By Aneela Naseer
The journey of reforming and remodeling IMS (I-V) Mal in Federal Area of Islamabad started with the objective of strengthening partnership between the local community and FDE by making government schools a better place to learn with an improved and conducive environment.
A group of people from the community requested and joined together in uplifting of Islamabad Model School, Mal which was a low functioning boy’s school. Following were the objectives:
- Increase Enrollments
- Improving Academic Standards
- Imparting 21st Century Skills
- Building state of the Art Facilities
- Enhancing Student Capacity
- Teachers’ Capacity Building
First few months were very difficult as basic infrastructure was incomplete. There were no female teachers and parents were not comfortable sending their children to a school run by all male teachers.
Even the washrooms were not working. These were the days when first wave of Covid-19 was making its impact. We requested local villagers to come and join hands since we were facing acute shortage of funds. Some residents of Bahria Enclave also came as they heard by word of mouth including a retired Air Marshal, a retired Ambassador, CSP Officer, doctor, and people serving at good positions.
The process slowly gained momentum and then the three rooms building was revamped and turned into freshly painted rooms with a new look. The old furniture was repaired and painted with blue and red hues to make the environment more welcoming for students. Soon the news of our school’s uplift spread like wildfire. We received 130 admissions in less than 3 months. Some of our achievements with the help of Parents Teachers Association are:
- Posting of female teachers
- Paint of school building
- Opening of official PTA bank account for greater transparency in use of funds
- Construction of 4 washrooms
- Construction of four additional classrooms
- Iron sheds for waiting areas
- Installation of 3 hand washing sinks
- Renovation / repair of old furniture
- Purchase of white boards
- Purchase of colorful furniture for prep class
- Official WhatsApp and Facebook page
- Bus for students
- Vehicle for commute of female teachers, as there is no public transport in the area
- Sound system
- Swings for children
- Reading corner
- Introduction of weekly syllabus
- Held functions like Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Plantation Drive, Color Day, Educational Visit, Science Exhibition etc.
- Scheduling of regular Parent Teacher meetings for better feedback and coordination
This was all achieved with the help of philanthropists. Area Education officer and Federal Directorate of Education extended their full cooperation. The public-private partnership under the banner of Parents Teachers Association helped in bringing free of cost education as no fee is being charged from students. Free books are provided.
This structure enables parents to save substantial amount of funds. We can continuously review and benchmark school’s academic standards. PTA fund is available to equip the school with latest facilities like computers, projectors, learning material, library etc. We can have multilayered oversight over the PTA fund as periodic audits of PTA fund is conducted by FDE.
PTA provides a platform where all stakeholders consciously review, and monitor school progress. People still believe that govt schools can provide quality education. It is important to join hands for bringing change in our society by uplifting educational standards in the area you are living in.
To sum up the journey, I have summed up my thoughts in the words below:
Students with clean dresses,
Sparkling eyes, smiling faces
Laughing and playing,
Confident and mannered,
Writer is principal of IMS I-V MAL BAHRIA ENCLAVE ISLAMABAD