Our education system is facing problems these days. The issues are not only present at micro level but also creating hindrance for us at macro level and they are not inter-related with each other. The responsibility is entirely on our government as it should give solutions to the education system as it is back-bone of a society. It should form those governing bodies which create mechanism to use all its authority to facilitate poor students with public private sector collaboration. Keeping these problems in mind IBEX magazine had a conversation with Walid Mushtaq who is an executive director of the Roots school system.
He told us that his education system is providing its services in 11 cities ofPakistanand in past 5 years, they have turned their system into the fastest growing private chain of schools. This success wasn’t attributed to them by fate in mere 2 years; it has cost around 23 years to churn their hard-labour to become the third largest chain of schools. They have spent most of their resources on staff training as teachers form the foundation of any institution.
Strategically all schools are different because of geographical differences but nonetheless, being an educational chain, they teach uniform curriculum, students get similar questionnaire in examination in all of their branches. It is difference and accomplishment of centralization of an academic institute.
When asked about the difference with other institutes ofPakistan, he replied, “Our government is not implementing its duty with determination and this lack of enthusiasm to improve our educational sector is the main reason behind the boom of private sector. I believe that there are many institutions which can compete, and this competition can also bring outcome in the form of healthy competition.
In reply to those schools that are built in every corner of the street he stated, “Mushroom growth of schools in every corner is clearly visible. Although it has brought problems too but there should be strict regulations to maintain the quality of education by the government. For instance,Islamabadcity is heavily regulated in terms of education institutes in comparison with other provinces. Staff details, student’s data and even small details of a school are being regulated and maintained inIslamabad.
But at provincial level, the regulation of better education is not implied properly, I also believe that it cannot be implemented in terms of enforcement of rules and policies as their should be an element of freedom for private sector. However, government must take step to oversee these schools”.
Roots is not only focusing on the curriculum but also taking multiple actions to provide quality education. It is the only school inPakistanwho has pioneered a program with Intel Corporation for joining the curriculum development and it is the only school in the world which is partnered with Intel under the Corporate Social Responsibility Program that has involved thousands of students in activities related to IT. It is also subscribed to the Microsoft branded license, which has helped us in providing well equipped computer labs.
When asked about the relation with other corporate sector, he said, “We have also provided opportunities for our students to interact with the corporate sector through multiple channels. Recently, British council has come up with an enriched program which teams up 35 to 40 corporate executives of Pakistan and they do reverse brain drain to thousands of students in U.K. and Roots is in affiliation with British Council in that program. At college level, we are providing opportunities to students to coordinate with corporate financial sector for internships and learning programs. I also believe there is a gap the more needs to be done for creating a bridge between corporate sector and students”.
IBEX has also asked about the comparison with other schools, he stated, “We believe that everyone is doing their best in their own capacities. We have the largest number of students in the northern region appearing withCambridgequalifications and the highest number of students making their way to the top ranking universities around the world. Our alumni is playing an important role in our success and building the image of Roots”.
“We are working hard to reach around 250-300 cities in future and provide opportunities to the masses to learn and get educated. We would like people to get benefits from our trained team. We are also working with international organizations for expansions in other countries preferablyU.K.andMiddle East”.