News & Media

Dubai cares for Pakistani children

DUBAI: Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has successfully completed a three-year programme in Pakistan which has resulted in significant improvement in the learning outcomes, enrolment and transitions from pre-primary to primary education among 431,372 school children. 

The Dhs19,780,082 ($5,384,533) programme was implemented in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan provinces in partnership with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA).

The programme focused on establishing early childhood education, ECE, in government schools and providing accelerated learning and support for out-of-school children. It focused on generating a culture of reading among children to improve learning and citizenship across schools in Pakistan. It also focused on building the capacity of teachers in hard-to-reach areas through a “Teachers Without Frontiers” model, and influencing the public policy on education and girls’ rights to education.

Annina Mattsson, Programmes Director at Dubai Cares, commented, “Across the three provinces in Pakistan where the programme was implemented, 58 per cent of children aged 6-12 could not read a single English letter or word, but towards the end of the programme, 70 per cent of the participating children were reading words, sentences or stories.

“Our programme, in partnership with ITA, has made a significant and positive impact on the children’s learning outcomes and enrolment rates and has paved the way for them to flourish throughout their education journey.” 

A recent independent external evaluation of Dubai Cares’ programme in Pakistan, carried out by Altamont Group, has shown a 55 per cent increase in pre-primary enrolment across 438 schools and an average of 61 per cent transition of children from pre-primary to primary education. 

It also showed how the programme has created a significant impact among out-of-school-children in Pakistan through the Learning for Action learning camp component, which was organised in 556 schools and provided literacy and numeracy support to 21,719 out-of-school-children and 13,541 at-risk students (just over half of whom were girls). 

In terms of numeracy, only 19 per cent of out-of-school-children could identify numbers to 99 at the baseline, which rose to 35 per cent at the endline; and only one per cent of out-of-school-children could do simple addition before the programme, which rose to 31 per cent after the programme. Many of the children were subsequently mainstreamed into schools and ITA reports an upward trend in enrolment of 55 per cent in schools supported by Dubai Cares.

Baela Raza Jamil, CEO ITA, said, “The support extended by Dubai Cares to Pakistan has been strategic and instrumental in transforming the educational landscape of the country. The programme was well aligned with national and provincial priorities as articulated in the sector plans for ECE in early learning preparedness, accelerated learning opportunities for out-of-school children, support for missing facilities, teacher training including blended professional development and the innovative children’s literature festivals in hard-to-access areas. The programme contributed towards achieving the SDG 4 targets and right to education as a fundamental constitutional provision. We thank Dubai Cares for its generous support and look forward to working together in the near future.”