Pakistan university backs school plan

PLANS formulated in Sheffield to build a new school in one of the poorest rural areas near the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan have received backing from the vice-chancellor of a Pakistani university.

The Sheffield University project has received support from Prof Ihsan Ali, vice-chancellor of Mardan University, who has also offered the students land in the Mardan area to build a prototype of the school.

The Pakhtoon Schools Project is the brainchild of Ramon Mohamed, a 49-year old teacher from Broomhill, who came up with the idea after visiting Afghanistan in 2009.

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Mr Mohamed then approached Sheffield University's school of architecture to collaborate on the project.

A design and prototype for the school building have been developed by architecture students and Professor Ali has visited Sheffield to view them.

The Bureau of Design Research at Sheffield University is now set to send resources and props to children and teachers in Afghanistan, to help them develop a design brief for the project.

Mr Mohamed said: "It is fantastic seeing the work of the students. Their work is inspiring and innovative and hopefully we can build a school from it in the near future.

"The work that the students have put in to developing research and ideas for a school has been amazing.

"I am proud of what the students have developed and really pleased that my relationship with Sheffield University has flourished."

Prof Ali added: "To me, the setting up of the Pakhtoon Schools Project will help those individuals who are unable or unwilling to go to school due to economic or family restrictions.

"This project will lead us in a direction where we are able to train teachers and allow us to develop the existing schools in the region so that they are on a par with the developed countries of the world."