LAHORE -  Admiral (r) M Asif Sandila, former Chief of the Naval Staff, has set an example by preferring working for education to becoming head of any private institution.

He has established Moawin Foundation (MF), a Non-Profit Organization which adopts government schools through an MOU. It is aimed to provide good quality education and vocational training for boys and girls in rural areas of Pakistan.

Briefing the media men at his school-cum-foundation office, situated some 20 kilometers on Faisalabad road in Mehmowali village, Sandila said: “We have developed understanding with Ali Institute of Education to train our teachers. The expenditure is shared by Babar Ali Foundation & MF.”

“We with the help of Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC), his foundation provides skill development both for boys & girls. Qualified trainees are provided microfinance through Akhuwat,” he added.

The Moawin Foundation has also signed MOU with Aahung, a Karachi based organisation, to implement Life Skills Based Education to our students.

“There is large population which has a sizeable number of youth out of who majority of this segment of our society in the rural areas is uneducated. They are either unable to attend school or those who do, do not get adequate education at primary secondary level,” the ex-Naval chief told the media.

“Government schools exist in most parts of the country. However, the standard of teaching education is generally not very high. It is believed that by making use of the existing infrastructure, improvement can be achieved by supervision and provision of trained teachers.

“Need is also felt to impart vocational training to boys and girls so that they develop skills to earn their livelihood,” he added.

The Foundation endeavours to improve primary secondary education in government schools and provide opportunities for skill development through vocational training in rural areas. “Teachers are not available, if there are they don’t attend school. If they attend, they don’t teach. And when they teach, they don’t teach well,” Sandila held.

He was of the view that essential facilities like classrooms, laboratories, washrooms are either non functional or less than required in more than one hundred and fifty thousand schools. He claimed that his foundation would make required number of teachers available, train them and monitor them so that they could teach well. “Our facilitation brings the district administration in the loop through an MOU.”

He further informed that a pilot project was started at Village Mahmunwali, District Sheikhupura. Similarly, Govt Boys High School and Govt Girls Elementary School were adopted in June 2015, under an MOU with the district administration. “Our efforts resulted in increase of enrolment, drop outs decreased and results improved.”

Also, a Vocational Training Institute (VTI) was established in coordination with Punjab Vocational Training Council (PVTC). It has now become so popular that girls and boys come for training from nearby villages.

Through efforts of MF, the prime minister approved Rs50 million as seed money while the Punjab CM sanctioned Rs50 million for construction and establishment of VTI. The building is under construction and expected to be completed soon.

Apart from local authorities, the Consulate General of China, Lahore, provided funds for construction of class rooms, equipment for Computer Lab, Kids’ room, furniture, and construction and repair of washrooms.

The High Commission of Australia, Islamabad, provided funds for two solar systems. The Bank Al Habib Ltd provided eight filtration plants and water coolers for the schools.

Liaqat Baig of Kestral provided one solar system. FNF (Germany) provided funds for sewing machines, desks and furniture.

“Our main focus is teachers’ training. Regular training is being arranged with the help of Ali Institute of Education (AlE) Lahore & Bahria Institute of Teachers’ Training (BITT) Karachi. Extra teachers have been hired to meet shortages,” Sandila concluded.