As a matter of fact we all know that our country is presently facing myriad challenges in education sector and experts believe that Pakistan cannot join the prestigious club of developed nations without improving the current quality of education. Although a number of organisations are dedicated to lift the standard of education in Pakistan but only a few are doing it in accordance with international quality standards. One among such organizations is Association for Academic Quality (AFAQ). This is an independent, ISO 9001-2008 certified organization contributing to development of schools, teachers, and students at the same time. Most importantly it has a vision to improve the literacy rate in Pakistan through a diverse range of services including, but not limited to; curriculum development, textbooks and children’s publications, model school development, teachers training, youth promotion, career counseling, student assessments and penetrated evaluation campaigns.
One of the departments of AFAQ is AFAQ Educational Services (ES), which is working to set new educational standards through utilization of the invaluable experience of organization in the fields of curricula and trainings. This department offers the following state-of-the-art services: Educational pre audits, Career Counseling & Guidance Services, Character Building Activities and Teaching Observation. Now let’s take a look at what each service is about and what AFAQ ES has achieved so far, making it different from others.
An Educational Pre-Audit (EPA) is a detailed and rigorous activity in which AFAQ’s certified lead auditors visit the educational institutes to observe and evaluate the educational processes and standard procedures of that institute, which includes and not limited to; assembly observation, ecology audit, review of policies and records, meetings with parents, meetings with students, getting feedback from teachers, sessions with non-teaching staff, meetings with institute’s management etc. It also gathers various information of institute like organization profile, enrolment records, previous attendance records, faculty’s qualification and experience records, history of results, curriculum etc. Then AFAQ develops a comprehensive audit report which covers the standardized areas of audit. The report depicts innumerable areas such as the teaching methodologies practiced by the teachers, teaching observation report, policies and records required, etc. It also provides recommendations and action plan to be implemented. As far as achievements are concerned, AFAQ has conducted more than 1,000 pre-audits nationwide and abroad so far.
Career Counseling & Guidance is anexpert scientific process that helps the students to avail better educational and occupational choices. After structured psychological assessments of students; AFAQ delivers quality career counseling. Till now, More than 7,000 students have taken these tests nationwide.
Character Building manuals are also part of Educational Services. Although character formation begins at home, AFAQ believes everyone who interacts with a child or the teen has an opportunity to teach or encourage positive social values. AFAQ’s mission is to help teachers, school management, and parents to build future leaders with sound character. AFAQ offers an activity based curriculum and training support materials. The goal is to provide engagement, positive and practical, research-based lessons in the local context that will help students build character and competence needed for success.
As fa as character building is concerned, AFAQ helps educational institutes implement the whole organism of character building through three different workbooks for teachers, students&parents, and the management. It also provides different materials like certificates for achievers, stickers, crowns, bookmarks, banners, and other informational tools.More than 40,000 students had benefited from these activities nationwide, another hallmark to the list of achievements of AFAQ.
AFAQ’s teaching observation service has two components. Firstly; a certified teaching consultant observes staff teach during a class session of school’s choosing. Secondly; the school is given a detailed report a few days later along with a presentation. This presentation is not intended to be judgmental. Instead; it is intended as a supportive way to help school analyze its teaching faculty and identify their strengths as a teacher, and most importantly; areas for improvement, as the main goal of this activity. The purpose of a teaching observation and consultation is to promote the culture of support, sustained engagement of teachers, and increased teachers’ retention. More than 8,000 teachers have benefited from such services nationwide.
The fore mentioned services are a testimony to the fact that AFAQ is dedicated to improving education in Pakistan. We strive that no other organization is serving the education zone as being done by AFAQ, because; it strains to bring the best out of schools, teachers and the future of our country, the students. Over the years, AFAQ has grown into an international organization providing its services in the Middle East, South East Asia, Africa and Scandinavian countries, which is testimony to the fact that AFAQ is committed to contribute towards the holistic development of schools, teachers and students; keeping in view the global educational standards. AFAQ wants to satisfy its customers, both locally and abroad; by utilizing the best available resources and keeping in mind the fact that dignity, meaningful services and confidentiality remain to be the hallmark of it services especially Educational Services. Pakistan can transform into a developed country by improving the standard of education which is only possible by supporting organizations like AFAQ, otherwise the road to development will unfortunately continue to be a dream in Pakistan.
The writer is Country Head, AFAQ Educational Services.