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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

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.
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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.
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Punjab Economic Opportunity Programme: Evaluating Markets for Skill Acquisition and Employment
Research Project | Principal Investigators: Ali Cheema, Asim I. Khwaja, Muhammad Farooq Naseer and Jacob N. Shapiro
The Punjab Economic Opportunities Programme (PEOP) is an initiative by the government-owned non-profit, the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF), to provide vocational training to the poorest residents of Punjab. Fellows from the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) and the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP) are conducting research to quickly inform decision makers with evidence to shape new interventions. This section features research on the efficacy of skills training programs and their impact on economic mobility and civic engagement. It also provides survey data on poverty, education and employment in the districts PEOP operates in.
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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 the steps that need to be taken in order for the private sector to continue building the capacity of public schools to scale.
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An Investigation into Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Punjab
Report | Principal Investigators: Faisal Bari, Reehana Raza, Monazza Aslam, Bisma Khan and Neelum Maqsood
An investigation into teacher management policies in Punjab including recruitment, retention, deployment and accountability. The objective of the study is to provide policy recommendations directed at the recruitment of competent teachers with the necessary pedagogical skills, retention of able teachers through sufficient incentives and methods of improving teaching quality through training and capacity building.
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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 – is serving as a substitute to quality formal education in Pakistan. This report quantifies the effect of private tuition on learning outcomes and identify its significance to the observed learning gap between public and private school systems. It also provides an analysis of demand and supply dynamics of private tuition in Punjab.
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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 between the ages of 5 and 16 in Pakistan. In order to meet that goal, policymakers need to have a much better understanding of Pakistan’s large non-formal sector, which often goes 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.
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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 the use of technology. Combining an examination of the existing literature on this subject and meetings with current teacher educators in Pakistan, it will provide a road map for the necessary interventions.
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