On September 17, 2019, US and Pakistani officials inaugurated the first school constructed in Karachi as part of the USAID-funded Sindh Basic Education Program (SBEP). The Government Secondary School in Damba Village, Gadap Town is the 44th inaugurated in Sindh overall since Blumont’s work on SBEP began in 2013.
Blumont’s Sindh Community Mobilization Program (CMP) team, in collaboration with the Government of Sindh Program Management Implementation Unit, USAID, and the School Education and Literacy Department (SELD) organized the inauguration ceremony and hosted senior officials from the US Government and the Government of Sindh. Mr. Paul W. Jones, US Ambassador to Pakistan and Mr. Syed Murad Ali Shah, Chief Minister of Sindh attended as guests of honor and keynote speakers.
Addressing program stakeholders from Education Management Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, the media, students, parents, teachers, and community members, Mr. Jones emphasized the US Government’s commitment to improving education in Pakistan.
“I am very hopeful that with the support of the US Government and through the effective leadership of the Government of Sindh, the schools under SBEP will continue to provide improved quality of education and will enable students to attain their goals and pursue their dreams,” he said.
The new school will provide state-of-the-art facilities and quality education for nearly 700 students—nearly 50 percent of them girls—in the village and neighboring schools. Students who attended the inauguration ceremony saw where a computer lab, health room, and library will be installed to enhance their learning environment.
“Having schools with improved facilities helps retain students,” Secretary of SELD Mr. Ahsan Ali Mangi said. “It really makes a lot of difference because it creates an environment for the students to study in a happy environment.”
USAID’s SBEP has worked in Sindh since 2013 to increase and sustain student enrollment in primary, middle, and secondary schools, with CMP bridging communities and education managements to garner support for accessible and quality education. CMP’s efforts focus particularly in girls’ enrollment and retention and building public-private partnerships to increase funding and community ownership in schools. This is the first school constructed in Karachi under these efforts, made possible by working with communities and the government to ensure procurement, land demarcation, and coordination is fully supported. The school in Damba joins one other completed school in Yousaf Goth and seven that are in progress throughout Karachi.
In closing remarks, Mr. Shah thanked USAID and called on the community to enroll their children, especially girls, in school.
“I can see an amazing spark in the eyes of girls for education and parents must provide education facility to their daughters so they can become teachers, doctors, and successful politicians,” he said. “Now people are also aware and consider education as their priority.” He offered his full support to the SBEP team and shared his commitment to upgrade this school to a higher level.
CMP is a USAID-funded program that supports the Government of Sindh’s education reform and USAID’s Sindh Basic Education Program. CMP improves school resources and encourages community support for educational reform in Sindh province while identifying and addressing primary barriers to access, particularly for female students.