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.
Habib, M. (2013). Education in Pakistan’s Punjab: Outcomes and Interventions. Lahore Journal of Economics, 18.
The author provides an overview of the education policies and initiatives that have been introduced in Punjab and discusses whether they have been successful in curbing the problems that the education sector faces. According to the author, the challenge of education reforms is to efficiently implement an investment program to support a high-quality education system suited to local demand and employment opportunities. She provides a framework to assess the initiatives that have taken place. This includes demand and supply side constraints. On the demand side, poverty remains an overwhelming constraint to school attendance in Punjab. Schooling quality, school location, and teacher presence affect parents’ decision to send their children to school. Important supply issues include appropriate and high-quality curricula, the presence and effectiveness of teachers, and efficient school management. Using this framework to assess the major interventions carried out, the author emphasizes on how past initiatives in education were driven by expenditure on school infrastructure with limited evaluation of results. While recent reform programs have incorporated lessons from past failures such as the SAP, and are aiming to build better monitoring and governance structures that include student assessments, a better evaluation of past policies is needed as they are implemented.
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.
Andrabi, T., Das, J., Khwaja, A. I., Vishwanath, T., &Zajonc, T. (2007). Learning and Educational Achievements in Punjab Schools (LEAPS): Insights to inform the education policy debate. World Bank, Washington, DC.
Barber, M. (2013). The good news from Pakistan.
This report by Department for International Development’s (DfID) Special Representative on Education in Pakistan gives an overview on the Punjab School Reforms Roadmap that started in 2010. According to the report, the roadmap has been successful in terms of enrollment, attendance and improved facilities. Furthermore, across all the indicators there has been a narrowing of the gender gap, although there is more to do, especially in the south of Punjab. This data was collected by the Programme Monitoring and Implementation Unit (PMIU) and was mostly reinforced by ASER statistics. While, the report’s role was to gather data on key indicators so that the province could check that implementation was occurring, in practice the data collection process was uneven and often slow. Moreover, according to the author, there are two major hurdles to overcome before the Roadmap can be considered transformative. Firstly, need of convincing evidence of improvement in student outcomes and secondly, sustainability of the reforms, which may depend on political leaders. One way to achieve this is to strengthen district administration, which means overseeing by trained Executive District Officers, hired on merit and held accountable for progress. Another is to use teachers as recruiting sergeants.
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.
Asim, S. (2013). The Public School System in Sindh: Empirical Insights. Lahore Journal of Economics, 18.
This paper provides an overview of the Sindh education system using descriptive statistics obtained from the latest administrative annual school census in Sindh (2011/12). It gives an insight on the challenges in the Sindh’s education landscape that can provide obstacles to the implementation of Sindh Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill. The paper reveals that Sindh has one of the densest schooling systems in the world. However, there is a need to differentiate between resource-constrained schools in the province (“needy”) and schools that feed the political elite (“feedy”). Teacher management policies in the province must be sensitive to the distinction between “feedy” and “needy” schools in order to steer the education system back on track and away from the distortions created by deep-seated vested interests. Therefore, the paper recommends that any form of additional school inputs should not be channeled to these schools, or it risks feeding the world of politics, interests, and power. Consolidating the schooling system by absorbing these “feedy” schools into functional schools could potentially lead to significant efficiency gains in the education sector. Moreover, regional disparities in educational attainment are on the rise in Sindh, and targeted policies must be adopted to deal with districts that are lagging behind in basic education outcomes.
National Education Policy. (2009). Ministry of Education.Government of Pakistan.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2009 comes in a series of education policies dating back to the very inception of the country in 1947. It acknowledges that a new policy document on its own will not rectify the dire education situation. However, the document does recognise two deficits of previous documents, which if redressed, can alter results for the present one: governance reform and an implementation roadmap. On governance, the policy discusses the issue of inter-tier responsibilities wherein the respective roles and functions of the federal-provincial-district governments continue to be unclear. The other issue identified for governance reforms is the fragmentation of ministries, institutions etc. for management of various sub-sectors of education as well as, at times, within each sub- sector. On implementation, the Policy document includes the description of the implementation framework, which recognizes the centrality of the federating units in implementation of education. The role of the Federal Ministry of Education is seen as that of a coordinator and facilitator so as to ensure sectoral and geographic uniformity in achievement of educational goals nationally. However, it is interesting to note that while some actions have already been initiated in reforms during the process, many remain unimplemented to date; a problem emphasized by the Policy.