Teaming up for Quality Education
Sindh has been facing variety of challenges with education including access to quality education, governance and monitoring mechanism. In a context where internal mechanisms have weakened and there is a dearth of resources, partnerships between public and private stakeholders are instrumental for pooling resources to improve the state of education. The ‘Education Sector Reform’ document also highlights the role of public private partnerships in the context of increasing access to quality education (Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, 2001). This accentuates the role of government in ensuring that there is an enabling environment for effective partnership in pursuit of education targets.
Promoting Private School in Rural Sindh (PPRS)
Promoting private schools in rural Sindh (PPRS) is an initiative of the Sindh education foundation under the public private partnership component of Sindh education reform program II 2013 -14. The program initially launched under SERP-I in 2008-09 continues as a part of SERP-II, The program has been designed by the SEF in collaboration with the reform support unit and the World Bank.
The program interventions support establishment and management of public funded private schools in the under reserved localities in 18 districts of Sindh that rank poorly along three indicators: the size of the out of school children population 5 to 16 years, distance to the nearest government primary school, capacity of partner in order to run/manage primary/elementary and secondary schools.
The 18 program districts include Larkana, Qamber-Shahdadkot, Dadu, Sanghar, Mithi, Khairpur Mir’s, Shaheed Benazerabad, Badin, Thatta, Sujawal, Umerkot, Malir, Jamshoro, Mirpur-Khas, Ghotki, Kashmore, Jacobabad and Shikarpur. The main purpose of establishing private schools under PPRS program is to improve access to quality schooling on cost effective basis with a particular focus on rural/urban slums areas.
Impact of the Program
SEF believes that public and private partnerships can encourage sustainable reforms at the grassroots to ensure quality of education in addition to provision of access. For quality assurance, SEF undertakes a series of integrated and customized service for its partners which essentially include extensive capacity building of teachers and head teachers, classroom level support, free textbooks of renowned publishers customized to suit the context of rural schools, learning material, in-house developed supplementary worksheets, regular school support visits & monitoring, training of school operators/heads for effective school management and school leadership, assessment of learning outcomes and teachers performance, provision of matching grants in establishment of science, computer labs and audio visual rooms etc.
Regular Bi-annual/Annual Assessments ensure that the program interventions have the desired trickledown effect. Subsidy disbursal is linked directly to school performance to ensure that the quality inputs to schools having desired effects on student learning objectives.
The program targets the most underserved children of Sindh, and mobilizes the local community personnel to support upliftment of their communities through access to quality education. Through the PPRS program, children of the far flung areas with limited or no educational facilities are now getting education in the area.
In the last two years, the Foundation has made some critical design changes in the program by introducing the qualification criteria for the school partners; redefining the distance criteria given the demographic changes which have occurred. Most significantly the contract agreement has been redesigned with a view to facilitate an all-round “student development” by emphasizing various components in the school resources.
- Upgrading primary schooling to elementary level
- Upgrading Elementary schooling to secondary level
- Providing support in the establishment of audio/visual rooms in selected schools
- Providing technical support in the establishment of computer labs
- Providing grant for Science Lab
- PPRS Program has pioneered and initiated formal Early Childhood Education Program (ECEP) in 300 schools across the province.
Support Extended to Schools:
- Providing subsidy of PKR 700/- to primary and PKR 1,000/- to elementary and, PKR 1,200/- for secondary level on per child per month basis
- Providing Oxford University Press (OUP) books to school children
- Organizing capacity building trainings and workshops for teachers and operators
Quality Measures by SEF
- Renewal of Contracts necessitating operators to invest in improving learning environment and enhancing quality
- Annual students’ assessment to gauge students learning outcome
- Teacher-centric assessment for evaluating their pedagogical skills
Regular monitoring of schools by employing best practices of Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E)