Paths to School Success: A Child to Child approach in Pakistan
Since 2013, Child to Child has been working with the Teachers Resource Centre in Sewhan (Jamshoro district, Sindh Province) to implement a three-year programme to increase on-time enrolment, retention and enhanced academic performance of pre- and primary school aged children in eight disaster affected communities. The programme is funded by the UK Department for International Development.
With estimated literacy rates at just over 54% of the total population in 2011, Pakistan is lagging behind in achieving MDG Goal 2: achieving universal primary education. In 2011 the government declared an “educational emergency”, estimating that 25 million children were out of school.
What are we doing?
Improving early childhood education has been proven to positively impact primary school enrolment and school results for disadvantaged children. We are therefore focusing on this crucial time in a child’s life and have adapted our ‘Getting Ready for School’ programme (developed and implemented in partnership with UNICEF between 2007-2010), to the local context by incorporating an additional focus on disaster risk reduction.
As well as increasing on-time enrolment, retention and performance by ensuring that children arrive at school ready to learn with a strong foundation in language, literacy and numeracy and socio-emotional skills, the project aims to support children to prepare for and manage disaster, mitigating risks where possible.
We are building local capacity through a Community Advisory Board, whose members work towards sensitising parents and community members about the importance of education for their children – especially for girls – and being prepared for disasters.
We are developing the capacity of local NGO partners Sindh Education Foundation and Community Development Council so that they are better able to plan, train teachers, provide classroom support and undertake effective monitoring. Building local capacity ensures project sustainability as local partners will continue to train teachers and monitor project activities. Designing the project in this way is intended to ensure that knowledge and skills stay in and continue to benefit the community long after funding has ended.
Capacity development of teachers is also key to ensuring project sustainability. Using a ‘whole school approach’ and training all teachers in the project schools is intended to create an environment in which it is possible to bring about changes in practice and culture.
Finally, in addition to the focus on Early Childhood Education (ECE) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), the older children in the project are being supported to develop life skills. As Young Facilitators (YFs), they have been introduced to micro-skills for democracy such as discussion, debate and non-violent problem-solving, which have been proven to have a positive impact on attitudes towards gender and civic engagement.