staff, play areas and above all drinkable cool water for each student.
(B) Boost Student Achievement : A study has shown that spending on education does not necessarily produce better results. The money should go to the provision of essential missing facilities. I personally visited a poor locality school and the problems faced in that school were:

  1. School boundary wall of the girls primary school was too low and anybody could just jump in. Especially the boys would jump-in in the evening and play games inside that girls school.
  2. Class rooms were less than the number of classes. Resultantly the female students were forced to sit in verandah and open for study.
  3. No drinkable water was available in the school.
  4. No wash room or toilet facility was available, because old toilets roof had fallen down.
  5. Many orphan students were under study but would leave the studies as and when their family felt financial difficulty.
  6. Six classes had been authorized and posted strength of four teachers including headmistress, thus two classes were left with no teacher.
  7. No sweeper had been authorized and posted and thus no cleanliness of school, class rooms or wash rooms could be done.
  8. No gardener (mali) authorized or posted and resultantly lawn was totally barren.
  9. No office and gate attendant authorized or posted, leaving the school at the mercy of the visitors.
(C) Actions Done: The school was adopted by Pasban IT Group, Faisalabad and following actions were done:
  1. Three new toilet rooms were constructed with overhead water storage for washing and ablution.
  2. Water supply from municipal corporation was restored, overhead storage tank and electric water cooler was installed.
  3. The boundary wall height was raised.
  4. Two class rooms were got vacated and repaired to accommodate maximum of classes.
  5. Bench desks were provided to all students.
  6. All orphan students were provided rations worth over rupees five hundred per month as long as they would continue studies. Some already dropped out students also returned for studies.
  7. Provision of two pairs uniforms with jerseys and notebooks were provided to all students as this school belonged to the poorest segment of society.
  8. Two female school teachers have been employed to complete the shortage of teachers.
  9. One sweeper employed for cleanliness of wash rooms/toilets, class rooms and lawns.
  10. One part time gardener employed to act as mali and attendant.
(D) Success Stories: After completion of above mentioned facilities the following was observed:
  1. School strength used to be 125 but only fifty to sixty would come to school. They would start going home for toilet and not return to school that day. Now the school strength has increase to 325 and almost 310 would attend school daily.
  2. Drop out from school has almost stopped. All orphan students are given rations on monthly basis, they prefer to continue studies.
  3. Independence day celebrations were held on 14 August 2009 and attendance was about 150. Every student was given individual pack of sweets from Nirala, while all those who participated in events were given cash prizes.
  4. School Cleanliness has improved tremendously due to the employment of a sweeper. Moreover, students do not spoil walls of the verandah and class rooms.
  5. Since shortage of teachers has been made up, the school gives the look of a studious one. Students do not loiter around but are busy in education. Resultantly the result of class five has been 100%.
  6. Cool drinking water has given very good boost to the studies. At the end of the school time, many students would take home cool water in plastic bottles.
  7. Building repairs and plastering the ceiling has given good look to the class rooms. Every student has been provided with bench and desk. This has lead to the comfort of the students. Resultantly the educational atmosphere has improved a lot.
  8. In short, I would say that this the most poor conditioned school has become a model school by spending just 1,500,000/= approximately ($18000) in two years. Now yearly expenditure may be reduced to about rupees 400,000/= or so.
Paying little attention to the school and spending modest amount has made this low priority school to a model school. But the problems observed in this school are found in majority of poor locality schools too. Therefore, I would request the education department, minister for education and government departments to look into the problem of such schools and pay attention to solve them.

I would suggest that a thorough survey be carried out to point out critical missing facilities in all schools, especially low income areas. Hiring of teachers is essential and appropriately qualified teachers be employed. Such as for all schools the teachers should be BA/BSc with B.Ed and for FA/FSc classes qualification should be MA/MSc with M.Ed qualified. Pick up the teachers with best marks only with no exception. Higher qualified teachers would leave the education department as and when they find another good job, so do not hire them.