Pakistan lags considerably behind other countries in achieving goals of universal access and quality education for all children. A significant part of the problem holding the education sector back is the low quality of government schools, which account for 60 percent of total school enrollments in the country. This sector has long been plagued by governance issues; including low teacher effort and motivation, non-compliance with basic quality practices, and a breakdown of accountability mechanisms. Innovations in government schools are few and far between, often top-down and not owned by the teachers and head-teachers.
Creating an autonomous, decentralized system for governing schools will be key to empowering school leaders – head teachers and education managers – to become agents of change and drive positive reforms. However, future reforms must be grounded in a deeper understanding of how school leaders operate within the public education bureaucracy.
This under-studied dimension of education policy in Pakistan is the focus of School Leadership, a project being undertaken by the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) with support from the British Council.
The project combines survey and interview methods to understand the institutional environment school leaders operate in and how they perceive their own roles within that context. The study will compare school leaders at government primary schools to primary schools established by non-governmental organizations. This will provide empirically-informed models of school leadership and information to assess the difficulty of establishing autonomous, effective school governance.
Azhar Saeed, Shahroz Punjwani, Neelgoon Safdar, Fatiq Nadeem