The Citizens Foundation (TCF), a Pakistani non-profit organization educating the less privileged, has been featured at Expo 2020 Dubai as a Global Best Practice for the month of December 2021.
TCF builds and operates formal schools and delivers quality education in Pakistan’s most neglected rural and slum communities where we find children, especially girls, out of school. Pakistan has the second highest number of out of school children in the world. Today, TCF has 1,687 schools with 275,000 students enrolled. “What sets TCF apart is its focus on girls’ education and its belief in educating girls as a lever for broader community change,” says Mr. Zia Akhter Abbas, Executive Vice President of TCF, at the SDG | Bringing Knowledge and Learning to the World event held at Expo 2020 Dubai on 15th December 2021.
TCF has nearly 50% female enrollment in its schools. In order to encourage female students TCF has an all-female faculty of 12,950 teachers and principals, making it one of the largest private employers of women in Pakistan. Today, TCF alumni are serving as agents of positive change and inspiring change in their communities. One such alumna is Dr. Sidra Saleem, daughter of a daily-wage laborer, who grew up in a slum in Karachi. Sidra is now a Doctor of Neurology in Toledo, Ohio and is in her second year of medical residency. She is just one of thousands of TCF alumni who beat all odds and are on the path to success through quality education.
TCF was selected among the top 25 global development projects to be showcased at the Expo 2020 Dubai Global Best Practice Programme. TCF was selected after a review of 1,175 applicant programmes from 141 countries by an international committee and will be featured in the Best Practice Area in the Opportunity Pavilion till 2nd January 2022.
“TCF schools are not poor schools for poor students,” says TCF Co-Founder Mushtaq Chhapra. “One of the aspects of providing quality education is to make sure that students understand what they are taught”. As a result, TCF has always taught in Urdu which is the language of common use in Pakistan and teaches English as a second language. Since there were a lack of good quality textbooks in Urdu, TCF developed its own books with teacher guides. TCF is also conducting further research into mother-tongue based, multi-lingual education to further promote comprehension at a young age.
In a panel discussion at the Dubai Cares – RewirED Summit, Mr. Abbas shed light on TCF's partnership with the government and how such public-private partnerships provide a bridge to governments in improving their own capacity and eventually scale learning quality and equity on the ground. The RewirED Summit was a three-day education conference that brought together various stakeholders to redefine the future of education. The panel was moderated by the Global Schools Forum and included panelists from PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools) and Central Square Foundation.
In 2016, TCF adopted 257 government schools in order to rapidly scale its impact. Within months, enrollment tripled and learning outcomes multiplied – at a fraction of the government’s cost. Today, TCF has over 350 schools that run in partnerships with 7 different local governments and account for 20% of its total schools. TCF is adapting its model to fit within varying limitations such as government teachers, textbooks, multi-grade classrooms, as well as a much lower per child cost. They are strengthening teachers, principals, and their support systems, multi-grade teaching, social-emotional skills, whole-school evaluation, play-based early childhood education, and much more. TCF’s government schools are an example for the public sector in Pakistan, demonstrating what is possible under the government’s conditions.
For 26 years, TCF has been working to transform the children of Pakistan into agents of positive change. TCF remains committed to its mission and magnifying its impact by reaching 2 million agents of positive change by the year 2030. It aims to do this by continuing to expand the formal schooling programmes, supporting our alumni through higher education, providing structured interventions for basic literacy and life skills to communities outside the context of formal schooling and nurture and expand our partnerships with provincial governments and social enterprises to confront the massive education crisis faced by Pakistan.
About The Citizens Foundation:
The Citizens Foundation (TCF) is a strong advocate of the belief that a truly informed and educated society forms the foundation of a progressive state and instils in its citizens the ability to adapt and evolve with changing times. It is a non-profit organization set up in 1995 by a group of citizens who wanted to bring about positive social change through education. 26 years later, TCF is now one of Pakistan’s leading organizations in the field of education for the less privileged. The TCF model focuses on providing quality education through purpose-built schools located in the heart of Pakistan’s urban slums and rural communities. The organization strives to ensure that girls represent nearly 50% of overall student enrolment. To magnify its impact, improve enrolment and quality of education, TCF is now adopting Government schools across Pakistan. www.tcf.org.pk
Social Media Handles:
Instagram: @ tcfuae, @tcfpak
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