Established in 1982 by a group of concerned citizens and academics, the Society for Advancement of Education (SAHE) was one of the first nonprofit organizations to focus on access to quality education in Pakistan. Over the past 30 years, its role and activities have evolved to include an emphasis on research-based advocacy, outreach to communities as well as the provision of an alternate forum for learning and thinking about education reform.
SAHE is currently engaged with various bilateral, multilateral donor agencies and federal and provincial governments on a wide range of critical issues related to education. It has worked with both international agencies such as OXFAM-NOVIB, Open Society Institute (OSI), Department for International Development (DFID), World Bank, UNICEF, UNESCO, The British Council as well as national organizations including Punjab Education Foundation (PEF), Directorate of Staff Development (DSD), Punjab Education Assessment System (PEAS) and the Education Department.
In its long-term collaborations with diverse donor agencies and government sector partners, SAHE’s performance has been outstanding in terms of meeting the goals and objectives of the projects and assignments. SAHE has never experienced any outstanding issues with its long list of clients when it comes to implementing and supporting agencies working under public or private sector arrangements and international donor agencies. On the contrary, its work has often led to greater engagement with its partners and clients. Most recently, its report on theDFID funded Monitoring Study of the Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) was well received by key stakeholders . Appreciative of SAHE’s performance, DFID has also awarded a follow-up project to SAHE for dissemination of the findings that would support PEC in meeting the milestones of the Punjab Chief minister’s road map.
Similarly, SAHE has been working with OXFAM-NOVIB for nearly 11 years. Initially, SAHE was awarded a two years contract to set-up Community Based Primary Schools for children in disadvantaged and underprivileged parts of Punjab. This program grew over the years to cover 135 communities, employing 450 young educated female teachers and helping 12,000 girls to complete primary education in Southern Punjab. With its twin focus of providing high quality primary education to girls in the most disadvantaged districts of the southern Punjab and providing high quality evidence based advocacy to influence educational policy, the program was well aligned with OXFAM’s approach to combine “program-based development work with advocacy and campaigning.” Even as OXFAM_NOVIB’s funding phases out, SAHE aims to continue working with selected communities to support education for girls in the area. Over the years, SAHE has sought evidence in the realm of data related to school inputs and student outcomes, budgetary analysis, public sector reform and privatization, teacher professional development, language as well as citizenship education and it continues to broaden its dissemination of advocacy messages and develop strategies that make effective and sustainable reform possible in the education sector.
- To work for improvement in the mainstream education system that continues to affect the overwhelming majority of children in Pakistan.
- To assess the problems in the education system so as to work on and recommend appropriate solutions.
- To review the curriculum and promote texts that are accessible, interesting and supportive of the development of a tolerant and enlightened world-view.
- To share with teachers modern and effective approaches towards teaching and to sensitize them to techniques to which children have been found more receptive.
- To assist with institution building in education & encourage innovation; enhance the pool of trained teachers; promote among administrators better management techniques and a democratic culture so as to broaden the movement for educational reform and provide education to girls in high poverty areas
- To influence education policy through advocacy and campaigning by building coalitions of like-minded individuals and organizations.