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The National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) Community Services Club (NCSC) Al-Qalam Program was launched in 2015 by two highly motivated members of the club. The National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) provided them with statistics on education in Pakistan in the 2015-2016 academic year, which revealed that about 44% of children between the ages of 5 and 16 are not enrolled in schools. Moreover, more than 60% of children in schools drop out before matriculation at a college or university . Most of these children are deprived of education because of their families’ financial strife. Given that NCSC members have had the privilege of studying at the best schools and universities, they wanted to help. Thus, Al-Qalam (Arabic: القلم, “The Pen”) was born. The program was launched on the basis of voluntary monthly donations of $1.35 (equivalent to 100 Pakistani rupees) from NUST student members.

Al-Qalam Project Poster

NCSC is situated at NUST in Islamabad, Pakistan. It is headed by a council of students, annually selected on the basis of past community service contributions. The student council makes an annual calendar of activities based on analysis of community needs carried out in collaboration with local partners and NGOs .

Al-Qalam Program is an ongoing project run by council members in coordination with class representatives nominated by elected class ambassadors from all departments of NUST . This system is the most simplified way to work from the bottom up and ensure a hassle-free process for collecting donations. University support is provided bythe Directorate of Student Affairs. A faculty advisor and two support administration officers coordinate budget and expenses, transportation, supplies, security, halls and classrooms, and any other administrative requirements of the program.

The main purpose of the NCSC Al-Qalam program is to empower communities by providing basic primary education to out-of-school children in accordance with local needs, contributing to the improvement of Pakistan’s educational infrastructure.