BRAC Pre-Primary Education Program in Pakistan Creates a Commitment to Education at an Early Age

August 11, 2011 by

Eight-year-old Saiqa was born with a disability which greatly slowed her physical development. The youngest of three siblings, she grew up in the Old Bakka village of the Khyber Pakhtun Khwa province in Pakistan and spent most of her time at home. Her disability kept her from playing outdoors with other children her age or participating in recreational activities outside of the home. Her father, a shop worker, and her mother, a domestic worker, never thought that Saiqa would go to school because of her physical set backs. As a result, her education was considered an unnecessary expense.

Fortunately, a BRAC Pakistan surveyor in Saiqa’s village included her name on a list of potential students for a BRAC pre-primary school that was to open in Old Bakka. Saiqa’s parents were surprised to see their daughter’s name on the list, and commented to the surveyor that she would not be able to participate because of her physical handicap. Despite her parent’s objections, BRAC Pakistan education workers decided to pay special attention to the small girl, personally reaching out to her parents and teaching them the importance of educating all of their children, even Saiqa. Through the intervention of BRAC workers in her village, Saiqa was able to attend school on a regular basis. She became involved in a variety of school activities and even became a group leader.

After completing a course at the BRAC pre-primary school in her village, Saiqa was enrolled at a nearby government primary school through the help of BRAC staff. Although she has graduated from the official BRAC school, BRAC staff continue to keep in close contact with her to make sure she is able to continue her education and pursue a meaningful and fulfilling life.

BRAC Pakistan’s pre-primary schools currently serve 778 students, with 601 recent graduates who have successfully moved on to government primary schools. BRAC Pakistan’s Education Program decided to focus on pre-primary education, as it lays the groundwork for a life-long commitment to learning and helps students transition from home life to the school environment. BRAC views early education as a valuable intervention for successfully achieving universal primary education, especially for girls. BRAC Pakistan emphasizes the enrollment of girls and disabled children, with girls making up 59% of pre-primary school enrollment during the most recent school year.