Education is the key to development. Since independence, successive governments accorded importance to education and endeavored to improve the low indicators but progress has been slow. In recent years, government’s approach towards planning and delivery of education has been guided by overall reforms of the system. The federal and provincial governments clearly see their role shifting from being sole provider of education services to also acting as facilitator and financier of the private sector including the non-profit providers. The government fully realizes that it cannot achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) alone without the help of other providers of education. the government’s recognition of the role of the private sector and civil society organizations (SCOS) is explicitly expressed through the poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP), education sector reform (ESR) action plan, education policy, and education for all documents, and establishment of education foundations at the national and provincial levels. The corporate sector is emerging as an important player in supporting social development causes, specially education and health. However, the business sector is wary of entering into partnership with government due to the absence of a clearly defined and mutually agreed framework for cooperation and partnership. Public Private Partnerships (3ps) have been expanding over time and have taken various forms. the most common 3ps programmes being delivered by CBOs, NGOs, private sector, education foundations, corporate sector and other providers that are scaling up include: (a) community schools; (b) fellowship schools; (c) adopt-a-school; (d) grant-in-aid to the private sector; (e) school management by NGOs; (f) teachers’ training; and (g) individuals donating in several ways to schools at local levels. It has been estimated that the private sector is contributing 0.7 % of GNP in education. This includes largely the for profit institutions.
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Backdrop and Rationale Of Public Private Partnerships In Education
Present Scenario Of Education Sector In Pakistan
Education is the prime catalyst to national development. Despite high importance attached to education by successive governments reflected through multitude of policy packages, the state of affairs is far from desirable. At the time of independence in 1947, Pakistan inherited only 8000 schools which increased to 1, 70,000 in 2003. Gross enrolment in primary schools increased 40 times (from 0.77 million in 1947 to 20 million in 2003) and literacy rate increased from 16% in 1951 to 51.6% in 2003 but a lot still needs to be done. The federal and provincial governments’ policies, planning and delivery of education has been under constant review and revision according to the changing needs over time, particularly in the last decade. The government fully realizes that public sector alone cannot meet the myriad challenges to provide necessary resources, services and expertise to effectively address educational issues. There has been a clear realization on part of the government of shifting its role from being the sole provider of resources and education delivery to also acting as a facilitator of the private sector and of civil society’s efforts in Pakistan.
Need For Public Private Partnerships
Emergence of Corporate Sector in 3Ps: The government’s recognition of the role of the private sector and civil society organizations (CSOs) has explicitly been expressed through the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), Education Sector Reform (ESR) Action Plan, Education Policy, education for all documents, and establishment of Education Foundations at the Federal and Provincial level. Recent years have witnessed the Education Foundations’ restructuring to enhance their efficiency and impact. Public Private Partnerships (3Ps) have been expanding over time and it has been estimated that the private sector including non-profit organizations contribute about 0.7 per cent of GNP in education. There is an increasing acceptance of the Adopt-a-School Programme (ASP) and recognition of the leading role of civil society organizations such as Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) and Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) in motivating the corporate sector, which is emerging as an important player in supporting public sector institutions through private providers, especially through the ASP modality. There are several other organizations mobilizing the corporate sector to support direct education provision, total school management, professional development of teachers, scholarships etc. The corporate sector on its own initiative is also engaging with public sector such as the partnership between the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and the City/ District Government for monitoring and school improvement.
Structural Forms Of Public Private Partnership
There are various manifestations and forms of 3Ps in the country. The most common 3Ps programmes being delivered by Education Foundations, NGOs, CBOs, the private sector, the corporate sector and other providers. These include:
- Contracted management of public schools by NGOs
- Afternoon institutions System: Up gradation of Institutions through Community Participation Programme (CPP) in Punjab and Public-Private Collaboration (PPC) in NWFP
- Adopt a School / School Improvement Programme (SEF, PCP)
- Community Schools
- Capacity Building of School Management Committees (SMCs) / Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs) / School Councils
- Community Learning /Literacy centers (using school premises and facilities)
- Volunteer teachers or other individuals sharing skills, donating time etc
- Individuals donating funds to provide missing infrastructure and educational material
In 2001, the share of private sector in education in Pakistan was 21%. In 2005, the ratio of public schools in Pakistan was 67% and in Punjab it was 58%. The share of private sector schools in Pakistan is 33% and in Punjab it is 42%. If the pattern continues, the expenditure on education in private sector will exceed the total expenditure in public sector in the next five years.The policy makers are sanguine now that only conscientious, coordinated and concerted efforts of all stakeholders in Public -private Partnership (PPP) could be a viable option. Government alone will not be able to accomplish the gigantic task of attaining the goal of sustainable quality education and meet the targets of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA).
Pakistan like many other developing countries is facing myriad challenges for improving access, equity and quality of education. The country has a population of 160 million people more than 33% mired in abject poverty, living below the poverty line. The overall literacy rate is 55% whereas it is 36% for females. Pakistan has 6.5 million children out of school and 80% of them have never been enrolled in a school. 40% students drop-out before they reach grade IV and 77% of the total enrolled children drop out while climbing the ladder and reaching X grade. Pakistan is at serious risk of not attaining MDG and EFA targets by 2015. The Gender Parity Index (GPI) of Pakistan (0.73) is one of the lowest in the world. Keeping in view one of the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) indicators, there is an urgent need to have a system of affordable quality education, socially acceptable to all stakeholders.
The Punjab Education Foundation
The Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) was established through Punjab Education Foundation Act, 1991, by Punjab Assembly. Under the enactment, PEF advanced loans and grants to private entrepreneurs, for the construction of schools, for the promotion of education from 1991 to 2004. PEF was restructured through an Act by Punjab Assembly in 2004 for promotion of education, specifically encouraging and supporting the efforts of the private sector in providing education to the poor. The major difference of the two enactments in 1991 and 2004 is primarily a paradigm shift in policy formulation and implementation to encourage the private sector and involve all stakeholders for access, equity and quality in education. While PEF Act 1991 empowered the Government through the bureaucratic control over the affairs of the Foundation with Chief Minister of the province as a Chairman of PEF and a senior bureaucrat as its Managing Director, the PEF Act 2004 conferred the entire management and control of the Foundation to the Board of Directors. Under PEF Act 2004, the Board appoints Managing Director/Chief Executive and other employees of the Foundation and determines the terms and conditions of their employment.
Functions Of Punjab Education Foundation
Section 4 of the PEF Act, 2004 assigned the following functions to the restructured Foundation:
1. Provide financial assistance for the establishment, expansion, improvement, and management of educational institutions and allied projects;
2. Provide incentives to students, teachers, and educational institutions;
3. Promote public-private partnerships relating to education;
4. Provide technical assistance to educational institutions for testing policy interventions and innovative programs for replication;
5. Rank private educational institutions based on educational standards;
6. Raise funds through donations, grants, contributions, subscriptions etc.;
7. Assist educational institutions in capacity building, including training of teachers;
8. Undertake any other function as may be assigned to it by the Board with the approval of the Government.
The Rules and Regulations Are Annexed as ‘’A”
Strategy Of Punjab Education Foundation
The Board of Directors formulated the strategy for the PEF and adopted a flexible approach. They decided to provide better quality education through private sector to low income households and provide technical assistance in the form of teacher training and professional development for privately managed schools for less affluent sections of society. It was decided to support schools in less affluent areas and preference for female education. It was decided to introduce instruments for financial assistance on per child enrolled basis and education vouchers for households in slums to enhance enrolment and impart quality education. The strategy looked at selecting institutions with good track record and results to be considered for monetary rewards and financial assistance in terms of quality education and enrolment.
The budgetary support to PEF programs is being provided by the Government of Punjab as an integral part of Annual Development Program (ADP) as one-line budget. The budget profile is given as annexture ‘’B” 1 and 2.
Programs Of Punjab Education Foundation
The following initiatives of PEF are aimed at ensuring access, equity and quality of education, enabling the poorest of the poor and less advantaged sections of society.
1) Foundation Assisted Schools (FAS) Program
2) Continuous Professional Development Program – CPDP
3) Education Voucher Scheme – EVS
4) Teaching in Clusters by Subjects Specialists – TICSS Program
Foundation Assisted Schools (FAS) Program
The Foundation Assisted Schools (FAS) is the flagship program of the PEF to encourage and promote access and improve the quality of education by providing financial assistance at the rate of Rs.350 per child per month to private schools on per child enrolled basis.
FAS Policy Instrument And Selection Criterion
Through FAS intervention, the PEF has demonstrated:
a) That whereas it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that all school going children should get free education, that the state should fund it, it should not necessarily provide the service i.e. there is a need to separate the financing of the service from its provision;
b) That through Public -private Partnerships, better quality education can be provided at a cost significantly less than incurred by the Government of Punjab to educate a child in the public schooling system.
c) That the financial assistance on per child enrolled basis through FAS program is driven by considerations of equity, quality and access to all. Selection criterion is given as annex ‘’C”
FAS Program Statistics
FAS Program was launched as pilot project in 54 schools in 2005 in five districts of Punjab i.e. Chakwal, Khushab, Bahawalpur, Lahore and Sialkot. The districts were representative of all the 36 districts of Punjab in terms of levels of literacy and human development index categorized in Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS, 2004). The schools were selected on the basis of criteria mentioned in annex ‘’C ‘’. In 2006, the scale of pilot was increased to 184 schools, covering 10 districts. In 2007, the Program was evaluated by the Planning and Development Department and was rated as a successful intervention so far as enrolment, retention and quality learning outcomes of the students were concerned. During a presentation to Chief Minster Punjab, it was decided that FAS should concentrate the Southern Punjab districts having the lowest literacy rate and highest concentration of out-of-school children in Punjab i.e. Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur and Lodhran. FAS program focused these seven districts since 2007. More than 90% of the total strength of students in FAS program belong to the seven districts of Punjab. Progression of schools and the number of students (Male and Female) in FAS program from 2005 to 2009 is given as annex ‘’D”
As a result of financial and administrative empowerment and autonomous academic leadership at school level through Public -private Partnership (PPP), the following statistically significant landmarks have been achieved:
- PEF empowered private sector schools in providing quality education to 529210 students in 1337 schools to the less privileged and disenfranchised sections of society in Public -private Partnership. The parents have been relieved from payment of fee with increase in disposable income. The managements of private schools have been relieved from financial hardships. The school management now exclusively concentrates on quality education and are relieved from collection of fee from poor parents, which often they used to delay for months. In case of drop-out of the child, the schools were previously deprived of fee amount, before their partnership with PEF.
- The private sector schools have invested heavily in physical infrastructure to accommodate more students, thus enhancing their revenues because in FAS model, the money follows the child and not the school. In order to enhance quality standards, the private schools hired better and qualified teachers in addition to the existing faculty thus impacting not only the learning outcomes of the students but also the peers and associates in the partner institution. The salaries of teachers before introduction of FAS model were Rs.2500 per month approximately and enhanced to Rs. 6500 in 2008 and are now being enhanced to Rs.8500.
- In Pakistan, more than 40% students are dropped and are out of school by the time they reach grade IV but in FAS partnership model, drop-out rate is zero. In case of absence or truancy of a student, the private school management follows the students due to their pecuniary interests attached with the child because the payment by PEF is made on the basis of surprise physical verification of the students in the classroom by monitoring and evaluation teams and QAT by third parties engaged by PEF.
- Through reward mechanism by PEF and better salary structure the teachers are motivated, resilient and diligent. The schools have complete administrative, managerial and financial empowerment with impeccable academic leadership.
Impact Of FAS Program On The Learning Outcomes Of Students And Capacity Of Schools
The following achievements have been verified over a period of four years (2006-2009) in FAS partner schools:
- During a period of four years (2005-2009), the mean average of students in terms of learning outcomes in FAS partner schools was raised from 63 % to79%. The results of 200 schools in the band of 80%-90% have been analysed. They have qualified Mathematics and Science teachers. The schools falling below the threshold of 40% have another important nexus. None of the teachers of these schools has been imparted pre-service training. The girls performed very well in the QATs and excelled over boys. The high performing schools have a very high concentration of post-graduate teachers. More than 95% of teachers in these educational institutions are either graduates or post-graduates.
- The Continuous Professional Development Program (CPDP) discussed as PEF intervention helped the teachers of the FAS partner schools to enhance their secure understanding of the didactic resource base and improve their pedagogical skills PEF through CPDP trained 86027 teachers of FAS partner schools and non-partner low cost private schools. There is continuous improvement in the percentage of students getting more than 90% marks. In QAT 1 in 2006, 0.96% students secured more than 90% marks whereas in QAT 2 in 2007, the percentage rose to 1.26. In QAT 3 in 2008 it rose to 16.64% and in QAT 4 it jumped to 17.63%. There was a constant decrease in the percentage of students getting less than 40% marks. From 21.55% students getting less than 40% marks in 2006, it gradually decreased to 16.53% in 2007, 4.32% in 2008 and 4.26% in 2009. The students in the cohort of 80% to 90%, 70% to 80%, 60% to 70% and 50% to 60% showed respectable improvement in a period of four years.
FAS Achievements In Public-Private Partnership
PEF is promoting affordable quality education in 1337 schools in the province of Punjab. The numbers of students benefitting from FAS program are 529210. The number of male students is 267107 (50.47%) and female is 262103 (49.52%). Through FAS highest priority has been accorded to female education. Fortunately the drop-out rate is zero since the schools follow the students in case of absence and truancy for the pecuniary reasons since PEF funding follows the student and not the school.
Continuous Professional Development Program – CPDP
It is not possible to raise the standard of education without qualified, satisfied and competent teachers. The development of human didactic resource base is a very time-consuming, slow, gradual and consistent process. To ensure the quality education, there has to be a nice mix of institutional and governance arrangements both in public and private sectors dovetailed with quality mentoring in an enabling teaching-learning environment with objectively verifiable indicators. The quality education is assured primarily because of quality mentoring, quality curriculum, resilient management, conducive, congenial and enabling teaching learning environment, good governance, transparent processes, rigorous and candid monitoring and evaluation, evaluative scrutiny and integration of the lessons learnt into the system for continuous improvement
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The premier academic institutions in Punjab i.e. Punjab University-Institute of Education and Research (IER), Government College University (GCU), Beacon house National University (BNU), FC College University were engaged to impart training to the teachers of private schools. The lead Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the field of professional development and capacity building were selected through an open and transparent competition. The mentors engaged by the NGOs were selected through a special selection board constituted by PEF.
School Leadership Development Program (SLDP)
More than 80% of the participants reported that the school management was not allowing them to apply the new methodologies of teaching based on comprehension. Instead, the schools were interested in rote learning, so that their students score high marks in the examinations conducted by Punjab Examination Commission and the respective Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education in the province of Punjab. It was proposed by the participants of CBT in their feedback that the leadership of the partner schools should be sensitized about the importance of secure understanding of the content knowledge by the student’s instead cramming and rote learning. In this background, it was considered necessary to start a School Leadership Development Program (SLDP) for the Principals and Vice Principals of the FAS partner schools and Non-FAS schools.
SLDP met a huge success since the Principals and Vice-Principals of the educational institutions allowed their teachers to apply and practices learned by them in CBT.
Education Voucher Scheme – EVS
To ensure educational justice and avoid educational apartheid in society, the poorest of the poor and disenfranchised sections of the society must get equal opportunity and access to quality education enabling the future generations to get out of the vicious circle of poverty and deprivation. For the people on the brink of society, education is the only conduit to develop capabilities of the less privileged people in urban and rural slums
Through EVS, education voucher have been delivered to all households in the urban slums for the children in the age cohorts of 5 to 13. The slums were surveyed and it was established that all the households in the locality were living below poverty line, At a pilot stage, 1053 households were given an opportunity with freedom of choice to access the quality school of their choice for their children. The voucher is redeemable against payment of fee in the educational institutions. EVS is meant to ensure the freedom of choice, productive efficiency, equity and social cohesion. The EVS makes the schools accountable to the parents instead of government functionaries of education department. In FAS, the private school entrepreneur has the choice to admit a student or not. In EVS, the choice to select a school remains with the parents because they are carrying the education voucher issued by PEF. The partner schools are subject to periodical review dependent on the results of their students, additional private investment and improvement in working conditions for the teachers. The data of schools and students during the years 2006-2009 is annexed as ‘’G”
Selection Criteria of EVS Partner Schools
EVS provides incentive to parents to send their children to school. The Scheme became a source of competition for private schools of the area. The following selection uniform criterion has been applied across the board:
1. The fee paid by PEF to the partner EVS school will be Rs. 300/= per child per month. The schools charging higher fee can also apply but they will not paid higher than Rs.300/= and will not be entitled to charge from the students. The enrolment should be between 100 and 500. The school should have respectable infrastructure and enabling teaching learning environment. The partner schools should lie within ½ kilometer radius of the selected area/beneficiaries of the vouchers. However, if the parents desire to select a school at a larger distance, PEF will have no objection, provided the school fulfills the selection criteria of PEF.
2. PEF advertises in print media to solicit interest from prospective partner schools and preliminary test of selected subjects is held in short-listed schools. Physical inspection of the school is also carried out.
3. PEF Project offices display list of all partner schools at their office and parents are free to choose a school of their choice.
4. It is mandatory under the EVS policy that a household shall admit both the boys and girls in the age cohort of 5-13 years. In case a household does not admit a girl through a voucher in EVS, the voucher for boys shall not be valid. The conditionality coupled with awareness campaign persuaded the parents to send the boys and girls to school together. The EVS policy instrument significantly reduced the child labour in the area since the boys employed in workshops and hotels and girls employed in the household chores in the neighbourhood joined the EVS schools.
EVS Achievements in Public-Private Partnership
Through EVS, PEF is providing free quality education to 31053 students in 167 schools. 15138 (48.74%) male students and 15915 (51.25%) female students are the beneficiaries of the program. The parity of male and female students was ensured through the policy instrument of EVS. It is mandatory under the EVS policy that a household shall admit both the boys and girls in the age cohort of 5-13 years. In case a household does not admit a girl through a voucher in EVS, the voucher for boys shall not be valid. The conditionality coupled with awareness campaign persuaded the parents to send the boys and girls to school together. The EVS policy instrument significantly reduced the child labour in the area since the boys employed in workshops and hotels and girls employed in the household chores in the neighbourhood joined the EVS schools.
Teaching In Clusters By Subjects Specialists – TICSS Program
The entrepreneurs of the low cost educational institutions in rural and urban areas cannot afford quality mentors because the people of eminence and erudition with professional integrity of performance with higher academic qualifications demand higher salaries, which they cannot afford. It is almost a truism that the quality in education turns on the axle of interaction between the teacher and the student. Without quality instruction in the low cost schools, there is a remote possibility of better learning outcomes of the students. Resultantly the low cost schools in remote rural areas, peri-urban areas and slums could not improve the quality of instruction. PEF launched TICSS program, engaging people of outstanding academic excellence at the market salary, graduating from the best academic institutions in the province and deputed them to the low cost educational institutions in urban and rural areas of the province. The subject specialists engaged under the auspices of TICSS program not only impacted the learning outcomes of the students in terms of concept clarity and secure understanding of the subject knowledge but also impacted the peers and associates, engaged by the low cast schools. The Subject Specialist (SS) with high grade post-graduate degree could be hired within a salary range of Rs 30,000 —35,000 for a low cost school which pays its teachers a meagre average salary of Rs 3500—Rs 6000. TICSS demonstrated that Subject Specialist deputed to the low cost schools played a catalytic role in uplifting the educational standards and bringing innovations in a number of spheres in the school’s academic and social milieu. SS is visiting 2-3 schools in a week and teaching the students in actual class room theatrics. SS impacted the learning outcomes of the students and the mean average of the students increased from 33% to 55% in a period of three years. Subject Specialist influenced the teaching and communication practices of the peers and associates. TICSS model proved to be cost effective, economical and beneficial. Policy matrix is annexed as ‘’F”
The Subject Specialists under auspices of TICSS are an extended arm of the Academic Development Unit (ADU). They teach in the cluster of three schools in core content subject knowledge i.e. Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. They help ADU team to design tests for the assessment and examination of the Foundation assisted schools under FAS and carry out tours to ensure the accuracy of information in terms of enrolment in the FAS Program. They are part of assessment and examination teams constituted by PEF and liaise with the other leading experts engaged in teachers training and professional development in public and private sector and share experiences for the promotion of quality education in private sector. They are also tasked to develop a resource base for pedagogy and core content subject knowledge base for the benefit of teachers of the private educational institutions.
TICSS Achievements In Public-Private Partnership
TICSS program has been widely acclaimed and appreciated by all the stakeholders in education. There is incessant demand from low cost private schools for vertical and horizontal expansion of the program in the larger public interest PEF selected and deputed 180 Subject Specialists, 95 (52.77%) male and 85 females (47.22%) to 24 districts of the province of Punjab. 162000 students benefitted from the expertise of the Subject Specialists in an academic year.
Way Forward For Public-Private Partnership Initiatives Of PEF
The Public-private Partnership programs of PEF have the secure potential to promote quality education at affordable cost to the less-affluent and disenfranchised sections of society at a much lower cost in Public Private Partnership. The consistency and continuity of the systems according to the statutory requirements of PEF Act 2004 is the only viable, workable and sustainable solution. The enactment discourages the bureaucratization and compartmentalization of the programs and envisaged transparency, accountability through institutional and constitutional mechanism. The programs of PEF are replicable, cost effective and competitive. The partnerships work for a win win situation for both public and private sectors, ensuring outreach of the programs, to the far-off rural areas and urban slums, often neglected due to variety of reasons. The programs of PEF have already been replicated in the federal territories by the national government and four provincial governments by slightly changing the methodology to accommodate indigenous and local requirements.
The incessant demand, affordability and social acceptability by the general public, elected representatives, district governments, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, print and electronic media and private educational institutions is hanging heavy on the political leadership of the province. The popularity of the PEF programs in Public-private Partnership and the extreme public pressure of the stakeholders in the form of teachers, students, parents and communities is the sure and secure hope for the continuity of the programs. The government has no option but to continue funding the PEF initiatives. How to win the lost confidence of international donors and agencies remains a myriad challenge for the leadership at PEF.
Overall Outcome Analysis Of The PEF Initiatives
It has been successfully demonstrated that the PEF programs in Public-private Partnership are cost effective, economical and efficient in terms of service delivery mechanism. The synergy of forging Public -private Partnership has started paying dividends, at a socially acceptable and affordable cost. The private educational institutions providing quality education in less privileged urban, suburban and remote rural areas were hard pressed for financial support. During the quality assurance tests, the students of Foundation assisted schools have shown remarkable performance. PEF has introduced performance based financial incentives by awarding cash prizes to the teachers of the best performing schools for their integrity of performance and quality service delivery. The Public-private Partnership programs are promoting affordable quality educati
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