Welcome to Civitas
Dear prospective parents,
The quest to find the right school for your child, particularly in Karachi, can be a daunting task. The good news is that there are lots of options. But along with that come countless opinions and recommendations from friends and family, both well-informed and ill-informed. Sifting through the information, separating fact from rumour, and marketing hype from substance is the real challenge.
My intent with this welcome note is to shed some light on the educational philosophy of Civitas. "Think long term". "Look at the big picture". All of us have received this advice, but seldom do we follow it. When it comes to our kids, the answer is no different. We are too afraid to challenge prevailing norms despite research and data that points contrary to the prevailing approach. The challenges and opportunities faced by our children are in stark contrast to the world we, as parents, grew up in. Yet the method of education and the skills developed in our kids have remained largely the same.
Eastern culture in particular leans on the adage "experience is the best teacher". We expect our children to learn from OUR experiences. Fair enough. But why not try to have our children also experience things for themselves at an earlier age, rather than only learning about life from books and experiences of the grownups in their lives?
Civitas is an immersion programme built around the practical experiences of applying theoretical knowledge. Students are required to design, build, get their hands dirty, manage, lead, follow, analyse situations from different perspectives, make decisions and, of course, make mistakes. The controlled environment of a school gives them the safety net, the training wheels, should they stumble.
As you explore our website, you will get additional insight from the perspective of other members of the Civitas community. But all websites of any organisation present an idealised image. How close that is to reality will take painstaking research. It is important that you gather information from different sources and varying perspectives. Scour social media. A campus tour where you can see and feel the programme can be extremely helpful in evaluating the extent to which this approach is actually implemented. Feedback from parents whose kids study at the particular school is another valuable data point. Talking to the students of that school is perhaps the best source of unfiltered feedback.
Just as your research will help you identify the perfect school for your child, our research, experiences, and beliefs have helped us craft Civitas’ educational philosophy. We have been careful to study, but not blindly copy, education models from other countries. The Civitas experience is contextualised to Pakistan. The curriculum is relevant to life in Karachi and meant to be applicable as and when we introduce concepts inside and outside the classrooms. But most importantly, Civitas is an outcome of our belief in a simple humanistic need; to be surrounded by a community where one feels welcome and valued — where people matter.
Growing up, and perhaps even now, I feel schools make students and parents choose between critical deliverables — schools either overwhelmingly emphasise grades at the expense of life skills and emotional well-being, OR, academic achievement becomes a casualty of the former. There’s no doubt academic achievement is important; however, that's not why schools exist. Grades are important as evidence of successful implementation of the educational philosophy, not the raison d’etre. We also have to recognise that many critical deliverables cannot be readily quantified in tests and exams. It is not straightforward to assess a grade for student well-being, mindfulness, leadership and teamwork, comfort in our own skin and confidence, or feeling connected and appreciated.
This delicate balance between seemingly incongruent objectives is where Civitas strives to be. We celebrate individuality but recognise that we are part of larger communities (our schools, our cities and countries). We value traditions but keep looking to innovate and challenge organisational inertia. A Civitas kid will be happy and well-adjusted, discovering their passion and building on their natural strengths.
The Civitas Way works very well for many parents and students. It may not be the right program for everyone though. This is not intended as judgment for, or against, a particular applicant and family. Rather, it is intended to underscore the importance of finding a programme that is aligned with your preferences and priorities. You should be discriminating in your search. I would encourage all prospective parents to research Civitas thoroughly. Ask all the difficult questions that truly impact your decision and ultimately choose a school community based on fit and its likelihood of helping your child become the person you want them to be rather than a brand to associate with – be it Civitas or any other school.
Through the admission process, I look forward to meeting your family and introducing the Civitas family to you.
Dean - Civitas