In a sharply divided society where the pocket of the parent decides the fate of the child’s education, we often look back at socially diverse and inclusive schools that provided good education to all, irrespective of whether they lived on this side of the bridge or the other side.
Schools in Karachi like St. Joseph’s Convent School, the Mama Parsi Girls School and BVS High School for Boys are examples of such schools where the education was definitely upper tier, but not necessarily the bank accounts of those paying the fees.
The Indus School (TIS), nestled in a prime location of PECHS in Karachi, is reminiscent of such schools where imparting quality education was the prime goal instead of commercial success. A mid-tier school in terms of the fee bracket, TIS offers much more than what it charges. Under one roof, parents are getting quality education for children starting from pre-primary and kindergarten to Grade 5. In addition, as more and more Pakistani families have both parents working, TIS also offers a daycare facility for the children, where they are safe and well-looked after with delicious and nutritious food being catered as part of the deal.
“We took over an already existing school which was a challenge as the school was not offering competitive standard education at that time, and was being run for mostly commercial purposes,” says Farrah Kureishy, the key person behind TIS.
From re-doing the interior in order to make the school’s environment vibrant and conducive to children’s education, to re-hauling the curricula of all classes and training of the teachers, Farrah concedes that it might have been easier to start a school from scratch than to give an existing school a re-start.
At TIS, physical activity is also emphasised upon, and apart from the usual PE periods, arrangements have also been made to offer Taekwondo training to the students.
A teacher also takes students for Remedial Learning. According to the specific needs of a student, he/she can be enrolled exclusively in remedial learning programmes, or have a combination of both. A very exclusive plus of this school is the emphasis on language. Students of TIS are offered classes for improving their English language skills by none other than Berlitz.
A school providing good education at a fee that is light on the parents’ pockets, it is surprising that students in a school like TIS are outnumbered by students going to very pricey counterparts in the same locality. Sabeen Barkat, Principal at TIS, has more than two decades of experience of teaching and school administration at some of the most upper-tier schools in the city; yet, she finds satisfaction in the opportunity she has at TIS.
“Parents these days are more concerned about social competitiveness and worry more about the gentry that is coming to the schools rather than quality education which is actually what should be the aim and focus,” she says.However, in her expert opinion, children learn better life skills and grow up smarter in inclusive schools, rather than those isolated on the basis of social strata.
Both, Farrah and Sabeen shared how important it is for them that social ethics and civic sense be a part of the learning they impart at the school. “EPL (Exercises of Practical Life) are a very carefully incorporated part of our syllabus,” says Sabeen. She uses her experience and learning to train and help the teachers perform to an optimum level. “It is important for the teachers to be fresh and motivated. That is half of our work done!”
In the fiercely competitive field of education, schools like The Indus School are unsung heroes as they provide affordable and high standard education to students. The logo of TIS has three words or ideals, as the motto – Integrity. Empathy. Knowledge. Perhaps, it is time that as a society we move towards not just pursuit of material well-being and information, but knowledge.
For that, we will have to move beyond the notion that the label of certain schools is what leads young adults to a better life.
For more information about The Indus School, please see details below:
Address: 48-G/1, Block 6, PECHS, Karachi