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Human Development

Improving the capacity of all Pakistanis through better access to education and health is critical for developing more equal societies, strengthening well-functioning democracies, and improving economic growth. The passage of the 18th amendment and the addition of Article 25A to the Pakistan Constitution has assigned the comprehensive responsibility of the education sector to the provincial governments and made education free and compulsory for those between the ages of 5 to 16. There is also increasing recognition that quality education should be provided. How can provincial governments deliver on these dual objectives? The research agenda focuses on looking at instruments available to the state to deliver on these objectives, such as conditional cash transfers or vouchers, new financing models, reforms in public sector schools, performance of public, private and public-private partnership schools, and issues of equity and access to education.

Projects and Papers

Teacher Professional Development Reform in Punjab: Will it Work?
Policy Note | Author: Amal Aslam
Punjab has announced a new policy that will significantly increase the time teachers receive professional development and make important staffing changes to those who provide training. This policy note examines the stipulations of the new policy, why it was introduced, and potential problems it may encounter during implementation.
Read the policy note

Raising Domestic Resources for Equitable Education in Pakistan
Policy Paper | Principal Investigators: Faisal Bari and Rabea Malik
While Pakistan's push for universal education has increased school enrollment, the pace of progress has been slow and millions of children are still out of school. Education outcomes in Pakistan also remain deeply unequal. To fix these problems, Pakistan will need to commit far more resources to the education sector. This paper reviews Pakistan's current challenges to funding education and offers a strategy for increasing resources and ensuring they are distributed equitably.
Read the paper

School Leadership
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Faisal Bari, Rabea Malik and Amal Aslam
In order for future education reform efforts to improve learning outcomes, more decisions that affect individual schools need to be made by head teachers and school managers - school leaders - than officials at the provincial center. While school leaders have the potential to drive education reforms at the local level, their current duties and operating evironments often make this difficult. Through data collection and interviews, this research project documents how school leaders currently work, and the context that shapes their work. This information will be critical to informing future efforts to decentralize education reform.
See project details
Teaching Effectively All Children (TEACh)
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Pauline Rose (University of Cambridge), Nidhi Singal (University of Cambridge), Anna Vignoles (University of Cambridge), Faisal Bari, Rabea Malik and Monazza Aslam
Although student enrollment has increased significantly in Pakistan’s Punjab province, education is still not inclusive for students with disadvantages in income, disabilities, locality, gender, religion and caste. This not only makes it difficult to reach universal enrollment, but students are also less likely to benefit equally from an education. In response to this problem, IDEAS is collaborating with Cambridge University’s Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) centre to study how student outcomes in Punjab reflect teaching and household circumstances, and apply those insights to strategies to inform future policies to make education inclusive of diverse backgrounds.
See project details
Designing Active Labor Market Policies in Southern Punjab: Evidence from Household and Community Surveys
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Ali Cheema, Asim I. Khwaja, Muhammad Farooq Naseer and Jacob N. Shapiro
This report details the results of a comprehensive survey of income, education, skills and employment of the four poorest districts of Punjab. The data reveals that although demand for skills is high, major challenges exist for skills training programs to effectively reduce poverty. Current training programs still have requirements that assume a basic level of education, thus excluding a majority of the poor population. If programs are tailored for lower levels of education, the large percentage of young people living in the region could establish a foundation of wealth for future generations to build upon.
Read the report
Public Private Partnerships in Education: Evidence from Pakistan
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Faisal Bari and Rabea Malik
Pakistan’s education system suffers from a high out-of-school rate, under-funded facilities and low levels of learning. This project focuses on a potential solution: Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in education, in which private institutions provide management solutions to state schools for greater accessibility to quality education. It identifies the characteristics of successful PPPs and a roadmap for the private sector to continue building the capacity of public schools to scale.
See publications

An Investigation into Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Punjab
Report | Principal Investigators: Faisal Bari, Reehana Raza, Monazza Aslam, Bisma Khan and Neelum Maqsood
This study examines teacher recruitment, retention, deployment and accountability in Punjab. Based on this information, the study offers policy reccomendations for recruiting more competent teachers with the necessary pedagogical skills, retaining effective teachers through sufficient incentives and improving teaching quality through training and capacity-building.
Read the report


Analyzing the Market for Shadow Education: Does Private Tuition Affect the Learning Gap Between Private and Public Schools?
Report | Principal Investigators: Bisma Haseeb Khan and Sahar Amjad Sheikh
Fast emerging as a third sector in education, private tuition – also known as “shadow” education – serves as substitute to quality formal education in Pakistan. This report measures the effect of private tuition on learning outcomes and lays out implications for the learning gap between public and private school systems. It also provides an analysis of demand and supply dynamics of private tuition in Punjab.
Read the report


Non-Formal Education in Pakistan
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Abbas Rashid (Society for the Advancement of Education) and Faisal Bari | Co-Investigators: Rabea Malik, Farooq Naseer and Irfan Muzaffar
Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan stipulates that free and compulsory education must be provided to children age five to 16. To meet that goal, policymakers need to have a much better understanding of Pakistan’s large non-formal sector, which is often neglected at the official level. This study will review the available literature on non-formal education with a policy-relevant analysis, identify sustainable frameworks for non-formal education and devise a strategy for incorporating non-formal education into the mainstream.
See project details

Technology for Teacher Training
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Abbas Rashid (Society for the Advancement of Education) and Muhammad Farooq Naseer | Co-Investigators: Irfan Muzaffar, Faisal Bari, Rabea Malik and Javaeria Qureshi (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Pakistani schools often suffer from low-quality instruction. But training teachers in content knowledge poses a challenge because teachers are often too busy from their own work to attend trainings. This project aims to create a model for training teachers while they work through technology. Combining insights of the existing literature on this subject and meetings with current teacher educators in Pakistan, the project will provide a road map for the necessary interventions.
See project details