Education is like a seed and it needs the best conditions to flourish and grow. It is an empowering right that must not only be accessible to all, but also be of the best quality. It is not a privilege granted by a government; it is a legal right for everyone - children, youth and adults. However, that is not always the case when it comes to developing countries likes ours. Pakistan is the world’s sixth largest populous country where the number of non-studying children makes it the second highest in the world.
Fortunately, there are organisations that are working to rectify this by making quality education accessible to children who cannot easily afford it. TCF (The Citizens Foundation) is one of the Pakistan’s leading organisations aims to bring a positive change in Pakistani citizens by enlightening their minds spiritually and intellectually, especially for those who cannot afford the high-priced education currently prevalent here. The organisation was founded 24 years ago when a group of virtuous citizens who saw the potential to bring change to world of education within our country.
TCF started off with just five schools and today it has 1567 schools in total in 700 different areas across the country with 252000 students (48 per cent being girls). Apart from teaching, TCF has been one of the largest employer of needy women since the whole organisation is run by more than 12000 teachers, principals and supporting staff.
The study plan balances local and international standards of education. The academics team has designed an appropriate curriculum taking references from across the globe, blending the national curriculum concepts and international curricula. In addition, they raise their students as good teachers to transfer the essential ethics to the next generation.
Recently, TCF held seminar in Karachi where members of the media community were invited to highlight some of its success stories. The success of TCF is reflected in the confident and self-assured personalities of its students, Rohaila Khan, being one of them. She was the youngest TCF alumna to take charge of a TCF school as a principal, after completing her education from here. She belonged to a poor family of a hard working tailor and worked her way to the top with the support of her family. She dedicated her own future to the organisation by enrolling her son in at TCF too.
Another bright star is Zakir Ali from KPK. His parents opposed co-education, while he preferred to focus on his high aims of achieving success. Currently he is finalising his graduation in Software Engineering, setting an appealing example of determination and hard work. Nadeem Hussain, from 2007 batch, lived in katchi abadi and his father worked in a factory while his mother worked as a maid for more than 34 years. He completed his Computer Science Degree from IBA and attended University of Massachusetts USA for Public Policy and Leadership courses - selected in this programme as one of 17 lucky Pakistani students. Today, he holds a job as World Bank Technical Assistant for the Government of Sindh.
TCF plans to open more school in remote areas. It plans to enrol around two million students in its schools by 2030. A nation’s bright future lies on the education of the women and TCF is definitely making things better for Pakistan in this case.
— Asbah Umais