Schools Soaring to New Heights

GBHS Shah-e-Mardan Shah in Khairpur

The support of parents and community members is essential for improving schools and overall educational development. In the district of Khairpur, one man is tirelessly and diligently working to improve a school’s performance in his locality. This individual, Abdul Sami Memon, is also the Chairman of the School Management Committee (SMC) – which is a body composed of the school’s headteacher, parents and community members who work together to address school specific challenges. The school - Government Boys High School (GBHS) Shah-e-Mardan Shah – is participating in STEP’s Whole School Improvement Programme.

A strategy to mobilise communities is embedded within STEP’s educational development approach. STEP’s Community Mobiliser Muhammad Ismail visits STEP’s schools, motivating and inspiring parents and others in the community to support their children's education. In the case of GBHS Shah-e-Mardah Shah in Khairpur, Abdul Sami

Memon stated that “The STEP team, particularly the community mobiliser Mr. Muhammad Ismail made me realise the role and responsibilities of the SMC Chairman with regards to school development. Since then I have started giving my time to the school; I try my best to contribute to the betterment of the school”. Abdul Sami Memon visits the school at least 3-4 times a week, to ensure that teachers are attending school regularly and performing their duties appropriately. Teacher abseentism is a major challenge across the public education sector. However Abdul Sami Memon’s involvement indicates that communities can help deal with this challenge. Furthermore, when issues concerning the school’s infrastructure arise, for example, Abdul Sami Memon intervenes on behalf of the school to resolve such concerns. His support is appreciated by the teachers and children, and serves as a source of encouragement for them to persevere in their efforts.

The school’s achievements cannot be attributed to Abdul Sami Memon exclusively. Mujeebullah Qazi, the headteacher of the school, has made the school an exciting and inspiring place for students to learn through his skillful leadership and dedication. Mujeebullah Qazi has also attended a programme on Educational Leadership and Management through STEP. He stated that “the course which was offered by AKU-IED has opened my mind and provided me an opportunity to see the world through different angles. I am no longer an ordinary headteacher; instead now I am a highly professional headteacher, and I am working to bring desirable changes at the school. Honestly speaking, before attending the Educational Leadership and Management programme at AKU-IED, I did not know my roles and responsibilities as a headteacher. Now I am confident, I know who I am, and I know exactly what I have to do for my students.”

The results of the headteacher’s training and his efforts are evident in the enhanced teaching and learning practices. Students are disciplined, and during the morning assembly students take turns to speak or perform in front of their classmates. Such activities provide the children an opportunity to develop and exhibit their leadership skills while building their confidence and self-esteem. 

The enrolment rate has increased substantially in the school; other parents are demanding that their children also receive admission, and even children of elite families from the area have now transferred their children to GBHS Shah-e-Mardan Shah. As a result of the rapid increase in demand for admission, it became apparent that additional space in the school was needed. Abdul Sami Memon responded to the demand, and raised funds from community members and donors to purchase a new building extension for the school. Now the school’s physical environment is improved, safer, more commodious, and can accommodate more children who are seeking admission and eager to learn.