Though a large number of children of school-going age are out-of-school in Pakistan but The Indus Hospital (TIH) is making sure that young patients receive quality education. Usually, When Pakistani children are diagnosed with cancer or other chronic ailments, their physicians ask them to stop attending school for the duration of their treatments. To overcome this issue, TIH has launched a hospital-based schooling program to ensure that these children are able to continue with their education during their treatment and hospitalization.
Indus Kay Sitaray is a hospital-based school which was initiated in June 2018. Its objective is to impart education to children undergoing treatment for childhood cancer and any other chronic disease with a prolonged treatment. The first batch of 18 students has completed elementary level education. A graduation ceremony was held at TIH on September 7, 2018 to commemorate their achievements, and acknowledge the efforts of volunteer teachers and supporters.
Education and schools are an integral part of every child’s life but children suffering with cancer and other chronic diseases have to forego not just their schooling, but also social gatherings and public outings. Evidence from existing hospital schooling programs suggests that transitioning back to school after a prolonged treatment can be both emotionally and academically tough.
Indus Kay Sitaray has been established in collaboration with Shahwilayat Public School (SWiPS), whereby SWiPS has shared their curricula, as per the Aga Khan University-Examination Board (AKU-EB), with TIH. Currently, the school has two teachers and a small classroom, but soon it will extend its services to offer education for all grade levels to hospitalized and under-treatment children. The school covers the curriculum in much lesser time than a normal school term.
The program was attended by students, their families, TIH faculty and Board members, and the Faculty and Board Members of Shahwilayat Public School. The event started with the graduating procession marching in, followed by the national anthem and recitation of the Holy Quran by the students, and speeches of Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, CEO, Indus Health Network (IHN) and Dr. Shamvil Ashraf, Executive Director, Medical Services, IHN. Speeches were followed by a performances. Students received their graduation certificates at the end of the program.