The prospects of our education system are pretty alarming as Pakistan is participant to the millennium development goals and it objectives include universalization of primary education and gender equality.
Education is a pioneer of a successful nation, without the influence of education citizens can never attain a respectable and successful status in the world. Keeping in mind the importance of education IBEX magazine has interviewed Mr Faisal Mushtaq who is a public speaker on education, literacy, development and youth empowerment etc and most importantly an executive director of Roots School System. As he is associated with academic field for the past 6 yeas, he himself is a very educated man as he is chartered accountant by profession. He is working as a young educational entrepreneur and his ambition is to bring difference in education through their diverse model of education. Their model doesn’t retain its priority on papers only they have also strived hard to implement it throughout their schooling system. Now a days he is working on Training, capacity building, curriculum, content, school improvement, innovation entrepreneurship, discovery, achievement, excellence, creativity and outreach for his education system.
Tell us about the history of Roots school system?
Roots school system was founded in 1988 by my mother who was very enthusiastic and dedicated to her work. It was started as a small Montessori but today one can easily sense that my mother commitment to her work is paid off as roots is the 3rd largest education system in Pakistan after Beacon House and City School. There are fifty independent schools who are offering education from Montessori to University of London’s international undergraduate programs. you can considered it as a successful project as 15000 students are earning education and our institutes are situated across 10 major cities of Pakistan with human resource of 2500 working across the system.
How your education system differs from other institutes of Pakistan?
The success of this education system depends on a personalized education system. We deal with child’s psychology as they are our future. We pay personal attention to each and every student of school that promotes healthy environment and facilitates in learning and grooming. We also provide equal opportunities to our students that help them to become confident citizens. Our methodology is based on 3Es i.e., exposure of every child, expanding the knowledge and exploring their potential. These 3Es help us to create ideas and create implementation strategies. Apart from these facts we are also the first institute in the world who are offering information and communication technology curriculum in partnership with Intel education initiative. Roots is all about change and giving an opportunity to a child to discover themselves.
What is the present situation of education sector of Pakistan?
The prospects of our education system is pretty alarming as Pakistan is participant to the millennium development goals and it objectives include universalization of primary education and gender equality. According to which every child in Pakistan at primary level must have compulsory primary education. With this amount of compulsion in education we are not even close to the lead of first world countries. Our education system is highly polarized, segmented and de-franchised from the main stream.
There are 3 types of education system prevailing in our system. The first type is ‘public education system’ which consists of government schools only; second type deals with ‘private education system’ and third is ‘community and the missionary schools’. In my opinion community and missionary schools have retained good standards as they are either owned by communities or by NGOs. On the other hand the public school system is totally gone out of proportion. I believe we don’t lack in skills but practicality is rare in our actions. Private sector is making a tremendous contribution, 40% of the net primary enrolment is studying in our private sectors. And private schooling is not an urban elite phenomenon anymore; it’s a rural urban phenomenon.
There fees schedule in private sectors ranges from Rs. 25 to Rs. 10,000 a month. A student who is getting education from an institute who are charging only Rs. 25 with the availability of a teacher is far better than a student studying in a government school with no teacher available for his grooming. It has been recorded in history that whenever government fails to deliver, vacuum is always created for other sectors to plunge in and take control over the system. The constitution and legislation is there, we are lacking in determination and dedication.
When we put focus on quality education, does it only involve the course and the faculty or the whole environment of an institute?
Education includes number of variables like environment, faculty, curriculum, support, counseling and mentoring etc. Student counseling and mentoring is a major success factor of any institute. And quality education is an amalgamation of all of them.
Are you affiliated with the corporate sector too?
Yes, we are associated with TiE (the Indus Entrepreneurs), we have MOs with Coca Cola Pakistan, Intel Education Pakistan, Microsoft Pakistan, and many other multinationals and banks in provisions of internships and creating entrepreneurial opportunities. We are giving university exposure to our students.
Who do you consider as your competitors?
I don’t consider schools as competitors to each other. We are very established education system, collectively all the schools have contributed in the well being and social economic development of Pakistan. We see each other as collaborators not as competitors.
Can you please put spot light on those schools that are present in every nook and corner of street?
Running a private education system is not about profit only. It is important to some extent but they are here to create excellence, change and to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. If an institution has been setup for profit only then it is a disaster with no future.
Schools that have been opened in every nook and corner of a street and in small houses are good for education system. At least they are contributing in educating a student to any extent.
What is your advice for our readers?
A nation requires 3 Ds in successful education system which is Desire, Determination and Drive. If schools are build for business purposes only then we are carving our ways towards failure. It is a service that you can give to your nation. You need to have commitment and passion to be an educationist.
What are your future plans?
We are reaching out to different cities (2 to 3 outstations every year). I am not planning to become a hero in school development system but my ideology revolves new opportunities in higher education.