Newly constructed schools in rural Sindh provide opportunities for women and girls with state-of-the-art science labs, libraries, and other resources.
In January 2021, the Sindh Basic Education Program (SBEP) in Pakistan, opened a record eight schools in five days. A key part of the program, the Sindh Community Mobilization Program (CMP) worked with local government officials to mark the occasion with a COVID-compliant event attended by local officials, stakeholders, community members, teachers, and students. It was an exciting moment representing not only new opportunities for the students, but also full support from the community and local government.
Since 2013, CMP has worked with schools in all of Sindh’s 29 districts to improve education for students and teachers, while fostering community and private sector involvement in reforms as a strategy for long-term support. The program has a particular focus on increasing the enrollment and retention of girls in school.
New schools opened in the rural Dadu and Larkana districts this year will benefit more than 6,000 students and will be managed through a public-private partnership with the Health and Nutrition Development Society (HANDS). With this collaboration, facilitated by Blumont and supported by the Sindh government, HANDS will fund the costs of external management for the next 10 years.
Resources have generally been limited for schools in remote areas, which has negatively affected education outcomes and student engagement. The new schools have modern, state-of-the-art facilities with computer labs, libraries, multipurpose halls, separate washrooms for girls and boys, and fully supplied science labs. These labs allow students to go beyond book learning and participate in real practical experiments.
Guests at the school opening ceremony reiterated their support for school reform initiatives, noting that these improvements will increase enrollment and retention. The long-term benefits of education, particularly for women and girls, as well as the societal value of safe, accessible education, were highlighted.
Sindh Provincial Assembly Member Fayaz Ali Butt, primary guest of honor at the handover ceremony of Government High School Sojhro Gorar, said, “We are extremely thankful to the people of the United States for supporting the people of Sindh. Modern schools of this standard will benefit multiple generations. The Government of Sindh is proud to partner with USAID on all these activities.”
In total, SBEP has constructed 81 schools, with an additional 25 currently under construction. The CMP team engages communities, school officials, parents, and teachers in developing construction plans for schools, helping to foster ownership.
“We should all work together to develop the minds of children through education,” said Lakarna District Education Officer, Akhter Hussain Korejo. “If we bring positive change in the minds of children, then positive social change will be visible in our society.”