A surge of positive energy and excitement was visible from the students and teachers of the Government High School 61/RB, Jaranwala at the District Launch Ceremony in Faisalabad District. The Deputy Head of DFID Pakistan, led a delegation of DFID officials to the school where she was welcomed by the Executive District Officer (Education) Mr Bashir Ahmed Goraya and members of the school’s CCSI. The site of the Launch Ceremony was the newly constructed academic block at the school, where Ms Herbertson also cut a ceremonial ribbon to inaugurate the Programme in District Faisalabad.
While visiting the school, the DFID team also took time to mingle with the students, now attending classes in the newly constructed academic block. A former teacher, Ms Herbertson clearly cherished her time interacting with the students and had an intimate interaction with them. Speaking to them about the importance of improved school environments and the need for diligence from the students she said, “Education is the best way to bring prosperity to yourself, your family, your community and your country.”
She also told the students that in her 3 years of living in Pakistan, she had found it to be in stark contrast to the Pakistan reported in the international media. She told them that she has always found the people of Pakistan to be loving, welcoming and gentle.
Ms Herbertson’s open and forthright manner of speaking to the students had a pleasant effect on the initially shy students. These boys from rural and humble backgrounds were soon engaging eagerly and sharing their views on the improvement of the school infrastructure.
Muhammad Hamza of Class 9th spoke about the difference new classrooms had brought to their school experience. He said, “For the past year, we had to attend classes in the school grounds. In the dusty outdoors, under the open sky, we were too concerned with our clothes getting dirty to focus on our lessons. Now we sit in a classroom with a fan and windows. This is the best way to get education.”
Humqadam-SCRP has constructed 13 new classrooms and 13 toilets at GHS 61/RB, Jaranwala, replacing a dilapidated and dangerous building which was unsafe and unhygienic for the students and teachers. The construction of the new academic block has brought down the students to classroom ration from 88:1 to 33:1, which means that students can now receive their lessons in a safe, spacious and comfortable environment.
Earlier, the EDO (Education) Mr. Bashir Ahmed Goraya and Humqadam-SCRP’s District Manager for Faisalabad Mr. Shafaat Gillani briefed the DFID delegation on the school construction work in Faisalabad District and informed them that the pace of the Programme was picking up. Speaking on his experience of working with the Humqadam-SCRP team, the EDO said, “Humqadam’s process of involving the communities and the quality of construction has really taken school construction to the next level.”
The Head Teacher of GHS 61/RB, Mr Muhammad Khan echoed the EDO’s sentiments and told the DFID team that the construction of the new academic block is already paying quick dividends – there has been a 9% increase in enrolment after children are coming back to the school. These readmissions show an increase in confidence in the school on the part of the parents of the surrounding community.
The DFID team expressed their delight at the results of the school construction process visible at the school. Marc Ducroquet-Lavin, Programme Manager, DFID Pakistan said, “There is an astonishing difference at the school compared to my first visit a year ago.”
Humqadam-SCRP is constructing 498 new classrooms at 194 classrooms across the Faisalabad District. This will directly improve the education experience of almost 20,000 students.