Improving access to education in northwest Pakistan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Programme
Providing technical assistance to the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to support the delivery of its Education Sector Plan

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Support Programme is a five-year project designed to help the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa realise the objectives of its Education Sector Plan. This focuses on increasing the number of girls and boys enrolling in and successfully completing school, receiving a quality primary and secondary education.

Based on current indicators, Pakistan is not on track to achieve Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3 for education. Within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, development indicators lag behind the rest of Pakistan. Around half of the total population are illiterate, including some 7 million people in the 9-39 age group. Less than 30% of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa women and girls in this age group are literate. Of the more than three million children not enrolled in basic education, nearly two million are girls. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa plays a crucial role in the context of Pakistan’s peace and stability, due to its borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas, and its poor education and other social indicators. It is therefore a focus province for the UK Department for International Development.

Since 2012, we have been providing technical assistance to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in a number of key areas to help them address the educational emergency they are facing. These include work in strengthening public financial management and procurement systems within the central schools ministry and its district education satellites, enhancing the institutional and human resource capacity of various departments to help them implement the sector plan and support to teachers to improve classroom instruction and student learning outcomes.

We are also undertaking social development work at the district level to strengthen the ability of parent-teacher councils and schools to deliver quality education and improve the ability of students, especially girls, to access schools. We are providing support to the Elementary Education Foundation, enabling low cost private and non-formal schools and literacy centres to contribute to the sector plan’s enrolment and literacy targets and have established an Independent Data Collection and Monitoring Unit (IMU) to help the education department collect credible data to inform its decision-making and to effectively monitor progress against targets. As a result of these combined efforts, key progress is being made in reducing illiteracy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly for women and girls.

Adam Smith International's technical assistance has been a constant source of support to our government, helping us introduce a series of demand-driven, innovative reforms to improve access, equity and quality of education throughout the province.
Muhammad Atif Khan, Minister of Education, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa