"Project Visit in May 2017"
Girls High School & College Bagrot Valley (Pakistan)
This year it was a trip for three. Part of the party was my 21-year-old goddaughter, who had her first university degree in her pocket and was curious to meet Bagrot and our friends there. She did so with a fresh look and a lot of composure. Our young fellow traveler was the focus of attention of the young girls and women. Many, however, found it difficult to apply their English language skills from school. The idea of getting into a conversation with the college students and using the English language skills in this informal way was hard to realize. Although we had announced this in advance. It takes longer than we actually had at our hands.
The Girls' School (1st - 10th grade) currently has 208 pupils and 15 government teachers. Among them is a single subject teacher who can teach higher education classes in science subjects. That is why we have been funding two additional subject teachers from donations since June 2016. This support will be provisionally continued until the end of the current school year in April 2018. With the existing faculty, the students have little chance of achieving good grades in the central final exams. Our local coordinator, Mr Ahmad Ali, has already complained to the school administration about the negative effects of this establishment plan, pointed out the consequences in various interviews with those responsible and made alternative suggestions for using the teachers at the Bagrots schools.
In five donor-funded college classes (grade 11-14) 66 young women study. Some are already married. Introduced last fall, the first-ever science-based college-class has eight students, two of whom did not attend classes due to their marriage in April. This may change again after the first few months of marriage, when the local usual extensive relatives visits are completed and the new roles of women in the family-in-law are reallocated, so our experience with newlyweds.
The small hearing impaired class currently has two students. Both are developing well. Teacher Nabila, herself deaf, continues to be very dedicated in her work. Her salary is also financed by donations.
We also visited the sewing school for women in the village of Chirah at the end of the valley, which is supported by a British aid association. The 6-month courses are very much in demand. Meanwhile, young women from all villages show interested.
Outlok for Girls School and College
In Bagrot, the number of female students has fallen for several years due to the lower number of children in young families. At the same time, there is now a primary school (1st-5th grade) in each village and a middle school (6th-8th grade) in two larger villages of the valley. The only high school for girls since many years was the donation financed Project School in the village Datuchi, which is now a Government School. Even for boys, there is only one Government High School in the entire valley. It is also located at the village of Datuchi, in the middle of the valley.
In April, the provincial education minister approved a request to upgrade Girls High School to Higher Secondary School for Girls. This means the introduction of an 11th and 12th school year from government funds. The official announcement will be made after the end of Lent and before the summer holidays in July. We can not count on the assignment of government teachers for classes 11 and 12 until 2018/2019. This corresponds to the countries usual administrative routines.
Also, an application for the establishment of a Government Girls' College in Bagrot was submitted to the education authority. This request was formally granted in May. It initiates multiannual administrative action: site selection, building application, construction, teacher recruitment, selection process for the teachers to be recruited, etc. Until the start of teaching at a state college, five years can easily go by.
The first steps towards a complete nationalization of the teaching offer, financed from donations so far, are thus done. The quality of the lessons and the results of the exams can be reduced, according to our experience. The influence on the selection of assigned teachers is limited.We are now waiting eagerly for the next steps of the Education Authority. Make a wish!
Best regards from Hamburg
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