Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pakistani Children Outperform Indian Children on Math and Reading Skills Tests

Recent World Bank report on student learning in South Asia is depressing. Sri Lanka is the sole exception to the overall low levels of achievement for primary and secondary school kids in the region.  The report documents with ample data from various assessments to conclude that "learning outcomes and the average level of skill acquisition in the region are low in both absolute and relative terms". The report covers education from primary through upper secondary schools.

Source: World Bank Report on Education in South Asia 2014

Buried inside the bad news is a glimmer of what could be considered hope for Pakistan's grade 5 and 8 students outperforming their counterparts in India. While 72% of Pakistan's 8th graders can do simple division, the comparable figure for Indian 8th graders is just 57%. Among 5th graders, 63% of Pakistanis and 73% of Indians CAN NOT divide a 3 digit number by a single digit number, according to the World Bank report titled "Student Learning in South Asia: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Priorities".  The performance edge of Pakistani kids  over their Indian counterparts is particularly noticeable in rural areas. The report also shows that Pakistani children do better than Indian children in reading ability.

Source: World Bank Report on Education in South Asia 2014

Here are some excepts from the World Bank report:

Unfortunately, although more children are in school, the region still has a major learning challenge in that the children are not acquiring basic skills. For example, only 50 percent of grade 3 students in Punjab, Pakistan, have a complete grasp of grade 1 mathematics (Andrabi et al. 2007). In India, on a test of reading comprehension administered to grade 5 students across the country, only 46 percent were able to correctly identify the cause of an event, and only a third of the students could compute the difference between two decimal numbers (NCERT 2011). Another recent study found that about 43 percent of grade 8 students could not solve a simple division problem. Even recognition of two-digit numbers, supposed to be taught in grade 2, is often not achieved until grade 4 or 5 (Pratham 2011). In Bangladesh, only 25 percent of fifth-grade students have mastered Bangla and 33 percent have mastered the mathematics competencies specified in the national curriculum (World Bank 2013). In the current environment, there is little evidence that learning outcomes will improve by simply increasing school inputs in a business-as-usual manner (Muralidharan and Zieleniak 2012).

Source: The Hindu

In rural Pakistan, the Annual State of Education Report (ASER) 2011 assessment suggests, arithmetic competency is very low in absolute terms. For instance, only 37 percent of grade 5 students can divide three-digit numbers by a single-digit number (and only 27 percent in India); and 28 percent of grade 8 students cannot perform simple division. Unlike in rural India, however, in rural Pakistan recognition of two-digit numbers is widespread by grade 3 (SAFED 2012). The Learning and Educational Achievement in Punjab Schools (LEAPS) survey—a 2003 assessment of 12,000 children in grade 3 in the province—also found that children were performing significantly below curricular standards (Andrabi et al. 2007). Most could not answer simple math questions, and many children finished grade 3 unable to perform mathematical operations covered in the grade 1 curriculum. A 2009 assessment of 40,000 grade 4 students in the province of Sindh similarly found that while 74 percent of students could add two numbers, only 49 percent could subtract two numbers (PEACE 2010).

Source: World Bank Report on Education in South Asia 2014

The report relies upon numerous sources of data, among them key government data (such as Bangladesh’s Directorate of Primary Education; India’s National Sample Survey, District Information System of Education, and National Council of Education Research and Training Assessment; and Pakistan’s National Education Assessment System); data from nongovernmental entities (such as Pakistan’s Annual Status of Education Report, India’s Student Learning Study, and its Annual Status of Education Report); international agencies (such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] Programme for International Student Assessment [PISA] 2009+ for India; the World Bank Secondary Education Quality and Access Enhancement Project in Bangladesh); and qualitative studies undertaken for the report (such as examining decentralization reforms in Sri Lanka and Pakistan). The study also uses the World Bank Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER) framework to examine issues related to ECD, education finance, assessment systems, and teacher policies.

I hope that this report serves as a wake-up call for political leaders and policymakers in Pakistan to redouble their efforts with significant additional resource allocations for nutrition, education and healthcare.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Who's Better for Pakistan Human Development?

History of Literacy in Pakistan

Myths and Facts About Out-of-School Children in Pakistan

PISA, TIMSS Results Confirm Low Quality of Indian Education

India Shining, Bharat Drowning

Learning Levels and Gaps in Pakistan by Jishnu Das and Priyanka Pandey

Pasi Sahlberg on why Finland leads the world in education

CNN's Fixing Education in America-Fareed Zakaria

PISA's Scores 2011

Poor Quality of Education in South Asia

Infections Cause Low IQs in South Asia, Africa?

Peepli Live Destroys Western Myths About India

PISA 2009Plus Results Report


Gina Desai said...

I am not sure what you are trying to convey by your post. I hope you are not trying to say Indians are not as intelligent. That would be ill advised and Hitleresque.

I am 50 and I still have trouble with maths and around 5th STD I was already thinking about the ARTS track. Our school provided three tracks, Science, Commerce and Arts beginning the 6th grade.

I work for a major news magazine which has world-wide circulation both in print and on-line.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "I hope that this report serves as a wake-up call for political leaders and policymakers in Pakistan to redouble their efforts..."

Nope. Won't happen.

You just made the age-old mistake of saying that we are doing better than India. Whenever that happens, our elite in Islamabad just rest on their laurels and will make no extra effort.

You see, our government always tracks India. If the Indians are doing better than we are in some area, only then GOP will redouble their efforts to 'catch up' in that area.

On the other hand, if we are doing better than India in some area, then GOP people will just congratulate each other and not make any major additional effort in that area.

Unfortunately, we never compare ourselves to Korea or Singapore. We always use India as our yardstick and so we aim very low. Since we aim low, we achieve low. This is the tragedy of our intellectual and emotional connection to the mess that is Soviet-inspired India.

Anonymous said...

This is the problem. Scientific thinking is not about maths as a subject, but as a concept. While i agree that indians need to improve their math skills, i think division and simple arithmetic is a poor indicator. You have calculators and computers to replace human intelligence to be wasted on such mundane things. I think Pakistan would do well to teach children to use concepts like application of maths into science and vice versa. To start with the concepts of Zero and Infinity are likely to provide good foundation. Human kind can excel only by innovation. As an Indian i would love to see pakistani children being awarded the noble prize. Children are our future and we have to teach them to compete with themselves rather than others.

The only people who dont believe this are the politicians who are interested only in their gains. They deprieve the children of scientific thinking for political gains.

I only hope voices like yours make people understand that there is hope until you give up.

CanadianBoy said...

So Buddist Majority Srilank is ahead of Muslim Majority Pakistan and Hindu Majority India in most indicators,even more impressive since they had been in civil war with Indian-supported Tamil-Hindu terrorist for decades.My hats off to Srilanka, smart and determined people.

pacman said...

Anonymous said>> Scientific thinking is not about maths as a subject, but as a concept

That's what maths is, describing knowledge in numbers/ numerical / empirical form.
If your hindu ego was not enormous, you would have made the connection and be better at maths ;).

Khalid K. said...

Riaz Bhai:
Thanks for making me feel good.
God Bless You. Ameen

Anonymous said...

@pacman: but isnt that what i said. I am sorry if i have sounded egoistic or if have seemed to impose hinduism as superior to any faith. I intended neither. I found this subject addressed some really core issues about education and that is why posted my views.

My main worry is that children like my daughter who is in class 2 is thought to do things that calculators can do. They are made into human calculators. Can Humanity progress by using intelligence on mundane arithmetic problems.

To put it in a different way, maths can only help you if you know how to express a problem mathematically. once you do this, it is a mechanical process to solve it.The the intelligence comes in only in interpreting those numbers as a solution to the problem.

Maths students are taughtto solve Differentiation, integration, matrix problems and not where and how it is applied even in class 10.

i dont like to differentiate between children on the basis of nationality or religion. Education is a humanitarian cause. A Nicola Tesla, benefitted the whole world, and that is why i believe that children should compete with themselves and not with others

That may be a reason why Thomas Edison was a 5th class dropout!!:)

Anonymous said...

@pacman: Manjul Bhargava had the following to say.

How important, in your opinion, is mathematics in Indian culture?

Mathematics and mathematical thinking have been an important aspect of Indian culture for a long time. From ancient philosophical verses like "Poornasya poornamaadaaya poornamevaavashishyate" (Infinity minus infinity can still be infinity) that reflect mathematical thinking, to the inherently mathematical structure of the alphabets and phonetics of Indian languages, to the discovery of zero and negative numbers, combinatorics, trigonometry, calculus, and more - so much mathematics has been discovered for ages in a way that is deeply intertwined in Indian culture.

Anonymous said...

There is not need to compare to India to prove that pakistan is better. Being an Indian, don't know to what end it serves.
There is no doubt that there are lot of areas in which India is lagging and has to improve. However it will be better for pakistan to look inward if it really wants to improve.

I also noticed that people who get very patriotic have migrated to a developed country and have decided to live their from now onwards. Patriotism means also living in their own country thick and thin and being part of the solution.

Riaz Haq said...

It was a historic day for Pakistan scrabble contingent taking part in the 6th Sri Lanka Interna­tional Scrabble Champion­ship when its youngest member, nine-year old Hasham Hadi Khan, created a new world record by scoring an eye-popping 878 points against Matheesha De Silva of Sri Lanka.

According to the Guinness Book of world records the highest score ever recorded in a scrabble match was made by Toh Wei Bin of Singapore who scored 850 against Rick Kennedy of Scotland in 2012. No score of 800 plus has been witnessed in an international tournament.

Hasham’s scores included a triple-triple play for his word “Gruntles” and inclu­ded three more bingos in “Sheriat, Retsina and Headers.”

Poor Matheesha was reduced to a mere spectator as Hasham threw a flurry of bingos while cleverly challenging off all invalid words that Matheesha tried in a desperate attempt the reduce the deficit.

Around 80 of the world’s best players were witness of the spectacular show of vocabulary and tactical skills by a nine-year-old who is hailed as the next big sensation in scrabble.

Reigning world champ Nigel Richards personally congratulated Hasham on his record while modestly mentioning that he himself has never gone past a score of 700 in a major event.

Hasham playing his first ever international tournament will represent Pakistan at the World Youth Scrabble Championship which starts Aug 29.

Meanwhile, day two of the 6th Sri Lanka International Scrabble Championship was dominated by a New Zea­lander but it wasn’t the world champion Nigel Rich­ards but his compatriot Howard Warner, who is on top with 15 wins and a spread of 1,223.

India’s number one player Sherwin Rodrigues is curre­ntly second with 14 wins and a spread of 1,261.

Riaz Haq said...

Aggregate indices like UNDP's Human Development Index (HDI) or the Center for Global Development (CGD) and Foreign Policy (FP)'s Commitment to Development Index (CDI) are becoming commonplace. This reflects the usefulness of simple numerical measures of performance for advocacy, for analysis, and for straightforward,
non-technical comparisons. At the same time, these indices are open to many criticisms ranging from concerns with the underlying data to questions regarding the weights used to construct the aggregate indices from their constituent components. This paper addresses two concerns linked to the weights used to construct these two indices and develops alternative weighting schemes.

Both the HDI and the CDI apply a very simple weighting scheme: equal weights for each component. This is obviously convenient but also universally considered to be wrong. The ideal approach would presumably involve using as eights the impact of each component on the ultimate objective. For the HDI, this means that each of the
components should receive weights according to its contribution to human development, and for the CDI, it means that each of the components should receive weights according to its contribution to the development of developing countries. This is theoretically
correct but obviously infeasible given the present state of knowledge. The first question
addressed in this paper, therefore, is whether there is an intermediate solution. In this
context, intermediate means a solution that lies somewhere between equal weights and
the ideal; and somewhere between convenient and infeasible.

Riaz Haq said...

India's lost generation: A systemic risk?

Singaporean Thomas Ong, a director at a local private equity firm, recently got invited as a guest lecturer at a private college in Jaipur, India. "I had heard stories about India's young people with 'excellent academic and English speaking skills' but what I encountered was the complete opposite," he said.

Not one student in a class of 100 has ever heard of Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Most students could not understand, let alone speak fluent English. "The only question they had at the end the lecture was how to find a job at home or abroad," Ong said.

His account is anecdotal evidence of what human resource experts, corporate leaders and countless surveys have been highlighting over the past few years - that despite India's huge talent pool of graduates, few are equipped with skills to be gainfully employed.

According to a survey conducted by Aspiring Minds, an entrepreneurial initiative in preparing youth for employability, as many as 83 percent of graduating engineers in 2013 could not find jobs, given their poor English language and cognitive skills.

In fact, only 2.6 percent of graduates in India were recruited in functional roles like accounting, 15.9 percent in sales-related roles and 21.3 percent in the business process outsourcing sector. "Nearly 47 percent of Indian graduates are unemployable in any sector, irrespective of their academic degrees," noted Varun Aggarwal, co-founder and COO of Aspiring Minds.

The statistics run counter to the perception that India's relatively youthful population could help reap demographic dividends for the country down the line.
For India however, the reality on the ground couldn't be more different. "It is not unusual to see graduates employed as security guards, driver or waiters in restaurants, given the poor standards of education. So what demographic dividend are we talking of? The generation coming of age in the 1920s faces the greatest underemployment ever in history," said Anil Sachdev, a human resources specialist and career coach.

The fault appears to lie in the dismal education standards in India. As little as 10- 12 percent of the 15-29 year-old age group in India receives any formal or informal training compared with to 28 percent in Mexico or 96 percent in South Korea.

For tertiary education, none of the 42 central universities in India feature in the most recent QS list of best 200 colleges in the world. In the rankings of the best MBA schools by the Financial Times, the prestigious Indian School of Business has fallen six places to the 36th spot this year and Indian names are conspicuously missing in the top 25 places.

Analysts say a lack of occupational focus in the degrees offered by local universities could be partly to blame. Some 82 percent of the enrolment is in arts, sciences and commerce programs rather than specific skill-based courses. Even among the engineering and management colleges, less than 25 percent can apply theoretical knowledge to functional areas, given the emphasis on rote learning and theory in the education system, says Aggarwal. The situation progressively deteriorates moving into the tier 2-3 towns from the metros.

"Excessive government regulation, outmoded curricula and a drop in the standards of teaching have led to a deterioration in the standards of education so much so that India's demographic dividend may well turn out to be a demographic disaster," said Pramath Sinha, co-founder of the new-age Ashoka University and ex-dean of Indian School of Business, the country's first public private initiative to bridge jobs and employability gap.

Riaz Haq said...

Why Indian education sucks:
10. Changes way too often.
changes way to often
The school system of SSC board has changed so very often. Starting with total suspension of exams till 8th grade, moving to grading system from marking system, changing the mid-term exams from twice a year to eight times a year, introducing orals and internals in the boards, the changes are frequent and unpredictable. ...

9. Just eat it and puke.
just eat and puke
The entire Indian educated student will agree that the ‘learning’ is different from its definition. When we were told to learn it does not understand the content it is mugging it, memorizing it and writing it down verbatim. The prowess of the learned content is fearsome for the poems and stories of past are still embedded in our minds forever. The horror of forgetting one word in the answer, the danger of deviating from the answers was life-threatening. ...
8. no practical experiences
The actual implementation of techniques learned right from school through grad school is practically absent. The techniques we learn are bookish knowledge. The charts we make as projects have little or no significant relation with the education process. The Grad school experience of engineering starts with diagrammatic representation of gramophone and ends with advanced technical drawings. We are too rigid to enter into the real world. And the substantial time we waste into the drawings is something we need to divert into practicality. Life will be easier then.
7. Pit us against each other.
pit us against each other
From an early age, we are taught that there is only one and one winner alone. We fight for that top slot in class, the trophy, the race, the position of the leader, best sportsman and everything. We befriend people based on the ranks and grades. This instinct continues into our college days, our bachelor’s degree and further into our lives. Sportsmanship is not a strong suit taught in the education institutes for we are only taught to run the race to bet others not to win.
6. No unity in this diversity.
No unity in diversity

The Indian scenario plays an important role in our education culture. Few districts and states are notoriously famous for their tolerance of the cheating, proxies and free degrees. The system is degraded and this leads too many feeling cheated of fair competition. The paper checking method is laughable. The environments of private schools and colleges are closed to government watches giving them excess liberty. We learn politics right from school just by experience, ignorance protects us.
4. Sports are absent.
sports are absent
Apart from few schools where sports actually mean something, majority of schools uses the P.E lecture to conduct few games. The seriousness of this slot in school timetable is negligible....
3. Technology deficient.
technology deficient
We are taught the computer in 3rd grade around. We learn basic languages which are practically off the market. The syllabus of computers was something we barely made through. The course included techniques so old that it is practically obsolete in this day and time. The comparison with western country will put us to shame. The kids there are in sync with technology from age of 3. We need to step up our games. We still write every single word and submit the papers . At-least the Grad and PG level demands the use of computers and laptops in the everyday classes. We need to start refusing papers and start going digital.The world is going digital and we are being left behind. Indian Education system needs to incorporate these changes in its system and fast!
2. English Please.
English please
Studies show that even the engineers can’t spell out properly. They are weak in Basic English and this is after clearing four year grad school in the same language.

1. Just study

How many of us have given up on arts and crafts and dance and sports due to education and board exams.

the rationalist said...

After reading this article, it seems to me india is far ahead of pakistan in the field of education. But I don't expect the author to understand why.

Riaz Haq said...

Cheating in school tests is an old Indian problem.

But the malpractice literally scaled new heights this week in the eastern state of Bihar when relatives of 10th-grade students climbed the wall of a school building and perched precariously from windows of classrooms as they handed cheat sheets to children writing the tests inside.

Photographs and videos showing parents, friends and others scaling the school wall — Spiderman-style — went viral in India on Thursday. Police officers standing nearby watched helplessly.

Cheating is common in schools in remote rural areas in India, where jobs and seats in college courses are few but competition is fierce. But the sight of parents risking their life and limbs to climb the walls shocked many Indians.

Under Bihar’s anti-cheating law, dozens of 12th-grade students were expelled and their parents detained last month in cases of cheating in tests.

Many students in India drop out of school because they fail to pass the tough standardized tests in their 10th and 12th grades.

Education experts say that cheating is just a symptom of the deeper problems that plague India's education system, such as teacher absenteeism, emphasis on rote learning and inadequate school infrastructure.

A recent study by the Pratham Education Foundation showed that only 48 percent of fifth-grade students could read a second-grade textbook.

“According to the reports we received, there have been complaints about cheating in many places, especially in rural areas,” P.K. Sahi, education minister of Bihar, told reporters on Thursday. “Is this just the responsibility of the government? Is it possible for the government to conduct fair tests without public support? You tell us what can the government do to stop cheating if parents and relatives are not ready to cooperate?”

Authorities expelled nearly 500 students from the tests, according to local media reports.

#India parents climbed a school wall to help their kids cheat on an exam

Riaz Haq said...

Finally, #India will produce fewer lousy, incapable engineers every year via @qzindia

India’s epidemic of lousy engineering colleges, which churned out millions of substandard engineers, may finally be ending.
The country’s technical education regulator, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), is planning to reduce over 600,000 engineering seats in colleges across India.
“We would like to bring it (engineering seats) down to between 10 lakh and 11 lakh (one million and 1.1 million) from a little over 16.7 lakh now,” Anil Sahasrabudhe, chairman of the AICTE, told the Mint newspaper.
The dismal quality of education at many of the country’s existing engineering colleges is one of the main reasons behind AICTE’s decision. The regulatory body plans to close down certain colleges and reduce the number seats in some others over the next few years.

“It is the colleges that are coming forward for closure. We are facilitating closure if the colleges are not able to manage with hardly 20-30% seats filled because these colleges become non-viable,” Sahasrabudhe told Quartz in an email.
This year alone, about 556 engineering courses or departments across colleges in India have closed down, according to AICTE.
The rise and fall of engineering

Engineering has been one of the most sought after professions in Asia’s third largest economy, where more than a million engineers graduate every year. India saw a boom in technical education after it opened up its economy in 1991, which allowed the IT sector to thrive.
The mid-1990s saw a huge spike in the number of engineering graduates, as the demand for them increased in sectors ranging from IT to infrastructure.

The phenomenal rise in engineering degrees also lead to a boom in the technical education sector with private colleges mushrooming all across the country. In the 2015 financial year, India had 3,389 graduate engineering colleges (pdf).
But the quality of engineering graduates in India is woeful. In fact, in 2011, Nasscom, the trade association of IT and business processing units, had estimated that only 25% of India’s IT engineering graduates were actually employable.
The result is that many graduates can’t find employment after earning their degrees. Last year, a study by Aspiring Minds (pdf), a firm that rates and evaluates employment, said that only 18.43% of the total engineers who graduate every year are employable in the IT sector. Only 7.49% are employable in core engineering jobs like mechanical, electronics and civil engineering.
Leading companies in technology and other sectors prefer to hire students only from a handful of engineering schools such as the the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and some private institutions.

Riaz Haq said...

#Vietnam's high PISA scores cause a stir. #Vietnames kids rank near top; #India kids at bottom on PISA tests …

Vietnam's performance in the latest round of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) has created a stir among education experts and policymakers around the world. The country's 15-year...

When compared to student performance in India, a country with similar per capita GDP, 47% of grade 5 pupils were unable to subtract even two-digit numbers.

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Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan School Enrollment Rising But #Education Quality Remains Unacceptable: ASER 2015 Report via @ePakistanToday

In 2015, 20 per cent of children were reported to be out-of-school. That number has decreased as compared to previous year, which had over 21 per cent children out-of-school.

Only 49 per cent of boys in grade five were able to do grade two level subtraction as compared to 41 per cent of girls in grade five.
2015 saw a six per cent rise in the number of children enrolled in public schools, as compared to 2014

Some 76 per cent children between the ages of six and 16 were enrolled in public schools in 2015, while last year the number was 70 per cent.

According to the report, student competencies in learning English, arithmetic, and language have also improved.

The ASER Survey also has identified that boys are outperforming girls in literacy and numeric skills in rural Pakistan. As many as 49 per cent of boys were able to read at least a few sentences in Urdu/Sindhi/Pashto as compared to 42 per cent of the girls.

For Arithmetic, 49 per cent of Class-V boys were able to do second grade level subtraction as compared to only 41 per cent Class V girls.

In addition to the assessment of children, the report also highlights school functioning across every district in Pakistan. The ASER rural survey informs that overall teachers’ attendance in government schools stood at 89 per cent as compared to 91 per cent in private schools on the day of the survey.

The reverse is the case for MA/MSC or postgraduate qualifications, whereby larger percentage of public sector teachers has a higher qualification than private sector counterparts.

The trends in multi-grade teaching across schools are also mixed. ASER 2015 National rural findings have found 49 per cent of government and 29 per cent of private schools are imparting multi-grade teaching at the second grade level. On the contrary, at the eighth grade level, multi-grade teaching is more prevalent in the private sector at 24 per cent as compared to 16 per cent in government schools.

Despite of the fact that only two per cent private primary schools receive funds from the government (as compared to 29 per cent public primary schools), the private sector has been reported to be better at school facilities.

For example, 65 per cent of private primary schools have boundary-walls as compared to 63 per cent government primary schools. Similarly, about the availability of functional toilets, it has been found that the facility was still not available in 48 per cent public and 22 per cent private primary schools in rural Pakistan.

ASER has undoubtedly played a unique role in informing the public, inspiring a national discourse and initiate demand for policy and action leading to a transformation from the bottom-up.

Riaz Haq said...

#India's population explosion will make or break its economy. Not enough jobs and huge skills gap #BJP via @CNNMoney

unless India makes big improvements in how it educates and trains students, this demographic boom could instead saddle the country with another generation of unskilled workers destined to languish in low-paying jobs.
The need to train workers up -- and quickly -- is paramount. Currently only 2% of India's workers have received formal skills training, according to Ernst & Young. That compares with 68% in the U.K., 75% in Germany and 96% in South Korea.
It's a problem spread across industries. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors estimates that in 2010, India needed nearly 4 million civil engineers, but only 509,000 professionals had the right skills for the jobs. By 2020, India will have only 778,000 civil engineers for 4.6 million slots.
There is a similar gap among architects. India will have only 17% of the 427,000 professionals it needs in 2020.

The problem? The RICS found that India's education and professional development system has not kept pace with economic growth and is in "dire need for reform."
In industry after industry, the same story is repeated. A recent survey by Aspiring Minds, which tracks workforce preparedness, found that more than 80% of India's engineering graduates in 2015 were "unemployable."
"The quality of training offered in most colleges is not at par with the high demands generated by tech industries," said Preet Rustagi, a labor economist at the Institute for Human Development. "There is no regulatory body that keep checks on the quality of education."

Critics say India's universities are too focused on rote memorization, leaving students without the critical thinking skills required to solve problems. Teachers are paid low salaries, leading to poor quality of instruction. When students are denied entry to prestigious state schools, they often turn to less rigorous private colleges.
"When IT industries boomed in India a few years ago, many below-the-mark private colleges emerged to cater to their needs," said Alakh N. Sharma, director at the Institute for Human Development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is racing to provide workers with training. His government is recruiting skills instructors, and turning old schools into learning centers. Programs strewn across various government agencies are being consolidated. Companies in the private sector are pitching in to help provide training.
The most pressing need, however, might be in primary education. Pupils in India are expected to perform two-digit subtraction by the age of seven, but only 50% are able to correctly count up to 100. Only 30% of the same students are able to read a text designed for five-year-olds, according to education foundation Pathram.
If the country's unique demographics are to pay dividends, improvement is a lesson to be learned quickly.

Riaz Haq said...

#India-Occupied #Kashmir behind Azad Kashmi in education ranking. … via @sharethis

Jammu and Kashmir has figured among worst performing states in elementary education in India while ‘Azad Kashmir’ across the Line of Control in Pakistan is leading in the same, two separate surveys have revealed.
According to a latest round of the National Performance Survey conducted by the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT), the percentage of students “able to listen, recognize words and read with comprehension in Jammu and Kashmir is lower than the national average.”

Against the national average score of 257 (on a scale of 0 to 500), the students in J&K scored just 232 in language subject. Similarly for mathematics, J&K scored 240 as against the national average of 252.
In language, the state is third worst performing state, triumphing only over Bihar and Chhattisgarh. Here, the students were able to answer just 56 percent of language questions correctly as against the national average of 64 percent. The top position went to Daman and Diu with a score of 74 percentile.
In the sub-category of Listening under Language, the state is at the bottom of all states as only 49 percent of Class III students were able to listen to a passage with understanding. Furthermore the average score of boys is lower than the girls in the state.

In Mathematics, J&K is tied up with Rajasthan as fourth worst performing state. In both the states, the students were able to answer just 61 percent of mathematics questions correctly. In all the abilities like addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, place value and shapes category, the state score was lower than the national average. The girls scored slightly better than the boys in the state.


Under the Provincial and National Education Scores (Primary School), AJK has jumped to second position just behind the top ranked Islamabad. AJK has a score of 76.67 as against the Pakistani average of 70.33. All AJK districts have a high education score between 70 and 79.
Gilgit Baltistan (GB) comes fourth just after Punjab with a score of 73.78. The rankings in primary school sector are a lead by Punjab, AJK and GB. The middle school rankings, however, are completely dominated by AJK, which has six districts in the top 10.
“Bhimber (AJK) replaces Skardu as top district from last year. Overall, districts from AJK occupy four of the top five ranks,” the report says.
“Throughout the period we have been calculating the Alif Ailaan district education rankings, AJK has continued to perform well on the education score for primary schooling. This is the same in 2015,” the report said in its observation. The report also paints positive image for GB. “Despite poor performance on the school infrastructure score, GB districts continue to score well on the education rankings. GB is the only region in the country where none of the districts score lower than 50 on the learning score,” the report says.
Surprisingly the good performance comes despite the fact that educational infrastructure in AJK and GB is one of the worst in entire Pakistan.
AJK is at the bottom of the infrastructure ranking among all provinces. Less than 50 percent of 50% of schools in AJK can provide functional toilets, water or electricity.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's 2nd, 4th & 5th grade girls much more #literate than #India's. #Nepal's girls do best in #literacy tests …

Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have stolen a march over India in quality of school education.

Data from new research on female literacy show that India’s school education system is under-performing in terms of quality when compared to its neighbours, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. The research studies changes in female literacy over a number of schooling years.

The proportion of women who completed five years of primary schooling in India and were literate was 48 per cent, much less than 92 percent in Nepal, 74 per cent in Pakistan and 54 per cent in Bangladesh.

These findings, which are part of a forthcoming background paper, were released in a blog-post by New York-based International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (or Education Commission) last week. Justin Sandefur, one of the authors of the paper, said, “This is a simple but powerful signal that India’s education system is under-performing.”

The data also revealed that, female literacy rates went up by one to 15 per cent after completing two years of schooling. Corresponding numbers for Pakistan and Nepal were three to 31 per cent and 11 to 47 per cent respectively. “This implies that schooling is roughly twice as productive at generating literacy for women during the early grades in Pakistan when compared to India. Or, it could also mean that Indian schools are much more lenient about promoting students who cannot read,” Mr. Sandefur said.

DHS data

For this research, the authors devised a way to measure the quality of education around the world, with a specific focus on girls, using data from nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) — one of the most comparable data sources on living standards in the developing world. “We used data from all countries with DHS data that included the literacy measure,” Mr. Sandefur said. Around the world, female literacy rates are improving. However, it is not clear if that is because of improvement in school quality, the study says. India ranks low in global indices of female literacy as well. If countries are ranked by the earliest grade at which at least half of the women are literate — a proxy for quality of learning — India ranks 38th among the 51 developing countries for which comparable data is available. Indonesia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania — all rank higher than India. Ghana is placed at the bottom. According to this study, just seven per cent of female students in Ghana can read after attaining their sixth grade.

Over the years, most countries studied made improvements in the number of girls finishing primary school, which should lead to more literate women. But for girls who don’t finish primary school, the trend is not encouraging: researchers found that little to no progress has been made in increasing basic literacy for the girls who drop out. The report notes, “Millions of women have spent multiple years in school and emerged unable to read a simple sentence” and “it’s not getting much better over time.”

Riaz Haq said...

US Charter School Model Goes Global In Pakistan
Several education nonprofits have started to adopt public schools in Pakistan, introducing new books, hiring new teachers and upgrading facilities.

Three years ago, Bushra Nasim left her public school in Karachi and switched to a private school with low tuition.
She didn’t like how teachers treated her and classmates.
“There was a physical and verbal abuse and now it doesn’t happen here anymore,” she said through a translator.
That’s because new managers run her campus, called the Pakistani Railway School.
A nonprofit known as The Citizens Foundation, or TCF, took it over from the government last year. Now dozens of students are coming back, like Bushra. She’s ready for eighth grade, dressed in her sky-blue uniform with a cream shawl across her shoulders.
Bushra said that she was excited to return because of new course books and polite teachers. Her father was so excited about the new management from TCF that he also enrolled three of her six siblings.

This is part of a larger experiment in Pakistan to reform education. Several nonprofits like The Citizens Foundation, Developments in Literacy and CARE have adopted hundreds of public schools in all.
Some of the nonprofits also operate their own schools and collect donations around the world – including more than $1 million a year from Houston.
But with the government schools, they take over management and often replace or retrain teachers. Some have long waiting lists or lotteries to win a seat.
If this sounds like charter schools in the United States — where independent management groups operate public schools — it’s because it’s fairly similar. One difference is that U.S. charters are free. The Pakistani groups can charge a nominal tuition, such as a couple of dollars or less per month.
“They have more experience,” said Fazlullah Pechucho, the Education Secretary in the Sindh province. He said he’s eager to partner.
“A lot of elements are being executed with the EMOS, education management organizers, who are the private partners,” he said.
Groups like TCF are also excited because they see a faster route to improve both the quality and access to education in Pakistan, a country with a booming population and a dismal public education system. TCF’s strategic director said that adopting a public school and revamping the building saves them time and money, instead of building a new brick-and-mortar campus from scratch.


That’s why there’s another strategy at play at the Fatimah Jinnah Government School in Karachi. Here seventh grade girls compete in dodge ball in the courtyard.
The Zindagi Trust adopted the girls-only school nine years ago. It offers chess, soccer, a library and art classes. The trust has invested almost 100 million Pakistani rupees in the school, including upgrades to the campus so drinking water didn’t mix with sewage lines.
The trust’s director Shehzad Roy calls it a success for other reasons.
“The most important thing why we’re turning around government schools is (to) change the system,” he said.
Roy is a Pakistani pop singer turned activist. He said that the campus acts as a model to change education laws. So far, he counts half a dozen reforms. They include a ban on corporal punishment and allowing non-government textbooks in the classroom.
“And as an institution yes, the school is doing really well. But more importantly, are we impacting the system or not,” Roy said.

Riaz Haq said...

A number of programs have explored using vouchers or other government subsidies to enable more children to attend private schools.

There is good evidence that these interventions are effective. For instance, a recent randomized trial in India found that children provided with vouchers made greater progress in literacy and math than other children. A similar evaluation of a randomized voucher program in Sindh, Pakistan, found that enrolment rates in villages targeted by the program increased by 30%, along with increases in learning, gender equity, and school facilities.

More importantly, vouchers can be taken to scale. With 1.4 million children, the Punjab Education Foundation already funds the education of more children than the world’s 30 smallest countries combined (and more children than Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Mongolia and New Zealand). As is the case with most low-cost private schools, it does so at a lower cost per student than the government system. In Chile, vouchers fund more than 50% of children in school. Hong Kong, one of the world’s best performing (and most equitable) school systems, effectively uses a voucher style model to fund around 90% of children to attend privately owned schools (like the Punjab Education Foundation, parents in generally cannot top-up the value of the voucher). Voucher models have also been taken to scale in India, the Philippines and Uganda.

Vouchers therefore appear to be an intervention which:

Raises learning levels
Reduces the cost of schooling
Is scalable to reach large numbers of children
Despite that, vouchers have some serious limitations, which, at a minimum, mean that they need to be implemented carefully to have impact.

First, while learning levels in low-cost private schools are generally higher than those in government schools, they are not that much higher. Many voucher systems in the developing world (and low-cost private schools more broadly) still leave large numbers of children not learning. With good training, assessment and other interventions, this learning challenge can be addressed. This means that a voucher system has to be one part of a broader reform agenda, not a substitute for it.

Second, there is a risk of duplication of resources. In many cases, the government ends up funding competing schools, or continuing to fund empty government schools while at the same time paying for a private school next door. Proponents argue that this is a better situation than children being in government schools and not learning. Nonetheless, it raises serious questions about resources in otherwise resource constrained systems. The best voucher systems attempt to target the most vulnerable or underserved areas, but this is difficult to affect in practice.

Third, vouchers, and market-based schooling models in general, have a tendency towards inequality. In Chile, vouchers have benefited students from better-off families more than those from less-well-off families. Good design of the vouchers can ensure that they benefit those who need them most, but this is not guaranteed from the outset.

Fourth, as long as public schools are the dominant provider, a voucher program may prove a distraction from the main task of improving the public school system. Many opponents of vouchers argue that political and financial capital would be better deployed improving the public school system. The best reforms combine both approaches, though were financial and political capital are limited, this can be difficult.

Finally, as voucher systems scale, they begin to become subject to the same political economy challenges which are often the source of problems in the public school system. Good governance structures can mitigate this, but ultimately, as voucher programs scale, they will become further enmeshed in the political and bureaucratic structures which dominate the school system.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan: The Invisible Sophistication by Kim Langren CEO of Spirit of Math schools in Canada

Out of the midst of the busy crowded room a small child placed herself directly in front of me, and with outmost confidence and determination she said “Miss I would like to show you what I can do with a SMART Board. Could you please come and see my display?” She then led me through the multitude of people to the back of the very large conference room where an interactive SMART Board resided.

Once there, she stood up straight and proudly explained what a person could do with the pictures on the board. This girl was no more than 5 or 6 years old, yet she spoke with a confidence, and a belief in herself, and in what she was doing, that is rarely found in adults, yet representative of the people of Pakistan wherever I travelled.

This was my second visit to Pakistan. I had arrived in Lahore the night before and I was immersed in a science and technology showcase in the Schools of Tomorrow conference organised by Beaconhouse. The show was an example of the innovation in education, and that spirit of innovation was replicated in every school system I visited.

This drive to do the best and to be at the forefront of educational ideas, whether or not it included technology, was central to the thinking throughout all the systems.

People are open to ideas, prepared to justify theirs and ready to change if needed. In fact, I would venture to state that these schools are ahead of the western schools in many of their ideas. Regardless of the socioeconomic status, or the job of a person, what came across was a very proud nation of people who are willing to work hard, aggressively striving to be the best in the world and to do what it takes.

As a foreigner from Canada, what struck me right away when landing was the intense dichotomy between a pioneering educated world and an innovative traditional world. The intense security, the helpful people, the incredible restaurants, food and fashion, the diversity of transportation from the use of donkeys and motorcycles, to the most recent luxury cars, the massive number of small retail businesses, the outdoor vendors, the contrast of extremely large homes to small hovels all illustrate this dichotomy.

To the newcomer, there is an appearance of chaos. However, once you integrate within the culture, talk to people, start to do business and take some time to watch how the world works, it is clear that there is an invisible sophistication that is weaving all this together. The complexity of the educated to the non-educated, the various robust cultures, the economic diversities, and the strong family dynamics are all working together in a very open manner.

In North America, where it is considered to be an advanced, sophisticated world, we have massive socioeconomic, educational and cultural diversities. Our sophistication is visible; our unsophistication is invisible. Every nation has a cluster of sophistication: enabling it to be visible helps people understand it and therefore strengthen it.

There is an intensive and massive growth happening at this time in Pakistan. There is a sophistication that can be maintained and there are also concerns including the lack of proper education for all people.

From my point of view, what Pakistan focuses on right now will have a profound effect on where it will end up. It is at a turning point.

Ensuring the entire population is well educated, having the ability to research, question and understand more will form the foundation for a nation of strong skills and values. The confidence and belief found in Pakistanis, as illustrated by the little girl in the conference, will lead the way to illuminate Pakistan’s rich sophisticated skills and culture.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Launched Annual Status Of Education Report (ASER)

The United Kingdom strongly supports ASER, this is the only citizen-led independent assessment of Education and it is also an important tool for citizen’s accountability. We as DFID have been supporting ASER since its launch years ago, and we will continue to support the cause for better of the society, said Joanna Reid while addressing the panelists.

The number of out-of-the-school children has dropped significantly from 25 million to 22 million according to the government data. However, it’s still not enough, there is a lot more to be done. We should not compromise on access to schools, our main focus should be on improving quality, the education budget was increased this year which is a good sign towards development but still short in achieving targets, from 2.83% of GDP the budget allocation this year was 3.02%, Joanna added.

Education and economic development are correlated with each other, economic growth in Pakistan heavily relies on education, Pakistan has a larger segment of population which is aged between 10 to 24 years according to population Council, 61 million young people can really make a difference if they are equipped with required education and skills, if half of them are not, Pakistan will not be able to meet its workforce needs in the future to continue economic growth, she said.

The ASER meeting was organized by Idra-e-Taleem-o-Agahi with other partners of ASER in Serena Hotel. Key personalities from Federal government Education department, National Assembly, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics and Human Rights Activists were among the Panelists.

Riaz Haq said...

Punjab and Sindh provinces in Pakistan are public-ising their private schools (and they’re also privatising their public schools)

Back in 2015 the Economist published an article called “Learning Unleashed”, which breathlessly declared Punjab, Pakistan to be the “new standard bearer for market-based education reform”. No matter there isn’t really any evidence that learning has been improved, never mind unleashed, what the article described is just about the opposite of a market-based reform. Through voucher and subsidy schemes, Punjab’s government injects public finance into private schools. Similarly, in the southern province of Sindh, the state is fully financing the education of hundreds of thousands of kids enrolled in private schools. And in both provinces it is the state, not the market, that sets the rules of the game.

Kids in Pakistan’s schools aren’t learning. And they’re the lucky ones who are actually in school
Test scores suggest that children in Pakistan are performing well below curricular standards. Although, unlike in India, their test scores have not worsened over time, like almost every other developing country they are not improving. Data from ASER makes for grim reading: less than a third of grade five children from the wealthiest quintile have the numeracy and literacy skills that are expected of a child in grade two. Just 17 percent of grade five kids from the poorest quintile can read a single sentence. Remember, these are the kids who managed to make it to grade five – in other words, they’ve sat through at least five years of schooling and 83 percent of them still can’t read a sentence.

As for those who aren’t in school, Pakistan’s Bureau of Statistics estimates that there are 5.6 million primary age out-of-school kids (note that this figure is based on the 1998 census, and so the true number could well be substantially higher or lower).

The twin ”crises”of low and static test scores, combined with millions of kids not in school, has led to a proliferation of education reforms. These include policies that aim to harness the vibrant and growing private education sector.

With education in crisis, government turned to the private sector for help
Provincial leaders in Punjab and Sindh are taking bold steps to reform their failing education systems. They’ve moved fast, particularly in Punjab where the Economist’s Learning Unleashed article is framed and proudly mounted on several government office walls.

Together, the PPPs in Punjab and Sindh make up one of the largest and fastest-growing public private partnerships in the world. More than three million kids in the two provinces are enrolled in around ten thousand private primary schools, with the cost of their education fully financed by the state. They’re managed by semi-autonomous entities, the Sindh Education Foundation and the Punjab Education Foundation, whose funding is almost entirely provided by their provincial governments.

Riaz Haq said...

Low-cost private schools
Learning unleashed

Where governments are failing to provide youngsters with a decent education, the private sector is stepping in

Authority over education is devolved to Pakistan’s four provinces, and Punjab’s energetic chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of the prime minister, Nawaz, has decreed that the government will not build any of the new schools needed to achieve its 100% enrolment target for school-age children by 2018. Instead money is being funnelled to the private sector via the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF), an independent body with a focus on extremely poor families.

One scheme helps entrepreneurs set up new schools, particularly in rural areas. Another gives vouchers to parents living in slums to send children who are not in school to PEF-approved institutions. All the places in some schools have also been bought up. Those schools cannot charge fees and must submit to monitoring and teacher training. Although the funding per pupil is less than half of what is spent by state schools, results are at least as good, says Aneela Salman, PEF’s managing director. “The private sector can be much more flexible about who it hires, and can set up schools quickly in rented buildings and hire teachers from the local community.”

Crucially, the province is also improving oversight and working out how to inform parents about standards. It has dispatched 1,000 inspectors armed with tablet computers to conduct basic checks on whether schools are operating and staff and children are turning up. They have begun quizzing teachers, using questions from the exams they are meant to be teaching their pupils to pass. The early results, says one official grimly, are “not good”.

In a joint study by the World Bank, Harvard University and Punjab’s government, parents in some villages were given report cards showing the test scores of their children and the average for schools nearby, both public and private. A year later participating villages had more children in school and their test scores in maths, English and Urdu were higher than in comparable villages where the cards were not distributed. The scheme was very cheap, and the improvement in results larger than that from some much pricier interventions, such as paying parents to send their children to school.

PEF now educates 2m of Punjab’s 25m children, a share likely to grow by another million by 2018. Meanwhile the number of state schools has fallen by around 2,000 as some have been merged and others closed. Such a wholesale shift to private-sector provision would create a storm of protest in Britain, whose Department for International Development is backing Punjab’s reforms. But there are few signs of anxiety in a country where many parents aspire to send their children to a private school and the country’s recent Nobel laureate, the education activist Malala Yousafzai, is the daughter of a private-school owner.

Riaz Haq said...

Investing in the Education Market: Strengthening Private Schools for the Rural Poor
October 3, 2016

Policy Issue

So-called low-cost private schools are a growing and increasingly popular option in poor countries. These private schools usually spend less per student than government-run schools, holding down costs by paying their teachers lower salaries than in the government system. Although the teachers often are not as formally qualified as teachers in the government schools, students in these private schools tend to do as well or better than their counterparts in the other schools. One question is how to encourage these schools to expand beyond primary education, and how to encourage them to make further investments in the education they offer. This evaluation of a new financing mechanism for low-cost private schools in Pakistan will help policymakers understand their options for supporting these schools, allowing them to harness the power of the market rather than relying on greater public subsidies to the private sector.


Since 1980, the number of private schools in Pakistan has grown from about 3,000 to about 45,000. Nearly one-third of all primary school children in Pakistan country attend private schools, covering all income spectrums. A 2001 survey showed that about one in five of Pakistan’s poorest families sends their children to private village schools.

Children in these private schools tend to outperform those in public schools, while costs per student can be 20 to 50 percent lower than those in public schools, generally because these private schools hire less-qualified local teachers at lower wages. Despite these advantages, private school growth may be limited by the lack of financing possibilities. This evaluation assesses the benefits of different financing models for encouraging school expansion.

Riaz Haq said...

UNESCO and World Bank data from 2012 shows Pakistan spends 6% of GDP on education---2% public and 4% private spending as percentage of GDP, according to the Economist Magazine.

UNESCO and Word Bank data from 2013 shows that 46% of Pakistani kids and 32% of Indian kids reached expected standard of reading after 4 years of school, according to the Economist Magazine.

Riaz Haq said...

What’s Really Keeping Pakistan’s Children Out of School?

Since 2010, Pakistan has more than doubled what it budgets for education, from $3.5 billion to $8.6 billion a year. The budget for education now rivals the official $8.7 billion military budget. The teaching force is as big as the armed forces.

But Pakistan has a learning crisis that afflicts its schoolchildren despite much debate and increase in funding for education because policy interventions by the government and foreign donors misdiagnosed what is keeping children out of school.

...... the demand for education is already high, evidenced by the mushrooming of low-cost private schools that now enroll 40 percent of students in the country and charge as little as $2 a month.

Foreign donors also want Pakistanis to send their girls to schools, but a 2014 Pew survey found that 86 percent of Pakistanis believe that education is equally important for boys and girls, while another 5 percent said it was more important for girls. Even in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — where Malala Yousafzai is from — government high schools for girls are enrolled beyond their capacity.

Pakistan’s education crisis is a supply-side problem. Enrollment rates are used as the measure for progress because Pakistan has the second-largest population of out-of-school children in the world. But the proportion of 5- to 9-year-olds in school is the same as it was in 2010: 57 percent. With teachers chronically absent from school at a rate of 20 to 30 percent and most of the education budget going into their above-market salaries ($150 to $1,000 a month), doubling the budget was never the solution to Pakistan’s education crisis.


Eighteen million of the 23 million out-of-school children in Pakistan are between 10 and 16 years old. Efforts to reach them have been negligible. These children opted out of a failing education system and now they have aged. They will not now go to school if it means starting in kindergarten. They need accelerated programs, or short crash courses in literacy and math to help them enroll with their age group.

Even if these children do not go back to school — international evidence suggests they won’t — they will, at least, become literate adults.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan ASER 2019: Learning levels in #language and #arithmetic have shown improvement from 13% to 17% for grade 5 students. But children continue to struggle at lower levels to grasp foundational skills in basic #literacy and #numeracy. #education

At least 59% of children from grade-V can read a grade-II story text in their respective medium of education such as Urdu, Sindhi and Pashto. However, in English, only 55% of the surveyed grade-V students could read sentences meant for students of second grade.

Arithmetic learning levels have also improved since 2018, the report said, adding, now 57% of students of grade-V can do a two-digit division, pegged at second-grade curriculum. New questions on time recognition along with word problems on addition and multiplication were also added for the first time in the survey.

At least 60% of children in grade-V can recognise time correctly, 60% can solve addition word problems and 53% can solve a multiplication word problem, the ASER survey said.

Private sector schools report better learning outcomes and boys outperform girls. In comparison, the learning levels in urban areas were considerably higher than rural areas across all three competencies.

However, the report said, that only 55% of the surveyed grade-V students can read sentences from a grade-II English textbook.

Despite the recent focus of the federal and provincial governments on enrolment drives to implement Article 25-A of the Constitution — which requires the provision of universal elementary education — 17% of children between the ages of six and 16 remain out-of-school, the survey said.

In contrast, a survey in 20 urban centres across Pakistan reveals that only 6% of children were out-of-school. With 40% of the population residing in urban areas, this presents an important opportunity to accelerate universal access for the urban five-16-year-olds, whilst simultaneously focusing on rural areas, the report suggested

Education targets can be met through extraordinary resolve and actions by the state to guarantee a constitutionally fundamental right, it said.

Teacher competencies

The ASER report highlights teachers’ attendance in government and private schools stood the same at 89% closing the gap, on the day of the survey. Whilst private school teachers were reported to have better qualifications at graduate levels — 40% compared to 33% in government schools.

However, for MA, MSc and other post-graduate qualifications, a larger percentage of public sector teachers had higher qualification than their private school counterparts.

Multi-grade classrooms highlight teacher shortages, it said.

ASER 2019, rural findings reveal that 46% of government and 26% of private schools impart multi-grade teaching at grade two. In grade-VIII, multi-grade teaching stood at 18% in both government and private schools. A teacher taking classes of multiple grades in government middle schools has risen from 5% in 2018 to 18% in 2019.

Private schools lose students

The ASER rural results over the years highlight a decline in the number of children going to private sector schools. Around 23% of children up to 16-years-of-age were enrolled in the private sector in 2019, compared with 30% in 2014. The shift to government schools has increased the enrolment share from 70% in 2014, to 77% in 2019.

This edge must be maintained with persistent state actions for quality facilities, the report stated.

Early Childhood Education (ECE) has been historically tracked by ASER Pakistan. From 2014 when ECE enrolment stood at 39%, it has not registered significant improvement (39% in 2019), although ECE was critical for foundational learning readiness in literacy and numeracy.

Riaz Haq said...

#WorldBank to aid #Pakistan in creating new model for non-formal #education that combines #literacy, #labor #market skills, life #skills development for uneducated and illiterate children, youth and young adults in selected districts of #Punjab and #Sindh

The government has been developing the new roadmap for the country’s education system under the new leadership since the summer of 2018. The education ministry at federal level and education departments at provincial levels have unanimously said that out-of-school children is one of the critical issues that needs to be addressed.

The proposed project will be built on the existing initiatives on out-of-school children, supported by development partners including Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), USAID, and Unicef, and it will be implemented in collaborative efforts with these agencies.

Despite the urgency of the issues, the federal and provincial governments’ interventions on non-formal education is limited. Due to the daunting challenges in the public education, the government’ emphasis of educational development is on improving the public education systems.

While the governments mainly aim to address out-of-school children by increasing access to and retention in public education, there are still service delivery gaps which results in out-of-school children. The proposed interventions are to fill in the gaps.

The project is also aligned with the international agenda including the Susta­inable Development Goals (SDGs).

The government’s priority on addressing out-of-school children has been aligned with the SDG targets and is supported by the development partners.

The project will offer Accelerated Learning Programmes (ALPs) to out-of-school children at primary school age (age eight to 10 years) and secondary school age (age 10-16 years) through a non-formal education model with the aim to facilitate mainstreaming of those children to the formal school system.

In Pakistan, primary schools accept new students at age five to seven years, and children at age eight and above typically find it difficult to enter formal primary schools.

To support those who miss the entry to primary schools, the ALP primary (ALP-P) has been developed including curricula, corresponding teaching and learning materials, and systems for training and assessment.

The programme has been approved in Punjab and Sindh provinces under Literacy Department (LD) and School Education and Literacy Department (SELD) respectively.

The project will conduct a rapid survey of out-of-school children and conduct enrollment and awareness campaigns in the villages.

The programme allows children to complete five years of the primary education with approximate 1,250 hours of learning, which usually take 24 to 36 months depending on the set up of Non-Formal Education (NFE) service delivery. Students will be able to sit in the class fifth School Leaving Examination upon the completion of the program and officially obtain a class fifth certificate.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Reading Project declared int’l literacy program of year

The United States Library of Congress Friday announced the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) literacy programme, “Pakistan Reading Project,” as the 2020 recipient of the International Literacy Programme of the Year.

According to a press statement issued here by the US Embassy, over the past seven years, and working in tandem with Pakistani education officials, USAID’s Pakistan Reading Project has improved the reading skills of 1.7 million Pakistani students by delivering reading instructional materials to classrooms, training teachers in new instruction techniques, and encouraging schools to dedicate more classroom time for reading.

This early grade literacy project has also worked closely with the government of Pakistan to improve policies and systems for early grade reading across national, provincial, and local levels, said the statement.

“We’re very honoured and pleased that the Pakistan Reading Project is this year’s Library of Congress recipient of this International Literacy Award,” said USAID/Pakistan Mission Director Julie Koenen.

“The programme has proved to be a cornerstone of our partnership with Pakistan in education by increasing the literacy rates across the country and improving the reading of so many Pakistani students,” said Koenen.

In 2013, the Library of Congress created the Literacy Awards to honour organizations working to promote literacy and reading in the United States and internationally. The project’s implementing partner, the International Relief Committee, will receive $50,000 from the Library of Congress for winning this.


Pakistan Reading Project’s strategy is threefold: improve learning environments for reading in the classroom, advance policies and systems for reading instruction and rally community-based support for reading. In doing so, the project intends to reach 1.3 million students in grades one and two with reading interventions, not to mention training more than 23,000 teachers in reading instruction and developing reading curricula for more than 100 collegiate teaching programs.

From scholarships and grants for students pursuing teaching degrees to mobile bus libraries that bring books directly to children and their communities, the Pakistan Reading Program aims to comprehensively integrate reading into the lives of Pakistani children. The holistic approach of incorporating reading into both the institutional and communal lives of Pakistanis ensures the sustainability of the project’s efforts. In this way, children in Pakistan will be developmentally prepared for educational challenges they will face throughout their lives and consequently better able to pursue their goals and break from the cycle of poverty.

Riaz Haq said...

#Russian #engineering students outperform #Indian students while performing lower than #Chinese students on Supertest that evaluates performance of engineering students. #US students outperform students from all of these countries. #STEM via @physorg_com

The Supertest showed that at the start of their studies, Russian students perform lower than Chinese students in mathematics and physics, but higher than students from India in mathematics. After two years of study, the gap between Russian and Chinese students narrows, while Indian students catch up with Russian students in mathematics.


The Supertest was initiated by Stanford University, HSE University Moscow, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and partner universities in China and India. The study authors include Prashant Loyalka, an associate professor at Stanford University and a leading researcher at the HSE International Laboratory for Evaluating Practices and Innovations in Education; Igor Chirikov a senior researcher at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley and an affiliated researcher of the HSE Institute of Education; and Elena Kardanova and Denis Federyakin , leading researchers at the Centre for Psychometrics and Measurements in Education at the HSE.


A group of researchers representing four countries summed up the results of a large-scale study of the academic performance of engineering students in Russia, China, India, and the United States. Supertest is the first study to track the progress of students in computer science and electrical engineering over the course of their studies with regard to their abilities in physics, mathematics and critical thinking and compare the results among four countries. The article about study in Nature Human Behavior.


More than 30,000 undergraduate students participated in the study. The researchers collected a sample of students from elite and large universities, roughly equal in number for each country. In Russia, the sample included students from six Project 5-100 universities and 28 other universities. Their skill development was measured three times: upon entering university, at the end of their second year, and at the end of their studies.

The task of the specialists of the HSE Centre for Psychometrics and Measurements in Education was to develop tests that had questions that would be neutral for students of different countries and would yield adequately comparable results across different countries. "Over the course of analyzing the test results, we have proven that we were able to achieve both tasks," said Centre Director Elena Kardanova. "Testing in different countries was conducted in accordance with the same rules, with the assistance of specially trained examiners. All students were offered the same incentives to participate. We additionally tested the sensitivity of the results to possible differences in student motivation."

Riaz Haq said...

The Analytical Angle: Do children really learn in schools in Pakistan?
A narrative that suggests children dropout because they are not learning is not supported by the data.

Natalie Bau | Jishnu Das

Our paper , jointly written with Andres Yi Chang, uses the LEAPS data to finally benchmark what normal means for a country like Pakistan.

Here is what we learned.

First, not surprisingly, children do learn in school. For instance, 58 per cent of children could correctly multiply “4 x 5” in grade 3, and this fraction increases to 60pc after a year, 73pc after two years, and 79pc after three years.

We see similar patterns across every question and subject and, on average, a child in grade 6 knows more than 77pc of children tested in grade 3. This rate of learning is similar to what we find in Vietnam, Peru, India and Ethiopia and also to the US state of Florida.

In all these school systems, the top 30pc of children in grade 3 score (roughly) the same as the bottom 30pc of children in grade 6. This, however, does not imply that they learn the same amount since the tests and initial learning levels are different across countries; the data to answer that question simply do not exist.

Second, policymakers in Pakistan have been deeply concerned about out-of-school children. To understand the link between learning and dropping out of school, the LEAPS data tracked and tested children who dropped out between grades 5 and 6.

Surprisingly, we found that children who eventually dropped out in the transition to middle school were learning just as much as those who had continued (even though in every year, their test scores were slightly lower).

Further, once children dropped out, their learning stalled, while for those who remained in school, it continued along the same trend (Figure 1). So, a narrative that suggests that children drop out because they are not learning is not supported by the data.

Third, we examined whether children who were performing worse in grade 3 fall farther behind. Figure 2 shows that this is not the case by grouping children by how much they learnt between grades 3 and 6 (from low to high) and showing their average test score in grade 3.

In fact, children whose test scores were in the bottom 10pc in grade 3 learned significantly more by grade 6 than children ranked in the top 10pc learners. The same happens across the other groups which suggests that schooling reduces inequality in learning.

Riaz Haq said...

New evidence on learning trajectories in a low-income setting Natalie Bau a, Jishnu Das b,*, Andres Yi Chang c a UCLA, United States. b Georgetown University, United States c World Bank, United States1

The fact that parental education matters but wealth does not is puzzling given an emphasis on the role of credit constraints in education, particularly in LICs. Suppose a parent is not educated but wealthy. Why can’t they “buy” the inputs provided by an educated parent on a tutoring market (for instance)? Given this potential puzzle and its implications, we were concerned that the weak correlation between (longer) 4-year test-score gains and two important characteristics —gender and family wealth— are a facet of the specific item weights generated by the Item Response procedure. This is an issue that has been raised in the literature on test score gains in school when Blacks are compared to Whites in the United States, where Bond and Lang (2013) have pointed out that the all three tested subjects, there are basic tasks that children cannot perform correctly by the time they are in Grade 6. In English, 54 % cannot write the word "girl"; 80 % cannot construct a sentence with the word "play." In Mathematics, 49 % cannot subtract 238 129, and 74 % cannot multiply 417 and 27. Children find it hard to form plurals from singular forms in Urdu, and 55 % cannot form a grammatically correct sentence with the word "karigar" (which means “workman”).22 For the 22 % of children in our household sample who will not continue their schooling past Grade 6, these are the skills they will have to bring to their work environment.23 The challenge is how to rationalize this poor level of performance across subjects by Grade 6 with the facts that (a) the fraction of children answering questions correctly increases with every grade (attributable to being in school, rather than ‘learning by aging’), and (b) test score gains are consistently higher among those with the lowest scores in Grade 3. That, in turn, raises difficult questions about test score measurement and what the literature has euphemistically termed "mean reversion."