Barrera-Osorio, F., &Raju, D. (2011). Evaluating public per-student subsidies to low-cost private schools: regression-discontinuity evidence from Pakistan. Policy Research Working Paper. World Bank
This impact evaluation study is part of the World Bank’s Policy Research Working Paper series. It estimates the causal effects of a recently instituted public subsidy program to low-cost private schools in the province of Punjab, Pakistan on school enrollment and inputs. This would increase equitable access to schooling more efficiently than can be achieved through the province’s public school system. The paper uses regression-discontinuity (RD) designs to the treatment assignment mechanism in order to obtain reliable non-experimental estimates of program impacts. It investigates the causal effect of the program on the number of students in program schools and the causal effect of the program on inputs, namely the number of teachers, classrooms, blackboards, and toilets, and on student-teacher and student-classroom ratios in program schools. The findings on the impacts of the FAS program differ by phase. For phase-3, there is no evidence of program impacts at the cutoff on the outcomes of interest. In contrast, for phase-4, there is robust evidence of positive program impacts at the cutoff on the number of students, teachers, classrooms, and blackboards. However, these impact estimates must be considered carefully since there is an issue of spillover effect on non-program schools and an anticipated change in behavior of future treatment schools.
Partnerships for Equity in Education in South Asia: Prospects and Challenges. (2011). UNGEI and SAFED
This study, commissioned by the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), was undertaken to understand the current roles and possible benefits of the varying partnerships in education equity and to examine the possible role Public Private Partnerships and Corporate Social Responsibility can play in addressing gaps in gender and equity. The report provides case studies on Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Pakistan and for each examines the local contexts in terms of policies, laws, strategies and evidence on PPPs and CSR, juxtaposing it against the challenges of Education for All/MDGs. In case of Pakistan, the report emphasizes on the need for a gap analysis for each province so that and equity focused framework can be created with concrete financing options. PPPs cannot become a substitute for high quality government schools, as public sector schools are the only option for two out of three children. Thus, a toolkit for PPPs/CSR is needed to be prepared with regular updates. According to the report there is also need for transparency and coordination between the dual delivery modes of public financed education system, which are departments of education, and education foundations.
Barrera-Osorio, F. and Raju, D. (2010). Short-run Learning Dynamics under a Test-based Accountability System: Evidence from Pakistan. Policy Research Working Paper, 5465. World Bank.
This impact evaluation paper,uses five semiannual rounds of standardized test data to characterize and explain the evolution of student learning over a period which spans three academic years (2007/08-2009/10). The tests were conducted in low-cost private schools supported by public cash subsidies under an innovative test-based accountability program in the province of Punjab, called the Foundation Assisted Schools (FAS) program. The programme school receives a high-powered stick incentive in the form of a minimum student pass rate in the Quality Assurance Test (QAT), which is used to investigate if it induces learning gains in program schools. Conversely, bonuses for teachers serve as a carrot incentive to program schools. Sharp regression discontinuity (RD) estimates show that the threat of program exit on marginal first-time failers induces large learning gains. The large change in learning between the first two test rounds is likely importantly attributable to this accountability pressure given that a large share of new program entrants failed in the first test round. However, sharp RD estimates do not show that the prospect of future teacher bonus rewards induces learning gains for marginal bonus non-qualifier. Thus, the evidence collectively suggests that, apart from the pressure from below to maintain a minimum level of learning for program participation, program schools do not face any effective incentives to continuously raise learning.
Naseer, M. F., Patnam, M., &Raza, R. R. (2010). Transforming public schools: Impact of the CRI program on child learning in Pakistan. Economics of Education Review, 29(4), 669-683.
The authors carry out an impact evaluation to determine the composite impact of a PPP that seeks to modify the classroom environment. This PPP is between Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and Children’s Resource International (CRI) Pakistan, a non-profit training and education organization. Transforming classrooms to be ‘child-friendly’ encompasses a number of inputs including teacher training, improving family literacy and encouraging family involvement in the classrooms, and providing material inputs. The study compares learning outcomes and attendance among children in CRI Program schools with similar children in non- Program schools using propensity score matching. The results indicate a positive and significant effect of child- friendly classrooms on learning; the combined effect across three subjects; English, Urdu and Maths, is found to lead to an improvement of up to 11 percentile in class ranking. Overall, the results present a contrasting picture to previous analyses that examine non-didactic learning approaches and child learning outcomes in a developing country context. However, the cost effectiveness of this intervention must be considered. While this intervention is less costly compared to some ICT interventions, it is costly compared to camera based monitoring or hiring remedial teachers.
Bano, M. (2008). Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as ‘anchor’ of educational reforms: Lessons from Pakistan. United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
This paper wascommissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2009, ‘Overcoming Inequality: why governance matters’. It documents the dominant PPP models in Pakistan, notes their strengths and limitations, and then assesses their potential to act as the ‘anchor’ of education reforms in Pakistan. In doing so, the paper illustrates that the PPPs have failed to meet the goals of increasing ‘voice and choice’ by improving service delivery.The paper argues that one reason for the failure is the exaggerated expectation from the NGO and private sector. The NGOs simply do not have the resources to pursue these models on a large scale. The paper, however, maintains that the real challenge to PPP rests not in the technical limitations of the different PPP models or financial constraints of the private providers but in the flawed incentives of the state: the PPPs became the anchor of education reforms not because the political elite or the education bureaucracy genuinely wanted to partner with the private or non-profit sector but because showing commitment to this strategy, at least on paper, enabled winning international approval. The examples the paper gives on PPPs clearly shows that in reality these programmes are limited in their ability to address the issue of equity.
Alderman, H., Kim, J., &Orazem, P. F. (2003). Design, evaluation, and sustainability of private schools for the poor: the Pakistan urban and rural fellowship school experiments. Economics of Education Review, 22(3), 265-274.
This paper evaluates two pilot projects to encourage private school enrollment of poor girls in Balochistan. In particular, this paper reviews the planning, implementation, and sustainability of the two pilot projects by a comparison of enrollment growth between pilot and control communities to measure the impact of each experimental program. The aim was to highlight lessons that can be learned from these projects and may be applied in other contexts. The paper presents evidence that challenges the presumed view that cultural taboos against exposing girls to the public, further limit incentives for poor parents to send their daughters to school. It suggests that parental reticence regarding their children’s education can be overcome. The experiments show that subsidized private schools can be a viable option for the urban poor either with their current revenue stream or with a modest infusion of funds by the government. They are less likely to be a successful option for poor rural villages. However, the problem with the evaluation of these projects lies in the limited achievement tests for these programmes. The ultimate outcome indicator would be whether the girls in the fellowship program escape from poverty.