C-100 – a national think tank including heads and CEOs of the corporate, civil and private sector – launched a policy document to address transformation in the primary and basic educational sector of the country. The strategic road map was unveiled at a ceremony held earlier by the Education Committee of the C-100 Think Tank. The underlying objective of the committee is to advocate broad-based systemic changes along with recommending a policy framework for the education sector of Pakistan. Former Captain of the Pakistan National Team, Shahid Afridi graced the event as the Chief Guest and pledged his support to the cause as the brand ambassador for the program.

The presentation of this policy framework comes at a time when Pakistan is faced with an impending ‘education emergency’. According to various global estimates Pakistan is ranked second in terms of children that are currently out of school with an estimated 23 million children out of 51 million currently out of school. In addition, it stands at an abysmally low global rank of 168 out of 188 countries in low primary and secondary school enrollment.

The framework launched by the Education Committee of the C-100 have proposed long-term and deep-rooted changes to the existing education ecosystem some of which include:

• Conversion of the Education Departments into autonomous ‘Basic Education Organizations’ (BEOs) that are governed and managed by professional board of directors. The BEOs will responsible to develop the education vision, strategies and policies whilst also implement program of training, testing and professional development of all teachers.

• Establishment of School Management Committees (SMCs) comprising of parents, local professionals/community members, and teaching staff.

• All new schools should be established under the principle of “public funding-private delivery”.

Thar Foundation – the CSR wing of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) – became the first private sector entity to subscribe to the recommendations of the C-100 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding to advance the education agenda amongst all TF schools operating in Thar Block II and adjoining areas. Thar Foundation has earlier signed a commitment to adopt and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Islamkot thereby making it the first, and perhaps, the only SDG-compliant tehsil in Pakistan by 2024 – six years ahead of the global timeline of 2030.

Commenting on the salience of this partnership, Shamsuddin Shaikh – CEO of Thar Foundation and SECMC – said:

“Education is a key focus area for Thar Foundation which is working on broad sectoral initiatives to improve the quality and accessibility of educational opportunities for Tharis. Since our inception in 2015, we have already established 24 school units catering to over 4000 children in Thar while over 1000 youth have benefitted from our technical and skill-based education programs being run in collaboration with Descon Training Institute, AmanTech, and Hunar Foundation. We believe that through C-100 we will be able to deploy a more robust approach towards our educational efforts with a specific focus on mainstreaming out-of-school children into a functional schooling experience.”

C-100 plans to work with a wide category of stakeholders including the federal and provincial governments along with the private sector to institute a 360-degree, holistic change of the education sector. The think tank is also working on devising a policy framework for other aspects of the education sector which cover the secondary and higher education; special needs education; education for the gifted and differently-able students among st others.