For this research and analytical paper, we have chosen to work as the members of a small NGO and conduct a research as an executive director of a small non-governmental organization that would utilize its funding of one million dollar donation by establishing its branch in Pakistan, a third world country in order to improve and strengthen the country's educational arena. In this phase, we first had to decide a third world country that actually deserved a good financial aid in the form of a million dollar donation to improve its educational facilities. I came up with Pakistan, because this is one country that unfortunately has one of the most appalling literacy rates and percentages. So, in order to solve the problem at hand that is to answer the question as to where invest the donation, I chose Pakistan. Since, we have twenty years of experience as a successful non-governmental organization helping the world to become literate at a rapid pace, I looked into those third world countries where educational sector seems to be struggling really hard and not improving despite the availability of resources and the interest of the masses. However, sitting in United States and managing a whole network of branches of my organization, it was a real challenge to formulate possible, effective and germane sources from where research can be conducted to finally draft a strategic plan for this upcoming project.
A personally believe that chalking out ways to conduct a sound and thorough research is the paramount step even before conducting and employing research methodologies come into play. This is why, I have put onto paper all the possible ways of conducting research for the task at hand. Most important is the literature review, based on which, we shall be able to gauge the possible prospects and will be able to determine the success of our project in Pakistan. Therefore, for literature review, literary journals, geography journals, socio-political journals, cultural studies journal including e-journals remain a very good source to extract relevant research data in order to base our further planning steps to open a branch in Pakistan. Moreover, other relevant articles available online and in various other libraries apart from virtual reservoirs of valuable information are a good source of conducting research and therefore have been utilized as possible research sources. For field research, I assigned a few staff members, who tracked down Pakistanis living here in the United States and requested them to fill up some questionnaires wherein they were asked questions related to the language of Pakistan, culture of Pakistan, social norms of Pakistan, rules and regulations in Pakistan and the attitude of Pakistan as a nation towards education. In addition to the above, members of my team assigned on this project thoroughly made use of the Internet, the best available research source. In addition to the above, I have incorporated a great deal of information in this report coming from my personally experience in Pakistan when I visited it last year as a tourist. In addition to the above, I have managed to extract some valuable information from first-hand experience of those Pakistanis whom I happen to know through virtual contact over chat sessions and who live in my vicinity. Moreover, government reports as published and distributed by the World Bank and the Government of Pakistan have also been taken into account for authentic references and better inferences. In addition to the above, we will further make use of research techniques including SWOT analysis which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Strategic Planning & Research Findings
Since it is common knowledge that planning is looking at the future and deciding what to do, based on the data, we have also decided to work on this upcoming challenge based on our strategic plan. This is because strategic planning is "a disciplined effort to produce decisions and actions that guide and shape what the organization is, what it does, and why it does it" (Bryson, 1995) thereby justifying actions and interests as well as providing an outline to face various challenges in the form of different projects.
Hence after passing the initial phase of listing down issue at hand and asking the question as to how to conduct research related to the third world country under discussion and our project, the next step is to make further highly significant decisions based on our research findings. Thus, penning down and reviewing the research findings, the possible prospects and expected problems related to operating as an NGO in Pakistan will be apparent. Thus in order to make sense of the prospects and to understand the possible problems thereby formulating solutions for the same, lets look into our research findings.
An Outlook of Prospects and Problem
Summary of the Research Findings:
While determining the possible prospects of a non-governmental organization to utilize its funds in Pakistan thereby helping this third world country to ameliorate its literacy rate, this is what we came to know through our extensive research:
The prospects for running a non-governmental organization are many. This is evident from the current status of education in Pakistan as explained and reviewed by some of the most credible international research agencies. As Oxfam International study reveals the appalling state of education in Pakistan in the following words, "while the proportion of children not attending school in South Asia to the global total will fall by half by the year 2005, Pakistan will account for an increasingly larger share of children that are not attending school. In fact, the study warns that by 2005 Pakistan will account for 40% of the region's children out of school, compared to 27% in 1995" (State of Education in Pakistan, CARE). Reasons for extremely slow rate of literacy in Pakistan is attributed to innumerable factors. Some include the government's inability to provide its people with adequate, high-quality education, the government's disinterest despite its awareness regarding the exigency for an educational reform in this third world country that cannot possibly manage to show any signs of progress until and unless education is made common to the people surviving in this part of the world. In addition to the above, as thorough studies in the related field show, "socio-economic constraints and the dearth of adequate resources and schooling facilities (many youngsters find themselves squeezed into crowded dilapidated classrooms, lacking even basic writing material, while the teachers drill lessons by rote)" (State of Education in Pakistan, CARE) are some of the other factors responsible for a disgustingly low literacy rate in Pakistan that makes it evident that the financial injection of one million dollar in the educational sector of Pakistan is highly needed and will be much welcomed. Moreover, our organization will make sure that our funds are utilized by the schools, colleges and universities in improving quality of education in this third world country rather than in increasing the quantity of educational institutes. This is because, "a recent survey in Pakistan revealed that only 34% of children who completed primary school could read with comprehension and over 80% were unable to write a simple letter" (State of Education in Pakistan, CARE). A look at the higher education in Pakistan is also quite depressing as well as pitiful. As another research article reads, thereby sketching a clear and a true picture of the educational sector in Pakistan, "Pakistani governments have never given high priority to the educational sector (education is not even compulsory), spending a smaller percentage of its national budget on education than any of its poor South Asian neighbors. This is further exacerbated by the ongoing decline of the economy. The result has been a grossly under funded public higher education system unable to pay decent salaries, maintain libraries, purchase minimal supplies, or even keep physical facilities from crumbling. Student and faculty morale is extremely low. Research is practically nonexistent. Class schedules are frequently not respected, and the academic year is regularly disrupted by myriad political and administrative conflicts. There is a near unanimity among Pakistanis that the nation's public higher education system is a disaster" (Coffman, 1997). However, the interest that the public takes in education is evident in two ways. Firstly, there has been a major contribution from the financial viewpoint and improvement in the educational sector with the aid of private organizations working day in and day out to spread enlightenment through education. Secondly, "the number of young people seeking higher education continues to grow sharply each year, as the return on university studies is still quite high. With the state incapable of keeping pace with this growth -- coupled with a national policy to stimulate the Pakistani private sector -- the government has tacitly allowed the private higher education system to expand with minimal oversight. Six new universities have recently been awarded charters by the Ministry of Education, with another six under review. Bright spots in this booming private sector are institutions such as the Agha Khan University and Hamdard…