Construction of Secondary School in Gujranwala
Tuition Fees/Month: $3 (Nursery to Grade 5), Free (Grade 6-10)
Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:12
Girl/Boys Ratio: 54:46
Total Students: 145
The village of Landay Sharif, Tehsil Nosheran Verkan, District Gujranwala, is home to low-income families that primarily serve as bonded labor to nearby farms and brick kilns. Seeing the lack of formal education opportunities in the area, and the need of this community, Friends Development Organisation (FDO) started the High Gait School in 2012. This primary and secondary school operates in two rented buildings containing 5 rooms with classes from Nursery till 10th grade. The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) partnered up with FDO to provide free tuition and books to the secondary school students, along with other services.
However, the school has now outgrown its initial capacity and is having to turn away students. FDO has therefore approached ADP to fund the construction of a new school building that will have expanded capacity to accommodate more students. The proposed building will be located at a nearby site donated by the community and contain 10 classrooms, 4 washrooms, a playground, a library and a computer lab. Requested funds will also be used for the purchase of furniture and electricity wiring work in the new building.
There is a strong need for this project, given the pent-up demand for enrolment, along with the low-income status of the community, where school-going children otherwise end up as bonded labor at brick kilns. Parents are highly motivated and satisfied with the education currently being imparted at High Gait. The partnership with PEF ensures that any expanded secondary school enrolment will be supported financially and thus keep the school’s expenses low. Additionally, FDO has a strong track record in District Gujranwala, where it is currently operating 6 schools for low-income communities. It has successfully executed education projects with the support of various donors, including the US Ambassador’s Fund, and a previous project funded by ADP.
Friends Development Organisation (FDO) is a non-profit established in 1998 with a mission to improve the living standards of low-income families in District Gujranwala. It does this through a number of programs that provide formal education, financial management skills, microcredit, legal & human rights training etc to the community. In particular, FDO operates five schools throughout the district, along with various adult literacy centers and a computer training institute.
Critical need: The current infrastructure of the school is insufficient. Multiple classes being run at the same time in one cramped room impacts both the quality of education and students well being, as students fall sick and are often absent in the unbearable heat of summer. The limited space also means that the school has had to turn away students from enrolling. As the area is made up of primarily low-income families where many children ending up working in brick kilns, this is particularly troublesome. Additionally, the nearest government school is located about 5-6 kilometers away from the village, and is not a suitable alternative as families do not prefer to send their daughters to it due to security issues and travelling expenses.
Beneficiaries/Social Return: 145 students will immediately benefit from the new school. Their education will also benefit their families and the surrounding community indirectly, consisting of 4245 people.
Longevity: With the existing excess demand in the community, we expect enrolment to substantially increase with time. High Gait’s own survey has identified 250-300 students in the vicinity who showed interest in enrolling in the school.
Scalability: With the partnership with Punjab Education Foundation (that provides free tuition, books and other services) to the school, along with the additional classrooms and capacity, we expect the student size to grow in strength. FDO is also currently running 5 other schools, and has a track record of partnering with donors in opening new schools and upgrading/expanding capacity of existing schools.
Due Diligence Questions:
Q1) What is the interest level of the community/parents in the construction of the new building?
Parents are generally involved in their children’s education, demonstrated by their willingness to pay for the primary school classes. The current school is co-educational, and parents have mentioned that they will be more willing to send their children if there was space to run segregated classes for upper grades, which would only be possible in a dedicated building. They have also expressed the need for more washrooms, particularly for females, which is not possible in the current space, and have specifically called out the need for a separate and spacious building for the school.
Q2) What is the quality of education in the current school?
Schools in rural areas face a variety of challenges, including difficulty attracting good teachers, and lack of teacher training. Additionally, data on quality can be hard to come by. To assess High Gait School’s quality of education, ADP engaged SASI (School Assessment for School Improvement), a national nonprofit that conducts standardised testing to measure a school’s performance. SASI administered its rigorous test to assess students and teachers’ performance at High Gait School, and then compared the results to schools in its national database (consisting of both public and private schools).
High Gait performed favorably, exceeding or performing on par on most metrics compared to other schools.
- Average score of schools in SASI database
* Average score of schools in SASI database
FDO plans to continue investing in teacher training with the support of PEF, and plans to expand its training programme to its primary school staff this year.
Q3) Do students leave the school to search for employment opportunities?
There have been limited instances of such departures, usually when the child was an orphan. However, there is a genuine desire for education in the community, given the absence of alternatives, particularly for girls.
Q4? Is FDO a suitable partner?
FDO is a trusted organisation in the community. The president is a local resident, and many of the office bearers are volunteers who have a genuine desire to improve the living standards of the community. Additionally, FDO has a strong track record in the education sector, having delivered other projects and formed strong partnerships in the area. FDO previously worked with ADP in the upgradation of Al-Sohail School, and with the US Ambassador Fund Program for the construction of Sohail bin Sadiq Model School. It has a strong partnership with the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) and is audited annually by a USAID recommended accounting firm.
Q5) What other sources/funding does FDO have for the new building?
The community is strongly involved in the project and has donated land for the building. FDO also has external donors in the community that it has worked with previously. ADP spoke with these external donors and verified their willingness to contribute. FDO will use them and it’s own funds to co-finance a significant portion of the project costs upfront.
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