Zindagi Trust took over the management of a government school in November 2007 with the aim of transforming it into a model school and documenting the process in getting there with the objective of creating a blueprint for government school reform.Throughout the project, we have worked closely with the Education Department, lobbying the government to institutionalize the policies we introduce so that schools across the province can benefit from them.

Why government school reform instead of building new schools?

» Most children of school-going age in Pakistan (over 85%) only have access to government schools plagued with low teacher attendance, dilapidated buildings, poor facilities, a curriculum and teaching culture that starves creativity and encourages rote-learning, etc.

» Reforming existing schools is the best business proposition for an education provider because the expensive infrastructure (land, building, fixtures, basic furniture) are already present.

» A successful model for reform in government schools would have a much bigger impact than running a chain of even a 100 private schools in the long run.


Our school reform project at the SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in Karachi has involved the following:


Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Development

  • Repair and re-installation of broken electric wiring
  • Replacement of dysfunctional blackboards or desks
  • Conversion of abandoned rooms to student activity rooms (e.g. art room)
  • Rebuilding cramped, blocked toilets
  • Repairing water/sewage lines
  • Building a Health Room, staffed with a full-time nurse
  • Building an Art Room, a Library, an A/V Room, two Computer Labs and a Science Lab
For a visual description of this effort, please view the project’s “Before and After” picture gallery.
Administrative Changes
  • Merging the multiple schools running in one campus into one school under one administration
  • Maintaining teacher and student records for attendance, performance, etc.
  • Disallowing private use of school grounds
  • Hiring custodial staff for maintenance and cleanliness of the existing or refurbished premises
  • Detailing staff responsibilities in job descriptions
  • Formulating a detailed admissions policy describing admissions criteria, responsibilities and deadlines
A government school reform project will inevitably involve dealing with peculiar administrative structure which may be dealt with as one-offs, but institutionalizing rules and processes as listed above is critical to the long-term success of the project.
Academic Innovation and Planning
  • Introduction of modern, thought-provoking textbooks in Urdu, English, Mathematics (almost all provided
    free to the students)
  • Teaching a video-based science curriculum in our well-equipped A/V Room
  • Hiring academic coordinators for English, Mathematics and Science to plan syllabi with learning outcomes and timelines, design tests, monitor progress, observe and train teachers
Teacher Reform
  • Monitoring teacher attendance
  • Penalizing staff for unreported absences, lateness and shirking duty
  • Regularizing general and subject-specific training for teachers, ongoing through academic coordinators and targeted through external trainers
  • Evaluating teacher performance through regular teaching demos, lesson plan reviews as well as in-class monitoring by academic coordinators throughout the term.
Student Affairs
We introduced the learning modules that allow students to explore their talents and courses of practicalrelevance such as:
  • art
  • chess
  • sports (netball, basketball, football, hockey, throwball, taekwondo, rowing, cricket)
  • public speaking
  • sexual health and abuse awareness
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