Striving for Quality
Starfish Asia is committed to excellence, starting with the basics, providing an education for the poor, but always striving to raise standards. Key components of our approach are:
Supporting Local Leaders
Local Pakistani’s with a passion (e.g. teachers, pastors or just concerned Christians) may open a simple Primary School to teach their community’s children to read and write. They may charge a fee (£1 or $1.30 ) a month, so as to pay a small salary – perhaps £30 to £50 ($40 to$65) a month – to a teacher.
We want to support such people with drive and compassion to fulfil their vision. Starfish Asia steps in (when we have the funds) to provide a small subsidy, starting from £250 / $325 a month, to help provide:
- Rent for a simple 5-room house to serve as a school
- Basic salary for four teachers
Some schools lack blackboards and furniture. Many have only intermittent electricity and only basic sanitation. Starfish aims to improve resources, including books and equipment, and to ensure staff earn a living wage.
These are the essential requirements of a well-equipped school High School for 300 children:
- A 10-room building (rented): Monthly about £150 / $200
- Adequate salaries for 12 staff members: Monthly £650 / $850
- Furniture, desks and chairs for all: £1,200 / $1,500
- A science lab and library: £1,500 / $2,000
- Text books for all the children: Annually £1,200 / $1,500
Our aim in Starfish Asia is that all schools we support should be registered with the Provincial Board of Education. This requires qualified teachers, proper maintenance of records, sufficient classroom space, a library and science lab.
All schools supported by Starfish Asia follow the Pakistan Government curriculum and take Board of Education public exams. Schools are visited regularly by our own local staff and from the UK. Together they monitor progress by results and performance, and give helpful guidance for improvement.
Starfish Asia seeks to develop the skills and qualifications of Pakistan’s Christian teachers, especially those who are serving the poor.
Teacher salaries are scarily low in most of the schools when we start to support them, with salaries often of only £7.50 or $10 a month. The Government’s “official” minimum wage for teachers is £100 / $130 a month. We are committed to helping raise the salaries to what is possible, but still often well below the minimum, but to at least a level that is barely acceptable as a start. We also help hundred of teachers, through providing training and scholarships to improve qualifications.
All the schools we are supporting are either Primary or High Schools, taking students up to Class 10 and their matriculation exam. But that is just the beginning! Education becomes more expensive after Matric.
Starfish Asia offers scholarships – first of all to those who graduate from schools we are supporting, and then to other deserving students who need help. These may be for vocational courses at places such as the Vocational Training Centre in Karachi ( see below) or the Christian Technical Training Centre in Gujranwala, We have also supported some for MA and MPhil degrees. We will do what we can to equip a generation of qualified Christians to reach their potential.
Current scholarship funding needs are about £2,200 / $2,500 a month.