Aisha Sarwari |
The success of policymaking is rooted in collection and analysis of relevant data. It provides evidence to make sound decisions especially in Pakistan’s education sector. Data is the measure of indicators, which interprets real change. Such data regimes essentially govern public financial management systems in each sector.
Alif Ailaan has contributed to public education by collating and analyzing education rankings nationwide, independently and consistently. For the last five years, they have been publishing Pakistan District Education Ranking. Each year this document provides an in depth analysis of various education indicators in each district of the country.
The improvement in education scores of KP consistently for the last five years is a testament to the fact that the provincial government is working in a result-oriented way.
They conduct a comparative analysis for each province in various categories and rank them according to their overall education score. Despite limitations to their methodologies, data collected and analyzed by them is helpful in understanding the situation of education sector within each province.
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In their latest report, they have included a dashboard of infrastructure scores of the provinces for the last five years. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) ranks at the top in the country, in the category of primary school infrastructure. This comes as no surprise after the KP government invested 29 billion rupees to eliminate missing facilities in schools.
An estimated 24,000 schools were impacted through this intervention. The infrastructure scores were calculated using the NEMIS 2016-17 data. KP has the highest school infrastructure score of 91.12; electricity at 87.26; water at 89.06; toilets at 95.92; boundary wall at 95.81 and satisfactory building construction at 87.73.
Prioritizing education as the foremost public service challenge has been the key to this transformation. The government funneled development funds into quality-focused interventions to augment the heavy support to infrastructure.
It is only after a solid and consistent investment in infrastructure that effective focus on quality education can be made. Often it is the lack of basic facilities that become prohibitive in sending children to school by parents, particularly for young girls. The current KP government’s first two years were heavily focused on infrastructure and the last two on quality of education.
Education experts reiterate that improvement in infrastructure effectively translates in to improvement in over enrollment and gender parity. District scores also indicate that KP’s lead in education reforms is effectively changing things at the grassroots level. Eight districts among the top ten districts for the availability of electricity from schools belong to KP and six districts for the availability of boundary walls.
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These infrastructure improvements are part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Department (ESED)’s Better School Initiative. To serve the most underserved areas of the province was the priority under this initiative. District Tank is a glaring example. It has been ranked as the top district for infrastructure in Pakistan. Given the immense challenges in upgrading remote areas, this feat is reflective of the KP government’s commitment to break the status quo.
Reforms underway in KP are moving from the basic missing facilities towards a holistic focus that includes teacher’s professional development, multidimensional assessments and course digitalization.
There has been a complete shift in emphasis on education since 2013. Education sector’s performance prior to that was dismal. In addition, there has been a drastic improvement in KP’s performance in middle school infrastructure. Malakand and Swabi are the top two performing districts all over the country in the middle school category. The amount for infrastructure that the province has allocated is still to be utilized until June 2018.
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All missing facilities will be and the ratings are likely to improve even further. The overall middle school infrastructure score for KP is second at 89.25 and the province tails Punjab at 92.66. Infrastructure revolution in KP has been quite different from other parts of the country. The last five-year trend shows constant improvement in the availability of electricity, access to water, handiness of toilet facilities and the provision of boundary walls in primary schools all over KP.
To serve the most underserved areas of the province was the priority under this initiative. District Tank is a glaring example. It has been ranked as the top district for infrastructure in Pakistan.
Whereas, scores measured for these four major infrastructure indicators have declined elsewhere. Ten districts from KP have perfect scores for middle school boundary walls. Reforms underway in KP are moving from the basic missing facilities towards a holistic focus that includes teacher’s professional development, multidimensional assessments and course digitalization. Prioritizing education as the foremost public service challenge has been the key to this transformation.
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The government funneled development funds into quality-focused interventions to augment the heavy support to infrastructure. The improvement in education scores of KP consistently for the last five years is a testament to the fact that the provincial government is working in a result-oriented way. These best practices can help improve overall education scores of the country. These numbers validate that KP has delivered as promised by keeping education as a top service delivery priority.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of GVS.