The exploratory phase for a LUMS School of Education was initiated in October 2015, with funding from the Babar Ali Foundation and the objective of enabling LUMS to intervene as a thought leader and change maker in a rapidly expanding educational milieu of Pakistan. The Planning Committee of the project included LUMS Pro-Chancellor Syed Babar Ali, LUMS Management Committee member Osman Khalid Waheed, and LUMS Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, with Dr. Tahir Andrabi, Professor of Economics at Pomona College, as Executive Director, and Dr. Mariam Chughtai, Doctorate in Education from Harvard University, as Associate Director of the LUMS School of Education Project. Dr. Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Professor of International Finance and Development at Harvard Kennedy School, and Dr. Faisal Bari, Associate Professor of Economics at LUMS, were key advisors to the team.
Over the course of the project planning phase, the team established local, regional and international linkages through events such as the inaugural Education Roundtable at LUMS, in March 2016, convening academics, practitioners, and policy experts with the aim of understanding disparate perspectives on education reform in Pakistan. Similarly, in May 2016, an Education Roundtable at Harvard University seeded partnerships for the project internationally with top universities and education faculty from Harvard, Stanford, MIT, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, and Northwestern, amongst others. Faculty from these universities will comprise the International Advisory Board for the newly established LUMS School of Education. The network of partners that the LUMS School of Education project has been developing is central not only to its policy and social impact but also contributes to establishing a strong national footprint and a globally connected position.