Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Aid For Education in Pakistan

A new British aid package for Pakistan, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in Islamabad, is worth $1,055 million over four years. The money will fund education for up to 4 million students, train 9,000 teachers, purchase 6 million new text books and build 8,000 schools by 2015, according to various media reports.

Announcing new aid, Cameron said, “I struggle to find a country that’s more in our interest to progress and succeed than Pakistan." “If Pakistan succeeds then we will have a good story ... if it fails we will have all the problems of migration and extremism, all the problems", he added.



With growth in the last decade, a number of countries like China, India and Pakistan have transitioned from low- to middle-income status under World Bank classifications. But China and India together still account for about half of the world's poor, and most of the illiterates, according to The Guardian. The focus of the OECD nations and the World Bank should be on helping all of the poor people regardless of whether they live in low-income or middle-income countries. Such help needs to be specifically targeted toward human development programs like education and healthcare.



Earlier this year, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2005 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the PIA, the national airline that continues to sustain huge losses.

The commission reported that 25 million children in Pakistan do not attend school, a right guaranteed in the country's constitution, and three million children will never in their lives attend a lesson, according to the BBC.

The report added that while rich parents send their children to private schools and later abroad to college or university, a third of all Pakistanis have spent less than two years at school.

Among the key findings of the commission are the following:

* 30,000 school buildings are so neglected that they are dangerous
* 21,000 schools do not have a school building at all
* Only half of all women in Pakistan can read, in rural areas the figure drops to one third
* There are 26 countries poorer than Pakistan which still manage to send more of their children to school
* Only 65% of schools have drinking water, 62% have latrines, 61% a boundary wall and 39% have electricity

The report concluded that Pakistan - in contrast to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - has no chance of reaching the UN's Millennium Development Goals for education by 2015.

Will the additional British aid bring new focus on education in Pakistan? Is it still possible for Pakistan to achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals for education by 2015? I certainly hope so, but it will take a renewed national focus in both public and private sectors of the country.

Fortunately, there are a number of highly committed individuals and organizations like The Citizens Foundation (TCF) and the Human Development Foundation (HDF) which are very active in raising funds and building and operating schools to improve the situation in Pakistan. It is important that all of us who care for the future of Pakistan should generously help these and similar other organizations.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Must Fix Primary Education

Teach For Pakistan

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

Student Performance By Country and Race

India Shining and Bharat Drowning

South Asian IQs

Low Literacy Rates Threaten Pakistan's Future

Pakistan Education Emergency

Light a Candle, Don't Curse Darkness

Mobile Phones For Mass Literacy in Pakistan

Poor Quality of Higher Education in South Asia

Teaching Facts vs Reasoning

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18 Comments:

Blogger Riaz Haq said...

The quality of primary and secondary education is clearly important in preparing students for higher education, and there has lately been a lot of hand wringing on about declining test scores in the US, particularly with respect to minority kids in schools.

Here are some of my thoughts on it:

1. I think the idea of pre-school education a la Sesame Street that reaches millions of kids in Pakistan is a very good one. And if it helps promote tolerance at a tender age, then that's even better. But it's not a substitute for good primary education.

2. With a PISA reading score of 500, US kids outperformed those in Germany( 497), France (496) and UK (494).

3. Based on PISA reading scores as analyzed by Steve Sailer, US Asians (score 541) are just below Shanghai students (556), US whites (525) outperform all of their peers in Europe except the Finns, and US Hispanics (466) and US Blacks (441) significantly outperform kids in dozens of countries spread across Asia, Latin America and Middle East.

For example, US Hispanics did better than Turks, Russians, Serbians, and all of Latin America.

In fact US Hispanics outperformed all BRIC nations with the exception of China.

And US Blacks did better than Bulgaria, Mexico, Thailand, Brazil, Jordan, Indonesia, Argentina, etc.

http://www.vdare.com/sailer/101219_pisa.htm

4. The only data available for India is 2003 TIMMS on which they ranked 46 on a list of 51 countries. Their score was 392 versus avg of 467. They performed very poorly. It was contained in a report titled "India Shining and Bharat Drowning".

I think Pakistani kids would probably also perform poorly on PISA and TIMMS if these tests administered there.

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~tzajonc/india_shining_jan27_flat.pdf

April 10, 2011 at 8:13 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

The $20m grant by USAID for Pakistani version of Sesame Street is part of $1.5 billion a year Kerry-Lugar Bill passed last year. Most of the $1.5 billion has not been disbursed, according to a piece in Foreign Policy Magazine:

U.S. economic aid to Pakistan, which totals over $1.5 billion per year, is a key part of the Obama administration's strategy to strengthen the U.S.-Pakistan strategic partnership. However, most of the aid that was allocated for last year is still in U.S. government coffers.

Only $179.5 million out of $1.51 billion in U.S. civilian aid to Pakistan was actually disbursed in fiscal 2010, the Government Accountability Office stated in a report released last week. Almost all of that money was distributed as part of the Kerry-Lugar aid package passed last year.

$75 million of those funds were transferred to bolster the Benazir Income Support Program, a social development program run by the Pakistani government. Another $45 million was given to the Higher Education Commission to support "centers of excellence" at Pakistani universities; $19.5 million went to support Pakistan's Fulbright Scholarship program; $23.3 million went to flood relief; $1.2 billion remains unspent.

None of the funds were spent to construct the kind of water, energy, and food infrastructure that former Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) Richard Holbrooke advocated for diligently when he was the lead administration official in charge of managing the money. Moreover, according to the report, the Obama administration hasn't yet set up the mechanisms to make sure the money isn't misspent.
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"While the facts of the GAO report are accurate, it doesn't reflect the big picture nor adequately represent what we've achieved with civilian assistance over the last year," said Jessica Simon, a spokesperson for the SRAP office. "As the FY 2010 funding was appropriated in April 2010, it is hardly surprising that only a portion of the funding was disbursed by the end of the year."

Simon said that in total, the U.S. government has disbursed $878 million of Pakistan-specific assistance since October 2009, which includes over $514 million in emergency humanitarian assistance in response to the devastating July 2010 floods.

The floods also slowed the progress of the Kerry-Lugar program, Sen. John Kerry's spokesman Frederick Jones told The Cable.

"The floods last summer changed the Pakistani landscape, literally and figuratively, and required us to take a step back and reexamine all of our plans," Jones said. "Bureaucracies move slowly and redirecting aid at this level requires time and some patience. It is difficult to allocate billions of dollars in a responsible way without proper vetting, which takes time."

Experts note that the disparity between U.S. promises to Pakistan and funds delivered is a constant irritant in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.

"There are always complaints and in terms of the delays there are pretty valid reasons on both sides," said Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council. He said that Congress's requirement that the money be tracked and accounted for is a source of contention.

"For a long time the U.S. didn't ask any questions about the money. And so it became a bit of a shock," he said.

The GAO has long called for better oversight of the funds, especially in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This lack of accountability is what spurred Congress to mandate better oversight of the Kerry-Lugar money, including provisions that require reporting on the Pakistani military's level of assistance to the United States.

...

April 10, 2011 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Is India too wealthy for British aid? asks the BBC:

Bihar children being fed under a government scheme More than a million children in Bihar suffer from severe malnutrition
Continue reading the main story
Related Stories

* How UK overseas aid will be spent
* 'More poor' in India than Africa
* Ignoring India's 'republic of hunger'

Britain's decision to give £280m ($457m) in annual aid to India for the next four years has prompted questions in the UK about whether India needs the aid these days. The BBC's Geeta Pandey travels to the northern state of Bihar to see where a sizeable chunk of the British money will be spent.

About two dozen children squat in a narrow lane separating mud and brick homes in Madhaopur village.

It's a hot sunny afternoon and the children sit facing each other, hugging the wall where a thin sliver of shade keeps them out of direct sunshine.

A woman puts steel plates in front of each child, another ladles out khichdi - a rice and lentil dish - onto each plate.

Within minutes, the chattering ceases and the children begin to eat hungrily, scooping out khichdi with their hands and putting it in their mouths.

Ideally, the children should be served inside the Anganwadi (government sponsored child development) centre, but the pokey, window-less room that passes for the centre is too small to accommodate them all.
'Malnourished'

The building provides pre-school education to children between three and six years and gives them one cooked meal a day to supplement their nutritional needs.

"Nearly 50% children here are malnourished," says Geeta Verma, who is part of the technical assistance team of DfiD (Department for International Development).
A baby being vaccinated in Bihar DfiD supports vaccination programmes in the villages of Bihar

"They are given a daily meal by the Anganwadi workers. It's a naturally fortified meal - for proteins we use lentils, for micronutrients, we use leafy vegetables," she explains.

Research has shown that the diet in Bihar leaves children with a 300-calorie deficit and this meal aims to bridge that gap.

"This meal provides each child with 300 calories and 10 grams of protein," Ms Verma says.

The team has helped prepare the menu and has been coaching the women in the important role nutrition plays in the physical and mental growth of their children.

In Madhaopur, DfiD is also supervising and assisting with immunisation of babies and has helped with a project to teach illiterate women.
'Too wealthy?'

Since being opened up in 1991, the Indian economy has grown rapidly. And at a time when most economies around the world are in recession, India's continues to grow at an enviable 9%. This has helped lift millions out of poverty.
Continue reading the main story
“Start Quote
Sangeeta Kumari

Bluntly speaking we are struggling for existence, we are trying to perform our best in the midst of a crisis. We have very poor infrastructure.”

End Quote Sangeeta Kumari Bihar government official

This has led to some in the UK wondering if India is too wealthy to qualify for receiving aid. They say the £280m could be put to better use in Britain where the economy is ailing and many services are being cut back.

Critics also point out that India has 69 dollar billionaires; it has its own space programme; plans to send a man to the Moon; spends billions of dollars annually on defence; and even has its own overseas aid programme.

But India has its areas of darkness too - according to World Bank estimates, 456 million live on less than $1.25 a day; tens of millions of children suffer from acute malnutrition; millions of Indians are illiterate; hundreds of thousands continue to die of totally preventable causes; and eight million children remain out of school.....

April 11, 2011 at 8:02 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

The European Union has signed an agreement to provide 225 million euros for development projects in Pakistan, according to The News:

The agreement was signed by the Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel and European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs at the finance ministry.

The money will be spent from 2011 to 2013 on developing programmes for rural and natural resource, education and human resource, governance and trade development.

Under the arrangement, the EU has committed an annual grant of 75 million euros. Over the three-year period, 90 million euros will be spent on rural development and natural resources management, 70 million euros on education and human resource development, 50 million euros on governance and 15 million euros on trade development.

Briefing newsmen about the meeting, Shaikh appreciated the EU and Germany for their support to economic development in Pakistan.

The minister discussed the current economic situation and measures taken by the government for stabilising and increasing revenue through tax reforms.

The minister said that despite narrow fiscal space, Pakistan has not compromised on social and poverty-related spending and is pursuing a strategy to promote growth.

“As a result of the initiatives to stabilise economy, indicators have shown improvement and the economy is able enough to withstand challenges,” he added.

The minister thanked Germany for supporting Pakistan’s efforts to get access to the EU markets.

The visiting dignitaries appreciated Pakistan’s commitment for sustaining the ongoing economic reforms programme and reaffirmed their support to Pakistan in this regard.

They expressed hope that Pakistan would continue with the reform process.

Niebel said that under the recently concluded bilateral negotiations, Germany had committed additional 78 million euros for education, energy, health and governance besides assuring 12 million euros for the Multi Donor Trust Fund.

Out of the 78 million euros committed by Germany, 48.5 million euros will be spent on energy, 13 million euros on health, 9 million euros on governance, one million euros on education and 6.5 million euros outside these priority areas.

June 18, 2011 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

UN World Food Program's initiative to provide free food and cooking oil to school children is persuading poor families to send their daughters to school in Pakistan, according to a news report:

The program has already noted success in a 62% increase in girls' attendance in the last decade.

"This is really a big help. In these times when things are so expensive, receiving [cooking] oil free of charge is a real bonus," Fareeda Bibi mentioned while placing the four-litre fortified oil tin by her tiny stove.

A tin of oil costs Rs 450 [US$5.5], and Fareeda needs at least three a month to cook for her family of eight.

"My husband earns Rs 5,000 [$61] a month as a carpenter, so our budget is tight. Over Rs 1,000 [$12.2] goes towards utility bills; we spend nearly 2,500 [$30.5] on food and then there are new shoes to be bought for the children or medical bills to pay for my parents-in-law. Every little bit that comes in free in such hard times is a bonus."

Fareeda's daughter Shama receives the oil at her school in Dera Ghazi Khan District in Pakistan's Punjab Province every month as part of a UN World Food Programme (WFP) operation run in conjunction with the government.

"The incentive is mainly to increase enrolment and keep the girls in school. The assistance is only given in girls' primary schools in Punjab. However, in NWFP [North West Frontier Province], Balochistan and Sindh, we have included boys as well," said Amjad Jamal, a WFP spokesman.

The programme had increased girls' enrolment by 25% and attendance by 62%
since 1998, said Marcelo Spinahering of WFP Pakistan. "Children are given high energy biscuits for onsite feeding in certain parts of the country. For the most part they receive take-home rations of four litres of fortified edible oil on a monthly basis and 50kg of wheat on a quarterly basis," he added.

Attitudes changing?

Fareeda said the school feeding programme had also played a part in persuading male members of her family to allow Shama to go to school, just like her two brothers.

"When they say there is no need to educate girls because they will never need to earn a living, I point out the oil we receive helps us run the house, and then they fall silent," Fareeda said, adding: "Of course it is very important to us that our daughter is being educated. I am not literate and this handicaps me."

Noor Bibi, the mother of another young schoolgirl said: "Even though we pay no fees at government schools, my husband says we spend too much on uniforms and books." The oil bonus helps 'balance' this, and she hopes to double the gains in a few years time when her two-year-old daughter is enrolled.

Fozia Hina, deputy district officer for Dera Ghazi Khan sub-district, said: "In areas such as ours, which is largely underdeveloped, parents do not like sending girls out of the house, even to school. Traditionally girls do not leave the home of their parents or husbands. Since the [cooking] oil incentive began several years ago more parents are eager to enrol kids. Mothers are keen to enrol even four-year-old girls."...


http://southasia.oneworld.net/todaysheadlines/pakistantake-home-rations-brings-girls-to-schools

July 6, 2011 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times piece on linking BISP to primary schooling of children:

The cash transfer under the scheme would be linked with school-going children of beneficiary families. The scheme will be the latest addition in the various innovative measures of BISP, including demand driven vocational/technical training along with the provision of micro-financing to ensure livelihood independence for millions of beneficiary families.

Analysis of the data collected through a nationwide poverty survey by BISP reveals that primary education of beneficiaries’ children is one of the major issues of the poor class in Pakistan. A careful evaluation of the data revealed that only 17 percent of BISP beneficiaries send all of their children (between the age of 4 to 10 years) to school, 27 percent of them send some of their children to school, whereas 56 percent do not send any of their children to school. In terms of numbers, more than 5 million children of BISP beneficiaries, between the ages of 4 to 10 years, do not attend any school. The future of millions of these children is in our hands; we can make them productive citizens in the world by providing them with decent educational opportunities; otherwise, sans education, they would become nothing but an easy prey for the cruel forces of extremism, intolerance and terrorism, which are unfortunately competing with the forces of reason in our country.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\10\22\story_22-10-2011_pg7_20

October 22, 2011 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report in The Nation about the use of mobile phones to deliver teacher training and resources:

ISLAMABAD - Nokia and UNESCO Islamabad have launched “Mobile Learning Project for Teacher’s Professional Development” on Thursday as formal collaboration took place in the presence of senior government officials, Nokia and UNESCO representatives.
As part of this programme, UNESCO and Nokia are joining hands, where Nokia is providing a technology solution known as Nokia Education Delivery to the UNESCO project ‘use of ICT for professional development of public school teachers’ in remote areas.
In Pakistan, through the project, Nokia will help UNESCO to enable the delivery of high- quality educational materials to teachers who lack training and resources.
Through mobile phones teachers will be given an opportunity to train themselves. Nokia developed the Nokia Education Delivery programme to allow using a mobile phone to access and download videos and other educational materials from a constantly updated education library.
Speaking about the project, UNESCO Director, Kozue Kai Nagata said, “In 21st century public-private partnerships are enjoying growing attention and support as a new and sustainable modality for development.
We are confident to collaborate with Nokia to provide us with the best platform to train public school teachers. Nokia Education Delivery programme is fit to match our need of delivering quality training to a large number of public school teachers across Pakistan through the project named “Mobile Learning for Teachers”.
Amir Jahangir, President AGAHI and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, shared his views on the launch that “Pakistan is a knowledge starved country, where universal education has its own challenges. To meet the target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) on education, Pakistan needs to address its education challenges through innovation and technology which can reach to a larger population with cost effective solutions”.
This unique pilot project for Pakistan has been initiated by UNESCO and AGAHI while Nokia Pakistan will enable the project implementation by providing not just Nokia devices but a complete solution via its Nokia Education Delivery programme.


http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Business/23-Dec-2011/Nokia-Unesco-join-hands

December 22, 2011 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here are excepts of an Op Ed by Andrew Michell, British secretary of DFID, published in The News:

Over the last year, the UK has worked closely with Pakistan to deliver strong results, including supporting nearly half a million children in school; providing practical job training to more than 1,100 poor people in Punjab; providing microfinance loans to more than one hundred thousand people across Pakistan so they can start small businesses and lift their families out of poverty; and helping millions of people affected by the floods in 2010 and 2011.

Education is the single most important factor that can transform Pakistan’s future. With a population that is expected to increase by 50 per cent in less than forty years, it is worrying that half the country’s adults can’t read or write, and that more than a third of primary school aged children are not in school. That’s why the UK is committed to working in partnership with Pakistan to tackle its education emergency.

If educated, healthy and working, this burgeoning youth population will provide a demographic boost to drive Pakistan’s economic growth and unlock Pakistan’s potential on the global stage.

That’s why education is the UK’s top priority and why over the next four years, the UK will work in partnership with Pakistan to:

* support four million children in school;

* recruit and train 90,000 new teachers;

* provide more than six million text book sets; and

* construct or rebuild more than 43,000 classrooms.

Every full year of extra schooling across the population increases economic growth by up to one percentage point, as more people with better reading, writing, and maths skills enter the workforce.

The UK government is also working with Pakistan to empower and protect women and girls, to end violence against them and to help harness their talent and productivity. I welcome the legislation recently passed by Pakistan’s parliament that bans domestic violence, and congratulate Pakistan on its first Oscar for an outstanding film which throws the international spotlight on the horrific crime of acid attacks on women.

Other priorities for the UK include working with Pakistan to prevent 3,600 mothers dying in childbirth; enabling 500,000 couples to choose when and how many children they have; providing practical job training (such as car mechanics, cooks, weavers, carpenters, etc) to tens of thousands of people living in poverty; and enable millions of people, half of them women, to access financial services such as microfinance loans so they can earn more money and lift their families out of poverty.

The UK’s aid to Pakistan could potentially more than double, to become the UK’s largest recipient of aid. However this increase in UK aid is dependent on securing value for money and results, and linked to the Government of Pakistan’s own progress on reform at both the federal and provincial levels. This includes taking steps to build a more dynamic economy, strengthen the country’s tax base, and tackle corruption.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-97151-UK-and-Pakistan-partners-for-the-long-term

March 10, 2012 at 7:24 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

From Dawn:

KARACHI: The British High Commissioner for Pakistan, Adam Thomson, said that transformation of the education sector is essential to safeguard Pakistan’s future.

He was addressing members of the English Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP) at a local hotel on Thursday.

The High Commissioner maintained that although the current situation in education sector seems dismal, there has been some progress. However, this progress is not fast enough.

He pointed out that the global average primary school enrollment is 87 per cent but that of Pakistan is 56 per cent.

Seventeen million primary school age children, equivalent to the entire population of Karachi, are out of school in Pakistan, Adam Thomson added.

He pointed out that UK aid from the Department for International Development will help support four million children into school, train 90,000 teachers, fund six million textbook sets and rebuild schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa destroyed by militants or floods.

The High Commissioner said that the UK is already working with Pakistan to assist in this necessary transformation in Pakistan’s education.

He stated that the UK has more to offer Pakistan on education than any other country in the world.

Adam Thomson cited founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s strong personal conviction that ‘education is a matter of life and death for Pakistan’.

Arguing that an education transformation is possible, he cited the example of a province in Brazil where the literacy rate among eight year olds jumped from 49 per cent to 73 per cent just three years after a reform programme was launched.

Adam Thomson said Pakistan could expect to start seeing the results within two years.

Highlighting the strong links between Pakistan and the UK on education, he said that the UK and Pakistan are linked by history, language and educational testing. More Pakistanis still take English exams than any other nationality outside a formal government education sector.

‘We are connected, joined at the hip. We cannot flourish if you do not flourish. You cannot flourish if your population is uneducated’.

The UK will support four million children in school and is set to provide 650 million pounds, equivalent to nearly Rs100 billion, over four years for primary and secondary education in Pakistan.

http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/15/reforming-education-is-essential-for-pakistan-british-hc.html

March 15, 2012 at 10:38 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report on a conference on technical & vocational training (TVET)as published in The Nation:

For the first time in Pakistan, the British Council on Monday held an International Conference on Employer Engagement and Entrepreneurship for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector for South Asia.

Held under the Skills for Employability programme, the conference focused on the benefits of employers’ engagement in the curriculum development and policy-making process in the TVET sector and how it can be encouraged, says a press release issued here.

The participants agreed that the engagement will result in enabling policy makers to develop demand-driven curriculum that will not only produce workforce with industry-need expertise and knowledge but will also pave ways to promote entrepreneurship amongst the young TVET graduates.

TVET experts from Pakistan, United Kingdom, Bangladesh and Nepal participated in the conference besides principals, teachers and students of TVET colleges from across Pakistan.

Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Federal Minister for Professional and Technical Training, was the chief guest at the conference. In his speech, he highlighted the role of TVET education for the development of a country’s economy particularly for a country like Pakistan.

There was an overall consensus in amongst the participants of the conference that there is always a consistent demand of skilled workforce from the developing world to the developed countries as well as within their own countries. But there was also a general agreement on the challenges that countries like Pakistan face to meet those demands. One of the major challenges that were highlighted in the conference was how to equip our manpower with the expertise and skills that are in demand in the global market.
--------------
Adam Thompson, the British High Commissioner in Pakistan was the guest of honour at the event and he talked about how TVET education in the UK is contributing to the economy by producing demand-driven workforce.

The conference also had an impressive exhibition setup by enterprising young students from the TVET colleges across Pakistan. There were separate panel discussions on Employer Engagement and Entrepreneurship, where experts from different countries discussed the importance of these two elements in TVET sector followed by a Q & A session by an enthusiastic audience.

The findings of the two sessions on Employer Engagement and Entrepreurship were shared with the participants in the concluding session of the Conference.

Salman Shehzad, Regional Manager for Skills for Employability programme concluded the Conference with his closing remarks. Salman said, “Having the treasure of approx. 65% youth population in Pakistan; TVET reforms can be instrumental in creating dynamic opportunities for young people which would certainly support the government’s agenda of engaging youth in skill development activities.”


http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/islamabad/27-Mar-2012/-skilled-manpower-in-high-demand-in-global-market

March 26, 2012 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times on increased British aid for education in Pakistan:

Under the new UK Operational Plan for Pakistan (2011-2015), almost 1.4 billion pounds have been allocated for Pakistan, primarily in the education sector.
According to sources, the plan will make Pakistan the largest recipient of the UK development assistance in the world. UK believes that Pakistan’s education system is in crisis, and the country has a booming youth population. By 2032, the number of young people in Pakistan will be larger than the entire UK population. That’s why education is one of the UK’s priorities in Pakistan from 2011 to 2015, besides peace and stability in conflict-hit areas of in the country. Between 2011 and 2015, the UK will support four million children in school and construct more than 20,000 classrooms.
The UK is Pakistan’s second largest trading partner in Europe after Germany and an important source of foreign investment and remittances. Bilateral trade with the country was 1.77 billion pounds last year. Importantly, the two sides have agreed to a Trade and Investment Roadmap to not only increase the bilateral trade to 2.5 billion pounds by 2015 but also enhance investment opportunities. There are over 100 British companies in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s relations with the UK have become stronger and more meaningful since signing of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) on April 5 last year. The UK has also been very supportive of Pakistan’s desire for inclusion in GSP+ in 2014.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\07\21\story_21-7-2012_pg7_28

July 20, 2012 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on 200 Pakistani students going for a semester abroad under UGRAD program:

A pre-departure orientation workshop was organised by the United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) for departing students here on Wednesday evening.



Students were briefed by the USEFP on the programme, visa regulations, American culture and US higher education and campus life. All students would return to Pakistan to complete their bachelor’s degrees. As many as 200 undergraduate students from all parts of Pakistan will be departing over the next year for a semester of study at colleges and universities in the US as part of the Global Undergraduate Programme (UGRAD) in Pakistan. As many as 100 will travel in August-September for the fall semester and an additional 100 will go to the US in January 2013.



An initiative of the US Department of State, the UGRAD programme will send Pakistani students to over 50 campuses in the US where they will take classes along with American students, do public presentations on the culture and people of Pakistan, and be an active part of the local community they will be staying in. Since the programme began in 2010, approximately 500 Pakistani students have participated. The fellowships cover all expenses for the students including travel, lodging, stipend, and tuition.



“To see so many impressive Pakistani young people — each of you an incredibly talented representative of this great nation’s bright future — is inspiring,” said Brent Beemer, cultural attache at the US Embassy, who addressed the group, “To think that my country has had some role in advancing your education and helping your nation’s prospects makes me feel very good, and even proud.”



“The really exciting thing about this group of undergraduates is that so many of these students come from remote or economically disadvantaged areas of Pakistan. The group includes students from every province of Pakistan and 52 per cent are women. The students come from a wide variety of disciplines, including humanities and social science subjects, engineering, basic sciences, law, art and design, economics, and business administration,” said Rita Akhtar, Executive Director of the USEFP...


http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-121671-200-undergraduates-to-leave-for-US

July 20, 2012 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a News story on British aid for social sector development in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD: United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for International Development (DFID) has committed to provide £266 million in shape of grants to Pakistan during the current fiscal year in areas of education, poverty alleviation, development in Balochistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), as disclosed during the House of Commons Committee’s review meeting.



The objective of the meeting was to assess aid effectiveness being provided by the UK to Pakistan over the medium term. “During the review meeting, the UK delegation pressed upon Islamabad authorities to improve the country’s fiscal situation by mobilising tax revenues and abolishing untargeted subsidies,” said an official source.



“Aid provided by the DFID would gradually increase by up to £446 million by 2014-15,” said Javed Iqbal, secretary of Economic Affairs Division. “The DFID is providing financial assistance to enhance the number of enrolled children in school by up to four million as well as for other areas, including health, poverty alleviation and improved governance.”



DFID has planned to provide £155 million to the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for unconditional cash transfer over medium to long term, while another £124 million would be provided for conditional cash transfer under the BISP programme under Waseela-e-Taleem programme. “DFID would provide four million pounds for the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) under the World Bank’s supervision to undertake development projects in Balochistan and FATA,” said an official source.



According to DFID’s findings, almost 60 million Pakistanis – equivalent to the entire UK population – lives below the food poverty line. Pakistan is off-track on the education and health millennium development goals. Half of all adults, and two out of every three women, are illiterate. One in eleven children die before their fifth birthday and 14,000 mothers die during childbirth.



This entrenched poverty leads to suffering, lost opportunity and a sense of grievance; all of which undermine Pakistan’s long-term stability and prosperity. Comparatively poor data in Pakistan and frequent crises exacerbate the challenge of assessing development programmes.


http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-3-145839-DFID-to-provide-%C2%A3266-million-for-development

November 30, 2012 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece on Shehzad Roy's "Chal Parha" GeoTV series to improve education in Pakistan:

Last month, well-known Pakistani pop star, Shehzad Roy made an appearance at Harvard to talk about music, activism and his new documentary series, Chal Parha (Urdu for: Come, Teach), which highlights the extensive issues plaguing Pakistan’s education system.

Having visited over 200 schools across the country, in an interview with DAWN, Roy stated: “In each episode we highlight an issue from public schools, for example, corporal punishment, medium of instruction, population, textbooks, curriculum, teachers.”

He added, “I want to share the lessons that we have learnt; both good and ugly. We want people to know the obstacles standing in the way of improving the structure of education in government schools while also highlighting the remarkable individuals committed to the teaching profession. These people prove the power of individual efforts.”

Broadcast on a local television channel, GEO TV, the show has gained immense popularity, fast making an impact in a country where, according to the non-profit Alif Ailaan, the government spends just 2.4 percent of its national GDP on education and where just over half of children enroll in primary school.

Mariam Chughtai, the founder of Harvard’s Pakistan Student Group told The Diplomat that the singer was invited primarily because the student group “is committed to changing the discourse on Pakistan at Harvard from one of terrorism and challenges, to that of resilience, art and social change.”

“[Roy] embodied for us an activist who is using music to make an impact on the ground, which is why his discussants, Professor Ali Asani and I were able to have a conversation with him in light of how artists have historically played a key role in keeping governments and rulers accountable,” Chughtai said.

“Roy himself spoke of the main learnings he has had in his journey of Chal Parha, including clippings from his show which illustrated these learnings. They represented both strengths and weaknesses of society in being ready for change on education.”

Alongside his music career, which, over the past couple of years, has veered sharply into the direction of socio-political commentary, Roy has managed to rather successfully integrate both his music and humanitarian work
----------
Roy told Dawn, “We have installed thumb-printing attendance machines in the five provinces to bring transparency to the issue of teacher absenteeism. We are now collecting this data and are happy to report that teacher attendance has increased considerably in these schools. Similarly, in the episode on corporal punishment, we are proposing a law banning physical abuse in schools and we plan to diligently pursue this issue in the media.”
....


http://thediplomat.com/the-pulse/2013/05/16/shehzad-roy-fighting-for-change-in-pakistani-education/

May 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

Imagine sending your children to school and there are no teachers.

You might go to the principal's office to see what's going on and to ask when the staff is likely to return. But the principal is not there either.

When you complain to the local education authorities they promise faithfully that the teachers will be back. While you're at it, you mention that none of the toilets at the school work and that there's no water for the kids to drink. There may not even be any chairs or desks. Or books.

In the U.S. you'd be expecting to wake up about now. You'd realize it was all just an unpleasant dream and walk your children to their nice school complete with teachers, books, desks and working toilets.

But if you were a parent with children in the public school system in Pakistan, you'd never wake from the nightmare.

There are said to be 25,000 "ghost schools" in Pakistan. The teachers all get paid. They just don't see the need to turn up. They don't go to school, so the kids don't either. The result is one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world.

With a population approaching 200 million, Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, but about 54 million are illiterate. While national statistics report that 70 percent of children are enrolled in in primary education, 50 percent drop out before reaching the fifth grade.

According to UNESCO's 2014 report on the state of global primary education, Pakistan has nearly 5.5 million children out of school, the second highest number in the world after Nigeria.

If you have a daughter in Pakistan, the odds are stacked against her going to school at all, especially if you're living in a poor urban slum or a rural area. There remain huge disparities in the levels of literacy between the sexes.

You can't blame the children. The Citizens Foundation (TCF), a non-profit that relies almost exclusively on donations from Pakistani and expat supporters in the U.S. and other countries, runs 1,000 quality schools in the country's worst slums and neglected rural areas. TCF has a long waiting list of parents desperate to get their kids educated.

I recently spent a week visiting TCF schools in Karachi. Immediately outside the school walls, there's abject poverty. Inside the school gates, there are pristine classrooms, computer labs and spotless washrooms. Drinking water is provided to ensure that no child goes thirsty.

This sanctuary could be a snapshot from any classroom in the world -- happy children hanging on their teacher's every word, immune to the stresses of the world outside.

Now working in 100 towns and cities across Pakistan, TCF strives to maintain an equivalent enrollment of girls and boys. This is no mean feat in a nation that has marginalized women even as it elected Benazir Bhutto its prime minister, a height yet to be achieved by an American woman. To sustain this gender ratio, TCF has an all-female faculty, because parents are more likely to send their daughters to schools where the teachers are women.

TCF schools have succeeded where others have failed because they've won the support of communities that have been forgotten and abandoned by the state.

On October 8, TCF in partnership with the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C., co-hosted a conference titled "Pakistan's Biggest Challenge: Turning Around a Broken Education System", bringing together some of the best minds in education from around the world....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/skoll-foundation/education-will-make-pakistanis-youth-an-asset_b_6064402.html

November 4, 2014 at 9:23 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMABAD: Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has expressed his commitment to raise $450 million for bringing improvement in the education sector of Pakistan.
According to a statement issued by the PM House, Brown called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday evening and expressed his resolve, which also includes provision of better security facilities to schools in the country.
Nawaz appreciated his goodwill gesture towards Pakistan and its people, saying that he is fully aware of the continuous work that Brown is doing to improve Pakistan’s image abroad.
Brown currently serves as the United Nations special envoy for global education.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/833735/gordon-brown-expresses-commitment-to-raise-450m-for-education-in-pakistan/

February 5, 2015 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

ISLAMABAD: Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has expressed his commitment to raise $450 million for bringing improvement in the education sector of Pakistan.
According to a statement issued by the PM House, Brown called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday evening and expressed his resolve, which also includes provision of better security facilities to schools in the country.
Nawaz appreciated his goodwill gesture towards Pakistan and its people, saying that he is fully aware of the continuous work that Brown is doing to improve Pakistan’s image abroad.
Brown currently serves as the United Nations special envoy for global education.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/833735/gordon-brown-expresses-commitment-to-raise-450m-for-education-in-pakistan/

February 5, 2015 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Riaz Haq said...

2014 World Bank report on private schools in Pakistan by Quynh Nguyen & Dushyanth Raju:


http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/426541468145475006/pdf/WPS6897.pdf

Using school census data from 1999/2000, Andrabi, Das, and Khwaja (2008) found that
the majority of Pakistan’s roughly 36,000 private schools were established in the 1990s and were
at the primary level (up to grade 5). The rural share of private schools established in each year
was at least as large as the urban share. Furthermore, the vast majority of private schools
established in the 1980s and 90s reported that they were for-profit. Using school census data
from 2007/08, I-SAPS (2010) determined that the number of private schools has since doubled to
70,000, with particularly strong growth in schools at the middle and high levels in both rural and
urban areas. Using multiple rounds of household sample survey data, Andrabi et al. also found
that the private school share of enrollment rose markedly over the 1990s for both rich and poor
households and urban and rural households, and rose more in the provinces of Punjab and
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) than in Sindh and Balochistan. Over this same period, the
government school system—the dominant provider of schooling in terms of the number of
institutions and share of enrollment—has seen its position steadily erode, particularly in urban
areas and in the rural parts of Punjab and KP provinces. This has occurred despite the fact that
government schools are ostensibly free for the user, while private schools typically charge fees.

------

School fees are generally low enough that poor households manage to pay
them. For example, Andrabi et al. (2008) find that average tuition fees constitute around 2
percent of the average household income in both rural and urban areas.

--------

The picture remains roughly the same for children in the 11 to 15 age group. One-third of
these children are not in school. Specifically, 12 percent of children have dropped out, whereas
22 percent have never gone to school. Forty-six percent are in government school. Eighteen
percent are in private school, which is a few percentage points lower than the corresponding rate
for the six to 10 age group. Again, given the sizeable share of children that are not in school, the
private school participation rate of 18 percent translates into a private school share of enrollment
of 27 percent.

January 4, 2017 at 8:00 PM  

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