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Roots School System – inspiring educational innovation

Roots School System – inspiring educational innovation

Roots School System has gained wide renown as one of the leading school systems in Pakistan. With schools and colleges across 12 major cities in Pakistan, the Roots School System is the third largest education system in the private sector with over 15,000 students and employs over 1,800 staff and faculty members.

At the primary level, the Roots School System has developed its own curriculums called the Roots International Montessori Programme and the Roots International Primary Programme. “We have structured and authored the curriculum. In Pakistan there is no government body or authority that provides support to the private sector so we are an authority on curriculum development, enrichment, pedagogical development, teacher training, capacity building, school monitoring, school publications and printing,” explains visionary educational entrepreneur and Roots School System Director Chaudhry Faisal Mushtaq.
Roots Schools System’s extensive teacher training programme has trained hundreds of mid-career women, qualifying them in Montessori teaching methodologies.  “We have trained them in Montessori materials and methodologies which basically gives them entrepreneurship skills and empowerment through education and engagement through our training institutes,” explains Faisal Mushtaq.
Notably, the Roots School System has launched pioneering initiatives including the introduction of Chinese language classes into its school curriculum, an initiative which has won great acclaim including from the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan.  A member of the Pakistan China Institute think tank, Faisal realized that it was vital to overcome the language barrier to make Pakistan and China’s historic relationship truly meaningful, “When I went to China I realized that the friendship has not been enhanced because of language which is the definitive common denominator to scale social, cultural  and entrepreneurial values.” Inspired by intellectuals like Mushahid Hussain, Chairman of the Pakistan China Institute and Masood Khan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Faisal hired two Chinese language teachers to come to Pakistan and in a record time of 6 months authored the Chinese language curriculum in English for grades 1 to 5. He expanded the Chinese language faculty by employing more teachers from the National University of Modern languages (NUML) and the Confucius Institute.
“At present, 1,200 students are learning the Chinese language which is compulsory. I am doing this for the larger national interest because I believe that Pakistan needs to engage itself socially and at a people to people level with China,” asserts Faisal.
When asked on Pakistan Television whether he would share the Chinese language curriculum with other educational institutions, Faisal explained the larger national interest at the heart of this historic educational project, “Other schools are now also adopting our Chinese curriculum and I welcome this. This is precisely what I wanted to happen – for the benefit of Pakistan I would share it with both public and private schools.”
To further enhance Pak-China friendship, Faisal founded Club 21:21, a youth club to promote social and cultural integration between the two countries. The significance of the name is drawn from the fact that Pakistan and China’s population make up 21% of the world population and seeks to reinforce the alliance between the two countries in the 21st century. Club 21:21 has gained great momentum and has sponsored several youth conferences with an array of eminent speakers including Hameed Haroon, CEO and publisher of Dawn as well as  the Vice Chairperson of the Chinese Communist Party.
Placing great emphasis on additional languages for students, Roots schools also offer German language classes and works closely with the Goethe Institute. Notably, the Roots School System is the first school system in South Asia to co-brand an information communication technology curriculum with global IT leader Intel called the Intel-RSS joint curriculum. This curriculum has emerged as a benchmark in South Asia. “Intel Singapore, Intel US and Intel Pakistan have collectively approved this curriculum which is co-branded with Roots. Our case study has been shared with other South Asian countries,” says Faisal.
After developing an array of different curriculum, the Roots School System is an authority on curriculum development and school improvement which promotes academic excellence, self discovery, extra curricular activities and language diversity. The Roots School System also works closely with the British Council and United States Education Foundation.
The Roots School System was founded by Faisal’s mother when she identified a stark absence of quality education in the private sector, “My mother had four children and when we went to school she realized that we never had a good experience which is why she decided to set up her own Montessori imbued with the values of love, happiness, fun and joy. In doing so, she created a Montessori with a humble beginning of 50 students and now after nearly 23 years we have scaled her school into an institution,” says Faisal. The Roots School System has signed MoUs with leading global companies like  Coca Cola Pakistan and powerful business groups including The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE).
Faisal studied accounting and finance and worked at Price Water House Coopers and IBM where he qualified as a chartered management accountant. Faisal passionately believes that all children have a right to a quality education. In his ongoing mission to effect qualitative change in society, his philanthropic commitments have helped improve the lives of hundreds. In his personal capacity, Faisal has founded a non-profit organization, Change in Education which has taken charge of 12 government primary schools in the Rawalpindi district. “My vision is to take responsibility of 100 government primary schools through my own resources. This will include improving school facilities, teacher training, enhancing assessments and examinations, promoting gender equality and education on health and nutrition,” says Faisal.
Over the years, the Roots School System has transcended the traditional educational paradigm, “We have created an institution which goes beyond education and schooling. It sponsoring discovery, achievement and excellence to produce world class citizens. The fact that our students are going to Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton, Harvard and Yale is a testament to this.”

Roots School System won the most prestigious, progressive, best ranked and highly rated award, the ‘Brands of the Year 2010’ Award, in the category of ‘school system emerging’. In the view of the expert panel recommendations, qualitative & quantitative study reports show that Roots School System, Pakistan has successfully secured the highest rating in the category of School System (Emerging) as category A and has met all applicable requirements of the selection criteria laid down by the Brands Foundation for BRANDS OF THE YEAR AWARDS.

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