Indus Hospital officials said when Pakistani children are diagnosed with cancer or other chronic illness their physicians ask them to stop attending school for the duration of their treatment. How upsetting is that for a little child? Something that one has no control over is sadly, controlling the rest of their lives.
However, we are full of joy while updating this news that the first batch of 18 students who are suffering from various types of cancers and other chronic ailments completed their elementary level education and were honored at a graduation ceremony held at The Indus Hospital, Karachi, on last Friday. If this doesn’t give you a ray of hope then we wonder what would.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Indus Hospital Dr Abdul Bari Khan said that though a large number of children of school-going age are out-of-school in Pakistan, The Indus Hospital is making sure that young patients receive quality education.
Indus Hospital does not plan to stop here; this was their first batch but definitely not the last. The hospital has initiated a hospital-based schooling program to ensure that these children are able to continue with their education during their treatment and hospitalization. How considerate is this movement? We’d call it movement because nobody has done this in Pakistan and we hope after seeing this initiative taken by Indus Hospital, others may just step up and join hands in this good cause.
Dr Khan said, “Indus Ke 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.” He further tells that Indus Ke 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 Indus Hospital.
Why exactly are the kids not allowed to attend school? Surely, resting is one of the causes but that can’t be the only reason. Eminent pediatric oncologist Dr Shamvil Ashraf said that education and schools are a vital part of every child’s life, but children suffering with cancer and other chronic diseases have to forgo 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, he added.
For now the school has two teachers and a small classroom but this is the initial stage and Indus Hospital plans on extending their services and accommodate more children for all grades. That’s a good aim in mind, don’t you think so? All this must be costing an arm and a foot to the patient’s family is what you must be thinking, right? You’re in for a surprise; the school covers the curriculum in much lesser time than a normal school term. Nothing is compromised on, the quality, the time, everything is planned accordingly.
Indus Ke Sitaray has given hope to the hopeless and no child shall remain uneducated because his health did not allow him too.