Improving access to quality education in northwest Pakistan
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Programme
South Asia & Asia Pacific
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Programme (KESP) is an eight-year project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) designed to help the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa realise the objectives of its Education Sector Plan. KESP is DFID’s second largest bilateral investments in education globally. The programme focuses on increasing the number of girls and boys enrolling in and successfully completing school as well as improving the quality of primary and secondary education.
Within the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, development indicators lag behind the rest of Pakistan. Around half of the total population are illiterate, including some seven million people in the 9-39 age group. Less than 30% of KP women and girls in this age group are literate. Over three million children are not enrolled in basic education; nearly two million of these children are girls. KP 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's Department for International Development (DFID) who fund the programme.
Since 2012, Adam Smith International (ASI) has been providing technical assistance to the KP government in key areas to help them address the educational emergency they are facing. These include work in improving teacher training and induction programmes, 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, and supporting improvements to assessments and textbooks for all children across the province.
We are assisting the government in their drive to provide education services to all students regardless of ethnicity, gender or disability. ASI are providing capacity building support to the Elementary Education Foundation, enabling low cost private and non-formal schools to contribute to the sector plan’s enrolment and literacy targets. The ASI team has supported the education department to establish an Independent Data Collection and Monitoring Unit (IMU) to collect credible data every month from each of the provinces 28,000 schools. This informs decision-making and allows the government to monitor progress against targets effectively. As a result of these combined efforts, key progress is being made in reducing illiteracy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly for women and girls.