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How one of the worlds biggest education reforms was launched in Pakistan

Spirit of Math Podcast Episode #1

In our first episode, our hosts Kim Langen and Nathan Langen, interview Mian Imran Masood, former provincial Minister of Education Punjab, Pakistan. Imran is the architect of one of the world’s biggest educational reforms that was adopted by several countries around the world. He reveals some of the biggest challenges faced, and the impact he made in the public education sector of Pakistan.
Mian Imran Masood

About Mian Imran Masood

In our first episode, our hosts Kim Langen and Nathan Langen, interview Mian Imran Masood, former provincial Minister of Education Punjab, Pakistan. Imran is the architect of one of the world’s biggest educational reforms that was adopted by several countries around the world. He reveals some of the biggest challenges faced, and the impact he made in the public education sector of Pakistan.


Hi Mom. I’m glad that we can actually see each
other during times like this.
And actually, you know, I’m pretty happy.
Um, we have someone that’s really exciting on this podcast
Someone that we’ve been working with for a while,
and someone that’s been very influential around the world.
This is really a kind of.
a real treat for everyone to be speaking with the
person we are going to be introducing to you really
soon and and you’re going to see how he has
changed the world. So Nathan Yeah,
it’s perfect. So can you introduce him please so that
we can get right to him and have as much
time as possible.
so the person you know I’ve had many dinners with
them. He’s taken me around Pakistan actually.
So Imran Masood. He’s the former Minister of Education for
Punjab Pakistan.
And as a senior parliamentarian who has held many important
positions in the government of Pakistan,
he has been involved in the policymaking by being the
elected member for the provincial assembly,
Punjab, Pakistan. Holding different portfolios in different times.
His focus has been in the area of Education,
Health, Human Rights, woman empowerment,
environment, cultural and heritage. He has been a strong supporter
of enhancing and
strengthening the concept of public private partnership,
working in the education sector.
This has been his strength.
Long career of hard work and achievements.
He has the honor of launching the biggest education reform
program of Punjab in 2002,
which was then adopted through out Pakistan.
Free education for every child.
Free textbooks for public sector students and stipends for girl
students who were announced for the first time in the
history of Pakistan.
The World Bank supported this education reform program as a
This reform program was rated as one of the best
programs in the world and achieving the Millennium Development goals.
Mian Imran Masood has also made a policy for the
quality enhancement and research in the education institutes.
Higher Education Commission was promoted and strengthened in his time
to monitor the Universities of Pakistan.
Many private universities were established in his time.
He is representing various organizations in different capacities.
He has traveled extensively all over the world,
attending conferences and seminars. Currently he’s the Vice Chancellor of
the University of South Asia,
Lahore, Pakistan. I’ve been to many of their campuses and
he’s also the chairman of Gandhara Association of art and
culture Pakistan.
He has recently been appointed as the member Punjab Higher
Education Commission of Pakistan,
which we brought him here because we want to know
I at least I do mom.
I don’t know about yourself.
I want to know all about the history.
I want to know if it was new position.
I want to know what’s going on.
on the other side of the world we are here
in Toronto right now.
OK, you know. I guess you all heard that list,
I went boom boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom
Boom Boom Boom Boom boom and
then you think it would end and I kept going
and going and going all these things that you have
done it’s incredible welcome to our podcast.
Thank you so much. Thank you for introducing me and
it’s a long story.
Am I audible to everybody. Can you hear me?
I said great thank you all the way from Pakistan
this is.
Right now are you in Gujarat or Lahore?
I am in Lahore
What is the provincial capital of Pakistan?
Pakistan has you know,
four provinces and every province has a capital.
So Lahore is like New York.
Like Paris, Toronto. It’s one of the most cosmopolitan cities
in the world.
It’s the cultural hub of Pakistan.
It’s also the educational hub of Pakistan.
We do have many colleges which are more than about
160 years old.
Colleges and schools. And which have a long history of
imparting quality education in Lahore,
Punjab in Pakistan. Now you mentioned.
Say something say that’s OK,
I was I like to I I would like to
just cut in here for a second.
If you don’t mind because there’s so much that we
want to talk about.
The one thing I wanted to say to people is
not only has Imran done a lot but there is
a situation where we were in Imran invited Nathan and
myself and a couple other people to the provincial parliament
to actually go in and watch that.
And I am I wanna tell that little story because
we walked in and we were given a a full
out like it was like royalty and um and what
it was when we went in.
Also I was just entering into the building and then
we were invited to sit in the office of the
speaker of the House and we met some incredible people
who have changed Pakistan as well.
Really influence the direction of Pakistan where I was going
and then we were invited into parliament.
Well I was expecting to go right at the top
and sort of look over top like all the general
public is allowed to do.
Well no we were invited to sit right at the
Now what happened when we sat there too?
Was that as people walked in.
Everybody, it didn’t matter what side of the room they
were on.
They all bowed and they were so respectful,
so pleased to see Imran and um,
and that respect I think is something that.
It is rare to see um,
and also it says so much about you.
Imran and I think that’s uhm,
you know, people can have a list of all the
things that they’ve done,
but to actually have the respect because they know you’ve
done it for a good reason.
Everything you have done. and I know that you have
helped so many people in Pakistan and help Pakistan is
a whole.
So I I am wondering.
I think we can talk about education as well.
I like to talk to you about you about you
for a little while.
Would that be OK? No sure sure.
Sometimes it’s so hard, but I would like to talk
to you about.
The question OK super …alright,
so you know you’ve got this huge list.
You have the respect of people wherever you go and
I’d like to know out of all of what you
have done,
what would you consider was the biggest impact you have
had on this world.
Well, uh, uh. You mentioned the day when we visited
The biggest assembly of Pakistan which has more than about
370 Seven elected members sitting in that old building where
you and I and Nathan we went there.
Now where you sat were VIP seats.
It’s called the governance box and nobody is allowed to
sit there.
It’s actually sitting with the speaker.
It’s mostly the culture of hospitality that we have,
and they had to welcome you also.
Somebody who’s visiting from Canada to Pakistani parliament or assemblies.
This is normally they recognize the foreigners or any outside
But to my good luck,
we had the Treasury benches and the opposition benches.
It was a full House.
The House was in session and everybody was,
you know, saying hello to me. Well it comes with
your performance,
your exemplary performance, your character and your delivery and any
reform program that you have launched which then becomes a
success story.
So people do remember the good work and they all
Remember Me even now.
Now I had a face the biggest challenges as a
Minister of Education.
Uh, the Ministry of Education of Punjab is one of
the biggest ministries in the world.
Like Chinese, you know Department,
say the American department’s like the Indian Ministries where you
have a lot of population and the numbers are huge.
It’s a monstrous Department as I’ve already mentioned to you
many times during our chats that we had.
Heading uh 63,000 public schools,
which were called the government schools from grade one to
Grade 10 and obviously a 250 schools.
Which are the high secondary schools.
And I was dealing with more than 500 colleges.
And about 15 public universities and the total students were
12.8 million students in the public sector only.
Now when we talk about the private sector,
private sector has about more than 100,000 schools in Punjab
and the students double,
the amount of which we have in the public sector.
So the responsibility is huge.
The challenges are. I mean you can’t even imagine how
big is the challenge.
The biggest challenge that I faced as a minister was
the was a decreasing enrollment.
The enrollment was going down in the public sector and
everybody was opting to go to the private sector.
Private schools are more attractive and the government schools were
not that attractive.
They were not attractive because they were,
there was no furniture in those schools there were no
boundary walls in those schools.
These were the most dilapidated schools that we had and
the infrastructure was very poor.
There were no chairs for students,
sorry. You want to ask.
Because, um students are going to listen to this too.
So if there’s no tables and chairs.
How how do kids go to school?
How they learn? This was the biggest challenge you know.
Well, you know this is do with the poverty.
These are the countries which are underdeveloped countries,
countries which want to develop themselves countries which did not
focus much on education.
They don’t get any money to spend on this sector.
The education sector was the most ignored sector in Punjab.
In Pakistan the priority was roads,
infrastructure, bridges, highways and agriculture.
Since we are an agricultural economy,
so this was a deprived sector.
This was ignored sector and now one fine morning you
become a minister and it looks very attractive.
Or you are the master.
Now you heading one of the biggest departments in the
But the challenges were the challenges that I faced were
were very horrific.
You know, the biggest challenge was that.
We had no enrollment. The other biggest challenge that I
had to face was the highest dropout rate in the
Punjab had the biggest drop out rate out of 12.8
million students.
5 million students would drop out every year.
They would go back to their homes and they were
dropped out,
so why?
Yeah, but I’m coming to that point.
Why would they go to the homes?
Why were they pulled back by their parents?
What were the reasons? Why did we,
you know, we had such a big drop out.
That was the thing that I had to find out.
So, uh, so we started our program an then we
The third challenge was the infrastructure.
As I mentioned, no disks,
no chairs. Out of 63,000 schools,
40,000 schools had no boundary wall,
no toilets, no furniture and no fans,
and no electricity. Can you imagine the the amount of
challenge that I had to face now?
The development budget was very,
very. And in fact I had no money to spend
on the development sector.
The only money that was available was one billion Pakistani
The total budget of this Department was 34 billion Rupees
back in 2002.
For being 1 billion Pakistan Rupees,
what is that in, uh,
I don’t know how much is 1 billion dollars?
Why don’t we figure it out,
sorry. Zorain is going to do the arithmetic since he’s
doing the math.
You know he’s the bad guy.
So getting money is a big challenge in Pakistani politics.
Nobody gives you money just like that.
It has to be a fantastic program.
It has to be a you need to do a
lot of lobby to get this funds from the federal
from the Exchequer of Pakistan and Punjab an where the
government has different priorities.
The priorities that we had in those times was the
Was the situation between Pakistan and India.
So money was being spent on on getting,
uh, the army more strengthened and they were doing the
the Arsenal.
And you know the weapons and the money was going
towards the defense,
sorry. So so to get money out of that budget
was a big task.
So my program that I designed on very basic things,
things which had logic which had the empathy which had
the emotions which had a direct relation with the future
of our young children of Pakistan and the literacy rate
of Pakistan. Was very low.
Punjab had 42 percent literacy rate in 2002,
so my challenge was to bring that child who’s out
of school into the school and then to have their
child retained in the school.
You know he must stay in the school.
So I can I just get I’m going to just
paint this picture a little bit so that kids understand
So first of all, you’ve got this major problem because
you don’t have much money,
and it sounds like a billion Pakistan rupees.
Sounds like a lot, but it’s actually only about 8
million Canadian dollars and even less American dollars.
Now some some of you out there may think $8,000,000
as a lot,
but remember how many students were there?
How many millions of students?
And if you think of 80,000 schools of which were
just for the for the government’s public schools,
80,000 schools. And if you think about it and you
may not realize that,
but every school here in Canada has a budget of
at least one million.
So that would be if you had 80,000 schools,
you would multiply that by a million 80.
$1,000,000 Canadian dollars and all you had was 8 million.
Hey dollars and that would be the only eight schools
in Canada could be looked after.
OK so I wanted to describe that and that’s that’s
kind of like you know what do you do with
so little money because you don’t even have enough money
to pay for teachers, right?
And then you’ve got people who aren’t seeing the value
in education and people aren’t sending their kids.
They want to send them back home.
And then I think you’ve also got this issue.
Like there’s notes, there’s no.
Furniture in there and you’ve got an issue of girls
as well,
which I’ve heard of in the past too.
what did you do?
Uh, with all these challenges that I had.
The other challenge was to,
you know, enhance the girls participation in the schools.
The biggest drop load was amongst the girls in a
in those selected 15 districts of Punjab.
Punjab has 36. District is like counties.
You know we had 36 counties anet.
Since the population is huge in Punjab population wise it’s
the biggest province and area wise also.
Your second in area where is Baluchistan is the biggest
you know province in the area wise.
Now in the far flung places of Punjab like when
you get out of Toronto and you go to the
border areas where there is less of Education and more
cultural issues where people are very shy and they’re not
open community.
So they would think that sending those two schools was
a waste of time and the boys need to be
The girls are not supposed to be educated.
So we were doing the women empowerment.
We were also working on women development and we thought
that giving free education to these girls and giving stipends
to these girls,
this is going to be a road towards the women
So with all these challenges that I had,
like a decreasing enrollment. And a high dropout grades and
less of a girls participation.
No infrastructure of very low literacy rate of.
Education in Punjab in Pakistan.
So I had to design my reform program.
It was a sectoral reform.
The entire Department had to be shaken up an A
new policy had to be designed.
So I gave three big incentives.
I announced free education for every child in Punjab for
the first time in the history of Pakistan.
We were talking about giving free education.
To every child we won’t charge them,
not even a single penny.
So the entire education from grade one to grade 10
would be free.
That’s what I announced at the first instance.
The second biggest announcement that I did was giving free
books to every child.
Now printing those books, publishing those books and having them
waterproof them and then send them to the Chiller.
It was a big task,
which I did actually. So free education we announced.
We did the free books and then I was giving
a 200 piece pocket money as a stipend to young
This was the incentive that we gave to all our
And then we were putting in money to the development
like doing the boundary walls and giving desks and chairs
and giving them the basics.
So these incentives. These knew this new policy that I
had announced.
It showed wonderful results in the first year
So what happened in the first year when I did
this announcement I got 2.2 new 2.2 million new students
coming into the garment stream.
Now this was the biggest world record.
This became a world record.
It had never happened in any part of the world.
Where you would get such a big amount of students
in in one years time.
So this is the time when the World Bank was
very much impressed by my program.
They they saw the seriousness of this program.
They saw the commitment of the government,
the commitment of the Department.
So they became my partners.
And they pulled in money.
So my requirement was. You know,
coming back to the development budget which I got was
only one billion.
And what I required to do all my school was
90 billion.
I needed 90 billion in one years time where I
would do my entire infrastructure,
whatever things I had in my mind,
free book stipends, free education desk chairs that required 90
billion and I was only given 1 billion in a
So I needed 90 years to do my reform program.
You see, that was such a big challenge that I
had to face.
So World Bank came to my rescue.
They chipped in money and they gave me about 300
million dollars as a first.
You know, tranche of installment of money that came into
my exchequer.
So we started printing, publishing books,
giving stipends to young girls.
The good news that I got in the first year
was that the World Bank did a third party evaluation
of our program,
which was done by different different is an international agency
or for UK.
It’s a Department which looks into the education sector.
They give you money and so developing like the USAID
like CEDA and the different different was.
They did a third party evaluation.
They did the Statistiques. They recorded the enrollment and it
was 100%
transparent. All those statistics which came after one year.
So 2.2 two .2 million new students coming into our
My enrollment went higher and higher than I was doing
the infrastructure.
The money was given into the development sector.
We started building. You know,
those constructing those boundary walls?
We started giving those furniture.
My student would sit on the floor.
Just a small carpet under his back and,
uh, it was a, uh,
a very uh. It was not a good site to
see you.
No one would feel so much about those children which
was sitting on the floor and having noticed,
although these things were the basic,
the basic right of a child to have a nice
chair and a desk and electricity.
So it started happening. The development program took off.
An it started showing results students were coming in.
People were getting. Children were getting those furniture.
We were doing electricity in those schools,
giving decent washrooms, giving them drinking water,
an doing the infrastructure. So,
uh, I, uh, I learned a lot in this challenge.
It was a non stop learning process that I went
I could see the the amount of challenge poor family
would have.
You know poverty was a basic reason of this massive
dropout becausr 60%
of population was living below the poverty level,
so we could not invite them because.
Their basic issue was to earn bread and butter.
So giving education was a secondary.
You know a thing for those parents.
They wanted to look into the survival.
Survival is to eat, not to send their children to
the schools.
So we said, just send the child to the school.
We will not charge nothing.
No penny will be taken from them.
Everything was free. So that’s how this program got started.
It took off in a very nice way.
The money was given in a very transparent.
there was a huge amount of accountability and the money
was well spent.
This was a five year program,
so I did five years of my term as a
minister and so the World Bank was my partner.
So after the second year of my program came,
this is very interesting. Now after two years of my
progress that I did I got new students coming in.
Infrastructure was being built. New books were being published and
We did the revamping of the curricula.
Uh, the new syllabus was adopted and we wanted to
match this government school with a private school because people
thought that the government schools are inferior and the
private schools are superior Because they doing the English medium
stream education.
We were the Urdu medium stream.
You know who do is our national language,
so English. We would teach the students from great 6
as a compulsory subject.
So I brought this English down to Grade 1 as
a compulsory subject in a compulsory language.
So 2 languages were given as compulsory or do the
national language and obviously English is an international language.
Is this became a, you know a law that everybody
has to do,
English and Urdu. So, uh,
so then I said that all my schools are going
to be now English medium schools.
In fact, we gave them both options.
Either you could do in Urdu,
or you can, uh, do English medium you know?
Talk about that really quickly about a couple of things
with that by providing kids with the English medium that
allows them to have access to so much more information,
doesn’t it? When I say access,
it’s not just I can now go onto the Internet.
It means actually I can understand what is being said
out there and so therefore you now can do something
with that information.
and I think for kids it’s really important for them
to understand the important how important it is to have
an international language.
Um, Can you imagine being a poor person and all
you hear is in one language that maybe even not?
Or do it could even be their local dialect of
So you have to trust the understanding and any information
that you get just from that local and you don’t
have the ability to go out and find out information
for yourself so that English is critical and also allows
those kids to be at the same level.
At least have opportunities. To open up to them at
the same level as anybody.
Yeah, yeah, I just want to mention one more thing,
just before y ou go on because this is very interesting
and I don’t mean to interrupt.
I just want to also allow kids to to see
a couple things.
The first is you mention a couple things like the
boundary walls and I just want to explain to kids
in North America what boundary walls mean in many parts
of the world you do have boundary walls and that’s
literally a wall like a concrete wall that goes around
the property of the school.
And it is about 10 feet high minimum,
maybe 12 now. And it also depending on the countries,
it will even have wire on the top for security
Now in Canada we don’t have that,
we just have it all open which were very fortunate.
But those kids they have to understand the importance of
this for security reasons.
The other thing I think you mentioned was that transparency
and again that.
In of itself is so important throughout the world,
because transparency means that everyone knows what’s the truth and
so then can you can come when you know the
truth you trust more,
and when you trust more and more people want to
be come part of it right?
So the fact that you thought of that,
I think, is really something important and that you addressed
it head on.
You also set accountability, so the transparency people were held
And the kids, you know when you’re held accountable for
cheating or or something,
something else, you know that’s important that you are and
you understand what it means.
You understand how to hold other people accountable too,
which is a big part of what?
Imran has been talking about,
so I and underlying all of that I would say
what you have just demonstrated is a huge compassion and
that’s what I don’t know whether I’m I’m correct.
But is that what you feel has driven you to
be able to do all these things?
Like what is it that is your driver?
Because this is a huge project.
And to take this on many people would say is
too big.
I don’t want to do this,
So what is it that has made you allowed you
to do something so incredible,
so big and not give up the thing which forced
me to take such a big challenge was the desire
to work.
The passion that you want to bring in a change
in your town,
in your province, in your country,
to run a successful program which can become a role.
Model it for the world so that they can follow
Any model which shows results can be then replicated can
be duplicated.
You know by agencies by regulators I’ll come to that
point later,
so the passion was their desire to work.
Was there the desire came only BIH cause I saw
those poor families.
what was the poverty level of those families?
You know you would see a young boy wearing dirty
clothes standing outside the school and has a desire to
get into that school,
but he cannot. It doesn’t have that money an whereas
the the talent is so much in those outside schoolchildren,
they’re brilliant students. But then they do not have the
enabling environment because they never been to the school.
They’ve been to the school for two years and then
they were dropped out so you could see that desire
on the faces of those children and they would feel
helpless. Their families wanted to have a stable in a
very decent sort of,
you know livelihood, which they were not getting that because
they were going to rent poorer an they were helpless.
They had no access to schools.
There were no schools in those villages,
by the way. And they had to travel about 5
to 6 miles to go to the nearest on the
So this was a big thing that struck me.
This was the thing that I saw hands down experience
and this is a thing which motivated me to work
for these kind of children to work for your country.
Because when you committed when you take the oath in
a parliament and when you take the oath as a
minister then you need to confirm that by your actions
your program. By the mind by the intention that you
so everything was there, sorry.
Go ahead. Keep going with that a little bit because
I I’m just wondering you’ve got this huge compassion for
This empathy. This ability to understand what are they feeling.
That’s the beginning of compassion.
Then you acted on it,
so that can you. Is there anyway you could go
back into your childhood to describe like what?
What is your family like?
Growing up and so the kids can understand this is
who you were.
You were this kid when growing up,
and if you could just describe that your family,
your environment, what was it that?
How did you live OK?
I did my law degree OK back in 1989 an
to be in a parliament.
You have to be. You have to be 25 years
of age only then you qualify to be elected member
either in the provincial assembly or in the national parliament
or in the Senate, which is the highest you know
the house in the parliamentary system.
So I had just become a wage which was 25
I was one of the youngest parliamentarians who got elected
in 1990.
When I did my law degree an so I I
was elected as a member of the provincial assembly back
in 1990 and I was just 25 years of
age. I was doing my Masters my LM in George
Washington University.
I got admission in Criminology.
Now I’m doing LLM in Criminology and when I was
pulled back you know I was pulled back to my
roots to my country and my family.
Uh, wanted me to be in this parliament.
Because of the family tradition that we have.
My father was a member parliament.
My mother was a she would run elections by paternal
grand father.
My maternal great everybody was into public service so public
service was the tradition of our family.
It is still a tradition of our family.
Every child has to do public service.
Either you do by your.
Uh, you create your own organization as an NGO,
start working for the social sector or you get elected.
Get into the parliament, get a portfolio and start working.
So my brother Haroon, was the mayor of Gujarat and
my uncles who are elected.
So it’s been over 100 years that we are into
this public service 100.
Uh, in 1920 my grand father was elected as a
commissioner as a municipal commissioner.
So 2020 means full 100 years,
so everybody has to do the public service.
But this was one thing which I got from my
It’s in my blood to do public service.
Now you choose which sector that you want to work
in social sector.
You work for the human rights.
You work for the work in the area of child
You do the women empowerment.
You work for the human rights.
You work for the environment,
you work for the art and culture.
So all things I’ve been doing as my passion so
it runs in our family.
It runs in our blood to bring in the change
to bring in a change in our in our common
man’s lives.
You know you you raise their standards of living of
a common of a poor person by empowering them through
education by giving them.
Your basics by giving them their basic rights right to
right to their, uh, you know all the other legal
basic rights that they have,
so it is very interesting.
It’s very challenging. Also, I hope I make a point
Yeah, so, uh hundred years of family in politics.
When did Pakistan get its independence?
40 Seven 1947. Just before that yes yeah 1947.
And prior where they where?
Where did they sit? Because for a lot of people
here in North America,
this is very interesting history.It’s something that has not been touched on,
and I know that when I started traveling and learning
I’ve just grown a huge thirst of understanding how everything
Yes, in Asia, the biggest after China,
the biggest country, was United India before 1947 when India
and Pakistan were together.
It was one of the most biggest countries in the
Asian sector,
so in 1947 when Pakistan was created so.
It was a first we were living in India and
then Pakistan was created in 1947.
So my elders my grand father was a Freedom Fighter
and he was in that Pakistani calling the Pakistan movement.
You know with the founder of Pakistan was Mr Gina
who created Pakistan.
So he was a close associate of Mr Jinnah and
he did that freedom,
you know movement. He was a part and parcel of
that freedom movement,
but before 1947 my grand father was elected municipal commissioner.
You know he was doing the as a mayor of
the city.
This is when the British British had taken over India.
It was a colony of Britain in British.
The rule in India, 400 years.
It was a British Empire.
You know it was a colony of Britain.
The entire India. So this is when we got liberated.
From uh, the britishers and Pakistan was created in 1947
so so during the British rule my family was still
doing politics and social public service and he got my
grand father got elected in 1920.
So so from 1920 which is a very recent history.
So you we have traveled far off to 2021 hundred
years has been completed and I’ve been elected.
I had done 8 full fledged general elections.
I returned in the assembly for five times as a
member of provincial assembly.
I was elected people vote for you and you get
elected and then you start attending the assemblies as a
member of the assembly.
So public service was in our family.
It runs in our blood and I chose this sector
of Education and I thought that the biggest empowerment.
How to empower a poor person is through education by
educating him by giving him the education and then you
give them the skills education.
Then you give them the professional degrees.
They become educated, they become graduates and then they start.
You know working start earning money or doing their own
So education was a path that I chose for this
country for Pakistan and I thought This is one of
the most important areas that I have to work for.
So my program, uh, came up,
was then evaluated by the World Bank World Bank.
chose 14 programs throughout the world.
You know, World Bank keeps helping countries and they do
a joint programs.
They work in the agriculture sector.
They work in the health sector.
They also work in the education sector.
So the World Bank chose 14 programs as one of
the role models in the world.
So my program got elected in those 14 programs as
a showcase program and it became a role model and
they showcase my program.
It was called the PESRP Pakistan education sector reform program.
So all of the nations like the African nations like
Sudan like Nigeria,
African states, all those countries have the similar problems like
Pakistan has.
They have a very low enrollment.
They have a high dropout.
They have children which are outside the out of school
Girls do not participate. We.
Those countries had similar problems like Pakistan had so they
chose this program which was made by me.
And didn’t replicated this program in Sudan,
and they also did this program in a couple of
African States an they took this role model and they
put it in those countries and then that program started
giving them results becausr my program was a successful program
and so they had rated it very well,
you know. And so then they started funding this program.
Now my program. Is still running.
They then funded this program for another 10 years.
You know they gave me money on this program,
so we were we are doing fine.
The literacy rate of Punjab from 42%
it became to came to 62%
in five years of My 10 years.
You know we had a quantum jump of 42%.
We jumped up to 62%
literacy rate in Punjab
So it was a very big increase in the literacy
So that was the biggest.
Uh, you know, uh, one of my achievements that I
And then I increase the enrollment the dropout got decreased.
There was a huge retention of students in the schools
and girls started participating in schools.
We were doing our infrastructure.
We had built the boundary walls.
Now no child sits on the floor.
Now every child, girl and boy sits in the chair
and has a decent desk.
Right in front of him and how you know they’ve
got the basics down.
Mama Kim, Uh, you know,
maybe I forget that right now.
The other challenge that I faced was the IT labs.
We had no computers. We had no idea education in
back in 2002.
Can you imagine just recently we had no IT labs
we we weren’t doing any it education so we started
this computer programs in our schools.
We started giving them computer education.
It subjects use it. Labs were established.
And we started, uh, IT as a subject as a
compulsory subject.
You know in our syllabus.
So there was a time when we started the revolution
also took place.
Now everybody is now computer literate in Punjab in Pakistan.
They’re familiar with the computers.
Now we give them a computer education.
We gave the mighty education and we have the IT
Now in our schools. Now in in the public schools
whereas there was nothing before 2002.
So that was another achievement that I did not,
you know. Yeah, that that’s that’s pretty crazy.
The fact that you’ve had.
I also want to highlight one other sector which was
education for,
uh, uh, the less, uh,
for the, for the deaf and dumb.
You know we call the special education the special needs
There was a full fledged sector that we had in
Punjab also that was my responsibility to it was the
most ignored sector in the Education Department.
Nobody would ever cater for those blind.
For those deaf and dumb children.
it was a curse to have such kind of a
People would feel shy about their children.
You know they would hide them in their houses.
They won’t bring them, uh,
you know, forward to their guests.
When somebody was listening to the schools.
So I made free education for every special child.
We did separate special schools for those special children.
We gave them hearing aids.
We gave them wheelchairs. We had those Braille system for
them and we had a free pick and drop of
those students through the buses.
There was a free in entire province.
You know it was a big thing.
It has never been highlighted by me,
but I thought I must share it with you now.
You know we could use about 3 hours here unfortunately.
Time. God, I feel so passionate about it and then
I yes that passion is is so strong and uh,
and I think it it,
you know the passion goes beyond who you are is
the passion for others and and the belief that you
can make a difference.
This show is about releasing the genius and I can
see that you’re genius has been released and because of
that you releasing the genius and others and I just
wanted to say to all the kids out there and
anybody who is listening.
That the belief that Iran has had in others that
others can do a lot has shown through hugely because
he didn’t mean what I’m hearing from you and Ron
is. You didn’t even question whether yo u could do this
or not.
You just did it and you felt this was what
was important,
so you were going to move the Earth.
You’re going to move the world to make sure it
happened and you arent going to listen to no
It can’t happen. And uhm,
and I think that in and of itself is watch
we all can aspire to,
and I want to thank you so much for this,
because it really I, I’m hoping that it will also
allow other kids who are listening to it other parents.
More about not just waiting to be told what to
It is about taking initiative.
It is about what you believe in and way beyond
yourself that there is.
This is so important to do it for others to
Imran you are an incredible role model.
I like I said I would love to listen to
you for another 3 hours.
Unfortunately we’ve run out of time and maybe we get
so sorry but it’s a long story.
We need to do a Part 2.
We also need to talk about the higher education.
Also the University sector. Then we can talk later.
And I would also love just to hear what you
were like as a kid.
If you’re like, this is a battle.
What were you like as a kid?
Ask your brother. revamping of the curricula and starting new
So much to talk about.
Well, what you doing here?
And we will be having you back.
OK, now this great start.
Part one of many. OK,
so much. It’s been great.
Well, thank you very much for giving me this chance
to address to students who must be listening to this
program and.
Well, I’m uh, it’s always very uh,
uh, exciting to take challenges and when you see those
results coming in that’s the biggest you know thing that
you know inspires you that keeps you going you know
in this process of my hard work I lost my
health I could not attend my own children my own
family be cause I was getting time to to my
to the children of my nation or my country that
a lot of energy lot of Health which was required.
I was running from pillar to post I was I
was visiting all these schools going inspecting all these far
flung places,
talking to the children, talking to the to the parents,
talking to the teachers teachers was was another challenge.
I want to have the best of best teachers and
teachers had their huge problems.
We wanted to equate ourselves with the with the developed
countries of the world.
In our curricula our degrees to be recognized for the
so I wanted to bring my degrees close to their
degrees where my programs,
my degrees were acceptable in Canada or in America also.
So we did a lot of work.
I mean, I can tell you so much.
Some stories, you know. So we are going to other
times to talk to you and that would be great.
Thank you very much. OK,
take care. Bye bye thank you.
Thank you bye-bye. Wow, it’s all I’ve got to say
Back OK, I feel like we barely even scratched the
surface there.
Yeah, I, I agree he had so much to say
um and we have so much we can learn from
I I also would would ask that all of you
who are listening to this if you have other questions
you like us to ask him then please put that
out to us because we’d love to have those questions
and give it to him.
We will be having some more times with him.
Nathan what did you think?
But what was I want to learn?
How he is changing higher education right now?
Because I know that he’s he’s sort of that voice
towards the government and he is very interesting position.
Yeah, let’s let’s get one for another call.
Let’s get it scheduled. And thanks everyone for listening.
Thank thank you everybody. Have a great day.

How one of the worlds biggest education reforms was launched in Pakistan
Spirit of Math Podcasts
How one of the worlds biggest education reforms was launched in Pakistan

~End of Transcript.

Spirit of Math Podcasts
Episode #1