Donor Support to Education Lessons Learned from Pakistan [3]

This study examines the trends in donor supported education interventions over the past 5 years, and reviews the influence and effectiveness of such projects. Five main areas were identified for analytical assessment and discussion: educational governance, literacy, primary education, public-private partnership, and teacher education. The study highlights how major foreign donors such as The World Bank, Asian Development Bank, USAID, Department for International Development, European Union, Norwegian Government, and UNICEF all conduct projects that include a component on governance, institution, and capacity building. It shows that despite steps taken by donors to enhance educational governance, it still exists within a devolution framework that is afflicted by its transitional sense, an unfinished agenda, and the re-appropriation of devolved authority by the provisional governments.

The report stresses the need to privilege issues relating to quality reform in education and questions the almost exclusive focus of the government as well as donors on access reform. It shows that very little progress in terms of quality has been made in the sector of basic education in the last decade and a half. The number of donor interventions in different parts of the country has been particularly high over the last five years,and this paper argues that in the absence of major contextual reforms, improvement can only occur at the lowest end of the quality spectrum. Without a reasonable level of improvement in quality, the paper points out that even access reform remains unattainable to a great extent as testified by the continuing high dropout rates. The related argument made in the paper is that it is not possible to ensure significant and sustained quality reform in basic education unless there is a clear recognition of the nexus between basic and higher education. The report recommends that donors as well as government must pay attention to the urgent task of setting up autonomous and credible institutions that provide the necessary quality inputs to the sector as a whole and act as hubs rather than islands.

Abbas Rashid, Eysha Mujahid-Mukhtar, Fareeha Zafar, Rafiq Jaffer, Shaheen Attiq-ur-Rahman and Hassan Keynan
Sponsor(s):UNESCO, USAID