Schools in International Academic Partnership Unreachable After Earthquake in Pakistan; Phillips Academy to Aid Relief Effort

At 8:50 a.m. on Saturday, October 8, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan, Afghanistan, and parts of India. Though its epicenter was 60 miles northeast of Islamabad, tremors were felt as far away as New Delhi, and its ramifications were felt as close to home as the Andover campus. Phillips Academy is a member of the International Academic Partnership (IAP), a coalition of schools consisting of Andover, Schule Schloss Salem in Germany, Aga Khan University in Pakistan, and about 350 schools operated under the auspices of Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) in South and Central Asia, East Africa, and the Middle East. The IAP has around 120 schools in the Northern Areas and Chitral provinces in Pakistan attended by 25,000 students in grades pre-Kindergarten through 12. This region was hit hard by the recent earthquake, which killed tens of thousands if people and left millions homeless. Due to the remoteness of the region, information about the state of the IAP schools is not yet available. Most of the schools are a two days’ walk from the closest road, and most of Pakistan’s roads are now impassable because of rockslides. Andover’s Community Service Office and Indo-Pak Society are organizing a relief effort to help the affected schools. Co-Head of Indo-Pak Rajeev Saxena ’06 said, “So far, the most direct and effective part Indo-Pak can play [to help aid the victims of the earthquake] would be our supportive t-shirt design contest which will be open to all students; the earnings will go to an earthquake relief charity.” He continued, “After speaking with [Director of Community Service Chad] Green…, it appears that the best way to raise money for the relief effort will be to work in tandem with existing projects for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Currently the Community Service Office is also investigating other strategies to best assist relief. Most of the fundraising will occur during the day of awareness set for later this term for all three disasters.” The IAP schools in Pakistan are often the only educational options available in the area, especially for girls. Despite the availability of the Internet in the town of Gilgit, the urban center nearest to the Pakistani IAP schools, energy is only sporadically available to the IAP schools through generators. Created through a joint effort by Andover and AKES in 1993, the IAP is “an international collaboration that promotes excellence in education and holds the value of pluralism at its core.  The partnership seeks to advance the quality of education as an essential building block of civil societies that are peaceful and just,” according to its mission statement. Many Andover teachers have worked at schools in the IAP network. IAP Director and Instructor in History and Social Sciences Christopher Shaw said, “If you include all regions of the IAP network, about 30 percent of Andover teachers have worked and lived in the developing world with students and teachers at our peer schools.  In addition, many teachers from the network have come to Andover to teach and learn about the methods and completely homegrown curriculum that we use here.” He continued, “What we do at Andover is extremely unusual compared to secondary schools around the world.”