Washington, D.C. – The American Institutes for Research (AIR) has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement their Revitalizing, Innovating, Strengthening Education (RISE) program aimed at improving education in earthquake affected areas of Pakistan.
Under the four-year, $13 million grant, the RISE program will: Work with teachers, parents and communities to improve the quality of classroom instruction; train primary, middle and high school teachers; enhance the learning experience for students; and build community participation in education.
AIR will partner with local Pakistani organizations, as well as international partners, to improve educational opportunities in the earthquake devastated districts of Bagh and Mansehra. On October 8, 2005, a massive earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale occurred, killing tens of thousands of people and leaving millions homeless.
“Our goal is to help heal the physical and psychological devastation of schools, children and communities at-large because of October’s earthquake by ensuring that a quality education is available for all children and that schools become a safe and healing environment,” said Janet Robb, an AIR vice president and head of its International Development Program.
AIR’s RISE team is a world-class group of international and Pakistan-based organizations that have decades of experience working to improve educational quality, as well as substantial experience working collaboratively to improve student learning in Pakistan. RISE has been designed with a keen awareness of the educational challenges in the devastated areas, from the loss of families, teachers and homes, to competing recovery priorities as communities struggle to rebuild shattered lives, buildings and institutions.
Tanveer Latif, AIR’s project manager for teacher training in Bagh, saw her family dislocated and devastated by the 2005 earthquake. “The new realities are so ugly and so painful. We have to come out of the disaster,” she says, reflecting the spirit of the people and of the RISE program. “We need a special type of teacher training now. The psychology of the people has changed. There is no time for luxuries. All the schools need a new healing. We must do. We must share.”
The RISE team is well-positioned to facilitate new approaches to education that the energy and resources accompanying the rebuilding effort make possible, from the implementation of a Healing Schools activity that will focus on the comprehensive educational and development needs of children in post-disaster situations, to a Subh-e-Nau (New Beginnings) initiative to support activity-based learning projects at the school level, to professional development activities for district education officers that draw on their recent experience as post-disaster community leaders.
Established in 1946, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., the American Institutes for Research (AIR) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research on important social issues and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity.