SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School  (Karachi)

The SMB* Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School

In 2007, the Bookgroup and the Zindagi Trust initiated the reform process at the SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in Karachi. A number of changes of far reaching consequence were made, and within a short period of 18 months the Fatima Jinnah School was being hailed as one of its kind in the public sector, not just in Karachi but throughout Pakistan. Apart from modern physical facilities, it compared well with a programme of studies, teaching methodology, and outdoor activities very few private schools have been able to provide. Hamidah Sayani was a key member in raising funds and for overseeing the implementation of many of the programmes.

Building new facilities

In addition to renovating the existing structures, and providing for clean drinking water, improving the toilets and sports facilities, the following new facilities were constructed:

  • A large KG Section with facilities for training of teachers
  • An air-conditioned library
  • 100-seat audio-visual room
  • Day-care facility for teachers children
  • A 40 feet x 100 feet air-conditioned art studio
  • New office spaces
  • Health room
  • A large faculty lounge
  • Seminar room
  • Science and computer labs
  • A large faculty cafeteria
  • KG section
  • A 70 KVA generator was installed to provide power at all times and a number of other facilities were also provided.

* This large school, today with 2,100 students, was established by the Sindh Madressah Board (SMB) in the early 1950s by Hasanali Effendi, a prominent educationist of Sindh. During the Bhutto era (1972-77) the school was nationalized and renamed SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School.

Academic changes

Final examinations up to Class 6 were replaced by regular tests and assignments. Bookgroup books for teaching of Urdu, Heinemann books for maths and Oxford books for English were introduced. Two new departments, one for Art and Crafts, and another for Physical Education were established. New faculty members were appointed for each department, with a structured programme for both these initiatives.

Phonics and teachers training programme
Senior Faculty Coordinator: Rafia Khan

Among the many programmes that were introduced at the SMB, two need special mention: one was the phonics programme and the other, the teachers’ training programme. Both these programmes were headed by Rafia Khan. She trained existing teachers how to use phonics as a methodology for teaching the English language.

A special state-of-the-art facility was constructed for these two programmes, where under-training teachers first observed the teachers using the phonics method, and then taught to young childern in the school.

Within a short period of one year, Rafia Khan had trained teachers in phonics. In the training programme, 25 students from the graduating class (Class 10) were selected, given a small stipend and received training in phonics. They were given certificates at the end of the training period, and got jobs in different schools immediately.

Learning Modules (LMs)

Learning Modules were made an integral part of the Programme of Studies at the SMB. The following modules were offered in different classes:

  • Roller Blading
  • Taekwondo
  • Photography
  • Rowing (Courtesy, Karachi Boat Club)
  • Chess
  • Pottery

The school published a student newspaper, jalebian, twice a year, reporting on the news of the school, highlighting students’ written and art work, interviews of students and teachers, and celebrating students achievements in sports, learning modules and other school activities. It was of great academic value in terms of encouraging students to work together, enjoy writing, creating art work for the newspaper, and they all looked forward to the new issue.

Administrative changes

Administrative changes made at the outset of the initiative at the SMB included:

  • There were seven schools functioning in the same premises, each with its own head, with little or no coordination amongst them. These seven schools were collapsed into one, with one administrative unit and one principal. The 2,100 students were administratively divided into the KG Section, Junior Section, and the Senior Section.
  • Two shifts (morning and afternoon) were collapsed into one, without displacing any of the existing students.
  • School week was changed from a 6-day week to a 5-day week (Monday through Friday)
  • Corporal punishment was banned.
  • Teachers were monitored for punctuality, lesson planning and discipline. In the event of failing to meet their responsibilities, the teacher was reported to the Sindh Education Department and action taken.