The Citizens Foundation
TCF is one of the largest privately owned networks of low cost formal schools in the world: 1,441 school units spread over 58 districts of the country, educating 204,000 students with over 17,400 employees including an all-female faculty of 12,000 teachers and principals.
TCF was founded in 1996 with the vision to create agents of positive change by providing low-cost formal education to the underserved, without any discrimination, with a special focus on girls’ education. Today, TCF has a large network of low-cost-private schools that are located in the most marginalized, low income and often conflict prone neighborhoods of the country. The organization has developed an innovative self-learnt model of providing high quality formal education to the marginalized youth, with a particular focus on girls’ education. Utilizing the school buildings as community centers, TCF provides community services in adult literacy, clean drinking water and vocational training initiatives.
Given TCF’s high standards for both administrative performance, as well as its educational achievements, its model is being researched by local non-profits and international development agencies which are working with the government for public sector education reform.
- In order to provide easy access, TCF schools are embedded in the heart of the communities they serve.
- TCF employs an all-female faculty of 12,000 teachers and principals to encourage families to send daughters to school. As a result, the average girls’ enrollment ratio in TCF schools is almost 50% compared to the 15-20% average in these communities
TCF is designed to set up schools in under-served communities. Before any school is constructed, a site survey is conducted to assess the socioeconomic status of the community and to verify if existing schools have adequate capacity and are affordable for the children of the community. TCF heavily subsidizes the cost of education through need-based scholarships, with some parents paying as little as 10 cents and getting free books and uniforms as well.
TCF Management Model
TCF schools are part of a comprehensive support system consisting of the Head Office, Regional Offices headed by Regional Managers, Area Managers and Education Managers for each sub-region, and finally Principals at the school level. The Head Office and Regional Offices provide clear guidelines for operating schools, teacher recruitment, teacher training, and monitoring and support. The Regional Office maintains a close link with the school through frequent monitoring visits. Principals provide support through continuous classroom observation and feedback.
TCF’s strong management control systems help avoid some of the administrative problems common in the public sector (such as absenteeism and corruption) as well as ensuring quality of educational outcomes in our schools. The quality of outcomes is closely monitored by TCF’s Education Department and the Quality Assurance Unit. TCF follows the provincial curriculum, augmented with its own textbooks and learning materials, and ensures quality of teaching through over 100 hours of training.
The TCF Alumni Program
Established for the purpose of liaising with TCF Alumni, the Alumni Department serves as a source of information, guidance and counseling for the nearly 19,100 students who have completed their matriculation from TCF. Along with disseminating information related to intermediate and tertiary education, the department is involved in arranging financial support, career counseling, job placements and maintaining an extensive scholarship database.
The TCF volunteer program is comprehensive and well managed centrally by a dedicated Volunteers & Alumni department. The department is responsible for extending TCF’s reach beyond its primary schooling program, helping TCF graduates transition to higher education programs at other institutions or vocational training centers, to ensure that students meet their full potential without any barriers to entry due to lack of economic means or an impoverished upbringing.
All programs are comprehensively designed with detailed guidelines, SOPs, built in monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, and daily briefing and debriefing for the duration of the program. There have been over 6,500 volunteer Rahbar mentors, over 3,900 summer camp volunteers and over 2,100 career counselors since the inception of the program.
TCF provides information, guidance and counseling, operating three major volunteer driven programs involving a two-week summer camp for primary students, a two month life skills mentoring program for grade 8 students (a critical juncture when considering future education specialization) and a day long career counseling session for grade 10 students about complete their final year of primary schooling.
Details of other partnerships can be found here.