Expansion of Mianwali Education Trust College
The Association for the Development of Pakistan has approved funding for the construction of two new class rooms at the Mianwali Education Trust College (MET) located at Kala Bagh Road, Mianwali. MET is a private school that offers classes from Prep to FSc, and serves over 700 students. MET serves underprivileged students and offers scholarships as well as subsidized tuition to full-paying students, and helps meet a critical societal need.
MET operates in a rural area with a high rate of poverty and a lack of education. Less than 40% of school age children are enrolled in educational institutions with primary school enrollment (5 to 9 years old) at 47% (54% for males and 38% for females). The literacy rate currently stands at 43% and is disproportionately weighted towards men (women make up only 22% of literate population). This expansion will allow MET to offer college courses to an additional 72 students and increase female enrollment. Within the next five years, the classrooms will help approximately 300 additional students acquire college level education (FSc).
MET has switched from the Aga Khan board to the Sargodha board, which is favored by students and parents due to better post-graduation placement. MET graduates have secured admission into some of the best higher education institutions in Pakistan, such as King Edward Medical College and NUST, and have secured positions in Board exams. All teachers at MET have Masters degrees and attend teacher trainings on regular basis. They also participate in trainings with USEFP and Aga Khan University Exam Board.
MET is the only school providing scholarships to underprivileged children in Mianwali, encouraging them to complete their education and allowing for affordable education; one-third of the students are on partial or full scholarships.
The Mianwali Education Trust College (“MET” or the “School”) is a school that provides prep, elementary, and college classes to the residents of Mianwali. It was founded in 1996 and has grown from a small school serving only 5 students with 3 teachers to 706 students, including 270 scholarship students and 52 teachers.
MET’s objective is to provide high quality education to all people, regardless of their income level. It offers subsidized tuition to paying students and sibling discounts that help in relieving the burden on paying families (5% for second child, 20% for third child, and 25% for fifth child). It also offers scholarships for low-income students, including tuition, books, uniform, and lunch. The school has a strong existing infrastructure, including two IT labs, science labs (physics, chemistry, and biology), library, and playgrounds.
Success for this project will be measured via increased enrollment and attendance for college classes at MET. As part of the monitoring plan, ADP will collect the following information:
- Audited annual financial statements (income statement and balance sheet, including footnotes)
- Number of students per classroom by gender, including breakout of full-scholarship, partial-scholarship, and full-paying students
- Student:teacher ratio
- Graduation placement
- Board scores
- Student and teacher attendance rate
ADP is excited to invest in MET because:
- MET provides high-quality education to underprivileged students (English medium school, highly trained teachers, strong graduate placement)
- Provides services to high-need population (high poverty location with 43% literacy rate)
- MET is a highly credible organization, certified from the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy
- Proven track-record of growth and expansions
- Sustainable financial model
Critical Need: The expansion will allow MET to offer college courses to an additional 72 students per year. The new classrooms are required as soon as possible because the school is already facing space shortages in its college classrooms (the existing classroom is filled to over double its capacity). Additional classroom space will also lead to increased female enrollment, since many girls are dissuaded from enrolling because the college classrooms are currently co-educational (due to lack of space for separate female classrooms).
Social Return: MET serves underprivileged students and offers scholarships as well as subsidized tuition to full-paying students. The students prefer MET to other schools in the area due to the higher standard of education. MET follows conceptual teaching in its school and its graduates have secured admission at the best higher education institutions in Pakistan.
Does MET serve all socioeconomic sectors of society?
Mianwali is an impoverished region, and MET provides services to a high-need population. 30% of students are on scholarships, including full and partial scholarships. Full-paying students are charged a subsidized tuition rate, to create incentives for enrollment.
Scholarships are awarded on both need and merit. Students on full scholarships receive a tuition waiver, free books, uniforms and snacks. Need based scholarships are afforded to children from families who have an annual income below PKR 100,000. Parents of need-based scholarship students are usually factory workers, laborers, or work in homes.
How can we be assured that MET is actually providing high quality education?
MET is certified by Pakistan Center for Philanthropy (PCP); it has been evaluated by PCP and meets the certification standards in the areas of Internal Governance, Financial Management and Program Delivery. PCP certification is one of the most prestigious certifications a Pakistani NGO can receive.
MET employs skilled and educated people from Mianwali. All the teachers have at least a Masters degree and MET often sends them for training abroad as well as within Pakistan. Teachers have also participated in trainings with USEFP and Aga Khan University Exam Board, in the past. After returning from trainings, all teachers share their learning with other staff members.
MET graduates have secured admission at the best higher education institutions in Pakistan, like King Edward Medical College, NUST, etc. as well as secured positions in Board exams. Other universities MET Students have secured admission:
- Islamic International University
- Fatima Jinnah University, Islamabad
- GC Mianwali
- UET Taxila and UET Lahore
Is there really a demand for college classes at MET?
During the site visit we learned that even though there was another nearby college, the students preferred MET due to the high standard of education. MET recently switched to the Sargodha Board from the Aga Khan Board; however, it continues to teach with a conceptual approach as encouraged by the Aga Khan Board. Further, this recent switch to the Sargodha Board is expected to increase enrollment for college classes substantially, due to better post-graduation placement.
MET is sensitive to the local and cultural context of the community and has separate college classes for girls and boys. Due to shortage of classroom space, this has discouraged enrollment of girls in college. The two new classrooms will provide ample space for enrollment of boys and girls, promoting gender equity.
The classrooms will cater to 72 students in the coming year, and will benefit approximately 300 students in the next 5 years to acquire college level education (FSc).
Notes from the Site Visit
Ayesha Shahid and Ali Shahid visited MET to get first hand impressions of MET school for the evaluation team. These are some of their impressions:
“Visiting MET school and college was an inspiring experience. The MET school is based on Shahrah-e-Ilm (the education avenue) in Mianwali, surrounded by many other schools that have cropped up over time. These schools include small private ones, others that have branches all over Pakistan and a government school as well. However, established in a big, majestic building, surrounded by well maintained lush grounds, the MET school stands out. Unlike many government schools, the students can be found to be neatly dressed, showing good hygiene and happy to be where they are. Teachers are dedicated and joyfully talk about the accomplishments of their students while the students, bright eyed and optimistic, confidently tell their future plans.
We chatted with five of the college female students; two wanted to apply for medical school, while the rest were thinking of enrolling in local engineering universities or BA programmes. They expressed happiness with the school and teachers. In a class of boys, each of the boys said they liked science subjects when asked about their favorite subjects but one student unexpectedly said he likes Urdu – perhaps a future poet in the making. Once we left the classroom, our guide informed us that this student was an orphan and studying at the MET school on a full scholarship. Our guide explained, ‘We try to make sure that these scholarship students do not look any different from other students in their dress or are not left behind in anyway. ‘ And indeed, he seemed to be an equal among all the students.
At the end of our chat with the girls, we asked them what they did not like about the school. After some deliberation, one girl said, ‘Well, they are delaying our sports day. They have held different sports competitions for the boys but ours has not happened yet.’ So we smiled and told them that they should get after the administration to make it happen. The girl replied confidently, ‘Oh we are doing that, the administration will organize our tournaments eventually.’
Later while meeting the principal of the school, a vibrant, energetic man, we asked him how he felt about the switch from the Aga Khan Board to Sargodha Board. He replied, ‘Well, we came under pressure because parents stopped sending their kids to our school for FSc so we had to make the switch.’ The parents got scared because their children were not performing as well under the more concept based Agha Khan Board as opposed to the Sargodha Board that lets the students perform well even with rote-learning. The principal continued, ‘But you watch, these same parents will come to me in some years and ask me to switch back to Aga Khan Board. The Aga Khan Board has the better curriculum, we will switch back eventually,’ he declared.”
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