26th March 2012: The Directorate of School Education in Karachi has issued a notification declaring the SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School a one campus school, merging 7 schools – each with its own administration – into one school. The school will now have one principal, one campus, one budget according to the School Consolidation Policy issued in 2011.
This is a huge achievement for Zindagi Trust after a struggle with the administrative issue started ever since taking over the management of the government school in 2007. The situation observed at the school – and one that is common in schools across the city – of multiple schools running on one campus might sound like a trivial administrative detail at first glance, but it translates to a criminally inefficient use of resources as well as a logistical nightmare in practice. E.g. Two 6th-grade science classes running next door to each other might have a combined strength of 5 science teachers in attendance yet one would regularly have students sitting idly without a teacher because none of the 10 teachers present are registered with their school. This is only example of many frustrating situations arising from the curious practice of multiple schools in one campus.
Although the cooperation of the government in the past allowed Zindagi Trust to work in the school as one administration, there were still issues arising on the ground without the official notification. The School Consolidation Policy issued in 2011 was the first step in the march towards simplifying and strengthening school administration and pushing the impact of reform beyond the one school; this executive order takes that struggle further by making the school merger official.
We would like to thank the Directorate of School Education and the Reform Support Unit of the Education Department for their understanding and support in translating our experience into policy as well as pushing to implement it. We hope to see the merger come to reality in other multiple-administration campuses soon so that the resulting inefficiency and corruption can be checked.