Saadia Naveed The key to realising a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning Oprah Winfrey When you think about it, there may be nothing more powerful a parent can give a child than education after unconditional love and attention. The educational backwardness reflects economic backwardness, and economic backwardness perpetrates educational backwardness. Thus, it has become a vicious circle. The Government of Punjab has taken some concrete steps towards education in the form of the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF). It is an institution geared to spread educational skills and increase the competitive capabilities by making available such facilities. So, what is needed by the leaders and intellectuals is genuine commitment, a social vision and dynamic approach. The provincial government declares education as its highest priority and expressed the belief that unless the impediments of illiteracy and lack of education are removed, the road to democracy will remain fraught with the menace of exploitation of the masses. The PEF is focused to do something tangible in this arena to fight against illiteracy and lack of education, for there is nothing important to the well being of a nation than human resource and no negligence worse than ignoring its development. Therefore, the foundations systematic functioning is progressively heading towards an evolution in the educational system of the Punjab. The foundation has set up a central control room at its head office to monitor and organise the field activities of 10th Quality Assurance Test (QAT) of schools partnered under the Foundation Assisted Schools (FAS) programme. QAT commenced from Lahore, Pakpattan, Okara, and Vehari on November 03 and will conclude on November 15, 2011. More so, the team spirit in the organisation is another feather in its cap. It has assigned duties to its staff to conduct the test, which is being held in 84 tehsils of 29 districts in Punjab. The Foundation Assisted Schools (FAS) is the flagship programme of the Punjab Education Foundation, which is serving poor children to get free education. PEF has signed agreements with 22 private schools in Lahore and Kasur to provide free education to deserving children under its Education Voucher Scheme (EVS) in the deprived areas of these districts. To make it a success, the media should reconsider its priorities and real issues should be highlighted. Also, the institutions adopting an unconventional approach must be highlighted. The PEF has developed 800,000 students data bank to avoid any impersonation. Additionally, the partnership of private schools has helped improve their standard of education, as 35 top positions have been bagged by the partner institutions in the Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) exams that were held recently. The PEF is committed to improving its partnership with these schools, so that the benefits of public-private partnership could be effectively delivered to poor students. The foundation has also planned to increase the total number of 129 schools, partnered under New School Programme (NSP), to 200 to provide free educational facilities to a maximum number of deserving students. Four hundred and fifty new schools have been partnered under FAS this year that has helped to accommodate as many as 300,000 additional students. As many as 80 schools will be set up under Phase III of the New School Programme (NSP) of the foundation in 12 different districts of the province. The main purpose is to provide educational facilities to poor students at their doorstep. According to flood assessment, conducted by the foundation, out of 92 schools found to be affected so far, 64 are Foundation Assisted Schools, while 28 others are registered under the New School Programme. It is partnered with 1,776 schools in 29 districts under FAS programme and 129 schools in eight districts for NSP in Punjab. Confucius, the world famous Chinese philosopher, said more than 2,500 years ago: In all things, success depends upon previous preparation - and without such preparation there is sure to be failure. In modern parlance, this elementary observation translates into a simple two-step sequence: Plan before doing, or the more popular exhortation Plan your work, work your plan So, here we have the genesis of the project lifespan; the Punjab Education Foundation has taken it quite well. The members of the foundation have a clear vision and very well know what they want to achieve. They have accepted the challenge; it has been well defined and has set realistic goals. All praises for the management, who is making a sincere effort for the effective execution of the projects under its umbrella. This special initiative of the Chief Minister of Punjab will hopefully soon bloom into a higher literacy rate in the province. The writer is a freelance columnist.