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Policy initiatives/reforms

Aziz, M., Bloom, D.E., Humair, S., Jimenez, E., Rosenberg, L., &Sathar, Z.(2014). Education System Reform in Pakistan: Why, When, and How? IZA Policy Paper, 76.

The authors give a general overview of the changes that have occurred in the educational system in Pakistan and the problems that have ensued as a result. They emphasize on the window of opportunity that currently exists to reform the education sector due to the rising expectations of the Pakistani public, the evolving state of Pakistani politics and the rise of media’s role in highlighting crucial issues. Despite the disruptive changes that have blurred the burden of responsibility of education reforms between federal and provincial governments, the authors recommend how to design reforms at the system level, how to initiate them, and how to sustain them to overcome the inevitable obstacles that will arise. Their emphasis lies on how reform must tackle all sectors of the education system – primary/secondary, higher education and vocational education, as Pakistan does not have the luxury to delay reform in one sector until the other sectors improve. They also suggest that reform in every sector must be systemic i.e. with well-defined goals, focus on a minimal set of areas such as governance, financing, human resources, and curriculum and address them all together, rather than piecemeal. Finally they emphasize on implementation which can be successful if all stakeholders i.e. government, private sector and civil society work together.

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Andrabi, T., Das, J., &Khwaja, A. I. (2010). Education policy in Pakistan: A framework for reform. International Growth Centre.

This policy brief draws on the Learning and Educational Achievements in Punjab Schools (LEAPS) report and provides an analysis of the education sector in Pakistan, its major challenges and policy options for moving forward. The major issues it highlights on the supply side are that public school teachers need to be incentivised to improve student learning, and that while competition improves households’ effective choices, teacher supply is a crucial determinant of the level of competition. Furthermore, local decision making requires access to local resources and local accountability mechanisms. The demand side factors outlined show that households face a resource constraint that reduces their ability to choose the best school available for all their children and that the credibility of information on school quality available to households is low and hampers effective decision making. The authors also recommend three policy actions to empower parents to move their children to better schools. This includes investment in girl’s secondary schools to ensure future supply of teachers. They also recommend a voucher system that works in tandem with school report cards, which would allow tying school and teacher incentives with parental demand. Finally they suggest a school support system that can advise schools on management, syllabi and training etc.

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Punjab School Education Sector Plan 2013-2017.(2013). School Education Department, Government of Punjab.

The Punjab School Education Sector Plan (PSESP), is an instrument intended to translate the education policy objectives of the Government of Punjab into an operational framework. It is a strategic plan that identifies thematic areas where intervention is required in order to achieve policy goals. It formulates these areas into major policy programmes and it designates operational structures and institutions that will be responsible for carrying out the diverse functions assigned to them. In particular, the PSESP carries out a situational analysis to assess gaps within the education system, and also indicate strengths of the current system. Factors that support a conducive and favourable environment for pro-active reform, includes foremost, political will and ownership. According to PSESP, the current provincial political leadership has remained focused on introducing policies not just to increase access and enrolment, but it has been shifting its policy focus towards ‘quality and standards’ in various inputs, processes and outputs across the sector. Thus, the education indicators of Punjab are significantly better in comparison to other provinces. However, further improvements are required due to the variations in output within the province. Hence, the PSESP forms strategies along the lines of quality, access and governance. It also presents an implementation process including a Performance Assessment Framework.

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