Pakistan ’s Premier School of Tomorrow Needs Help Today
By Barry D. Hoffman, SQA
Hon.Consul General of Pakistan in Boston
The Hub School (THS) that is currently under construction
A new, state-of-the-art preparatory school that will educate Pakistan's future leaders is under construction on the outskirts of Karachi . When fully operational, The Hub School (THS) will educate up to 800 boys and girls, at least 15% of whom will receive scholarships, thereby ensuring that THS educates the most promising students regardless of means.
As the first ever not-for-profit institution of its kind in Pakistan , THS will combine the highest aspirations of Pakistan 's founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah – whose reverence for education was well known – with the traditional values of Islam. Such is the noble vision of Ambassador Abdul K. Jaffer, Pakistan 's former High Commissioner to the UK , whose family foundation has donated the 240 acres of land that will become the school's campus. More information is at the THS website, www.hubschool.edu.pk.
Ambassador Jaffer's determined efforts have already made THS a partial reality. Philanthropic, corporate and individual donors have contributed $20 million, and construction is well underway. This impressive figure is a testament to Ambassador Jaffer's credibility and the well-recognized need for THS. As President Pervez Musharraf said at the ground-breaking on February 2, 2005, "[Ambassador Jaffer] is a very persuasive person, and he really infected me with the idea that The Hub School must be built, for the sake of the nation.” President Musharraf went on to say the lack of public sector funding means that the private sector must play a larger role in education in Pakistan . He noted that the Hub School will substantially increase the role of the private sector in supporting education, and added,“I am particularly glad that this school will be operated on a not-for-profit basis, focused on merit.” Additionally, President Musharraf expressed his hope that merit would be balanced with need, so that the Hub School will benefit as many poor students as possible.
There is virtually universal support for the notion that Pakistan needs a world class, not-for-profit institution for secondary education. From the top leadership in Islamabad, to the halls of the US Congress, Ambassador Jaffer has garnered widespread praise and encouragement for this project. Its sponsors promise that the Hub School will not only produce tomorrow’s leaders in government, industry and the sciences, but generate secondary benefits for the students’ home communities. Children from disadvantaged areas, such as Baluchistan , the tribal areas and the NWFP, will bring back to their provinces a formidable mix of skills, knowledge, and commitment to both national purpose and Islamic principles. In the words of Christopher Whipple, Chairman of The Friends of the Hub School, “One institution will not change a country overnight or even in the short term. However in time, the transformative power of a quality independent school cannot be over-stated.”
Asked why people should support an effort with such a long-term horizon, Mr. Whipple responds with a simple observation. “Imagine where we would be today if The Hub School had been founded 20 years ago and imagine where your contribution will help us be in 20 years. This is a long-term and lasting investment. ‘Extremism’ and many other problems stem, in some way, from a lack of quality education. THS is the antidote to ignorance and a key to Pakistan’s future peace and prosperity.”
Although THS has been blessed to have many generous supporters in Pakistan and the Gulf, much remains to be done. A final $10 million must be raised to complete construction and launch operations. For that reason, The Friends of the Hub School recently sent out its first US direct mail campaign, aimed at Pakistani-Americans who understand the importance of education and the exceptional need for an institution like THS in Pakistan. As Ambassador Jaffer said, " Ramadan is a time to contemplate both the blessings we have, and the blessings we have the power and obligation to bring to others. There is no greater gift than empowerment through knowledge, and THS is a unique opportunity for all Pakistanis to invest in the nation’s future."
Tax-deductible contributions may be made online at www.hubschool.edu.pk or by check sent to: c/o Robert Wardrop II, 300 Ottawa Avenue NW, Ste. 150 , Grand Rapids , MI 49503 .