On October 8, 2005, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the northern areas of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) in Pakistan. At the time of the earthquake, school was in session and over 18,000 students and 850 teachers were killed. Approximately 7,700 schools were destroyed. Education departments lacked skills in key areas of education management; teachers lacked knowledge of interactive, activity-based learning and student-centered teaching methodologies; and while School Management Committees and Parent-Teacher Councils existed in many schools, they were often inactive or weak. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) made a commitment to the government of Pakistan to help “build back better” the education system and restore livelihoods in earthquake-affected areas.
The RISE Project (2006-2009) helped improve educational capacity and quality at all levels of the education system including hands-on training and support for 196 district education managers, training and support for over 10,316 teachers, and training and support for over 17,600 community members. Perhaps most importantly, RISE benefitted approximately 198,000 students in Mansehra, Bagh, Muzaffarabad, and Poonch districts over the life of the project. RISE assisted education officials, teachers, and communities to build back a better system in which:
RISE was developed based on global evidence that a comprehensive approach to education support can build the capacity of all education stakeholders, leading to sustainable improvements in educational quality and access. RISE’s system of support for education managers, teachers, and communities substantially improved the quality of both classroom instruction and student learning. RISE’s model of capacity building for educational management ensured district education systems were better managed and more efficient. The governments of Azad Jammu and Kashmir endorsed RISE’s key initiatives and helped to develop roadmaps for long-term sustainability. RISE’s achievements were a result of its close partnership with education officials, teachers, communities, and representatives of training institutions.