Aser
ANNUAL STATUS OF EDUCATION REPORT
THE LARGEST CITIZEN LED HOUSEHOLD BASED INITIATIVE
SURVEYS AND STUDIES
1 - Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan
ASER Pakistan is a citizen-led movement for improving the state of learning outcomes of children. It is a household based and primarily rural survey which covered 154 rural districts, 260,069 children (3-16 years), 899,966 households, 5477 government and private schools in 2018. Today, ASER Pakistan has become a benchmark for not just quality but also access challenges faced by Pakistan. It is the most quoted document, embraced by policy makers, bureaucrats, think tanks, researchers, media, CSOs and politicians alike. The data set collected by 10,000 volunteers is seen to be less than 1% apart from Neilsen/PMIU estimates of the government (Punjab). ASER gets a special space in the Economic Survey of Pakistan undertaken by the Ministry of Finance each year in the Education Chapter. Its evidence was also a part of Global Monitoring Report and many other international publications. Each year ASER national report is launched at the Planning Commission Auditorium with the Deputy Chairman Planning in place along with other dignitaries, ministers, parliamentarians, citizens and industry leaders. Now ASER is being used for PhD research, university course work in Pakistan and also at the Teachers College Columbia University etc.
2 - Inclusive Assessments through Partnerships
Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA), with a vision to promote education as a comprehensive process for human and social transformation, initiated a first-of-its-kind project: Inclusive Assessments through Partnerships -ASER Tools Adaptation for the Deaf and Visually Impaired - Mapping SDG 4 for inclusion and equity. In line with the Sustainable Development Goal # 4 and Article 25A of the constitution of Pakistan, the project aimed to cover the research gaps and cater to the lack of credible data sources regarding the learning assessment of the children with disabilities and disability prevalence in Pakistan. For this purpose:
  • ASER Learning Assessment Tools (Urdu, English, Arithmetic and General Knowledge) were adapted into disability friendly formats for Visually Impaired (Braille) and Deaf (PSL). The adapted tools were then used to assess the learning outcomes of a sample of children with these two disabilities in over 20 government, private and NGO-run special education schools in Punjab and Sindh.
  • ASER Disability Questionnaire was expanded to include the Washington Group on Disability Statistics “Child Functioning Module” (with 13 functionings) to estimate the disability prevalence in 5 districts of Punjab and Sindh. 

This was done collaboration with Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities-Government of Sindh, FESF and Sight Savers International, University of Cambridge and Institute of Development Economic Alternatives (IDEAS).

3 - Gender Justice & Education in Pakistan
ITA, with support from Oxfam, has crafted a strand on “Gender Justice & Education” from ASER Pakistan 2018 rural data across 12 districts across Pakistan through a mixed methods approach, interfacing the quantitative indicators at the district/provincial level with case studies of the girl child/adolescents. These stories highlight disadvantages faced by girls when denied their fundamental right to education due to lack of facilities, safe transport services to cover distances, leading to oppressive customary practices, household chores, child marriages, child abuse, denying multiple fundamental rights through a routine culture of gendered silence and acceptance. ITA for the first time has also looked deeper at the data gathered through ASER 2018 from a Gender Justice Lens comprising of district report cards on selected gender indicators that highlight the challenges of equity and exclusion.
4 - Preparation of Education Sector Analysis for Sindh -Researching Teaching and Learning Practices in the Classroom
The current study was commissioned as a response to the learning challenges, mobilizing evidence of teaching-learning practices in 100 schools. The study was designed to probe the challenges, stories of hope and possible lines of coherence/incoherence between policy reforms for quality education against teaching learning practices transacted in the classrooms of Sindh. The study seeks to report systematic findings, recommend strategic directions for informing the design of the five year Sindh Education Sector Plan 2019-2023, aligned to 25-A and SDG 4 ambitions and targets.

A mixed methods approach was used to study ‘teaching and learning practices’ (TLP) inside classrooms of both public and private schools in Sindh. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses are adopted together with selected case studies that render a spotlight on teaching in classrooms. The survey toolkit provided to ITA by the World Bank team (Sindh) was adapted from the World Bank- SABER (Systems Approach for Better Education Results) and the Service Delivery Indicators (SDI). The tools included for this survey are: a) SABER-Teacher Classroom Observation (Module 4a & b) supported by video footage of actual teaching practices on site and b) the Teacher Questionnaire (M6) interrogating teachers’ qualifications, salary levels, motivation etc. For students’ learning outcomes, the School Education & Literacy Department (SELD) suggested to mobilize evidence for target public schools (grades 5 and 8) from the SAT results.

5 - Punjab English Language Improvement (PELI) Program
Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi in collaboration with the British Council conducted a large scale baseline survey in Punjab as part of Punjab English Language Improvement (PELI) program in 2016. It was conducted with a total number of 2,008 teachers across 18 districts of Punjab out of which 1,492 were primary and 516 were middle level teachers. The study was designed to map systematic information on teachers’ preparation and challenges encountered by them at primary and middle level across public and private schools in Punjab. Results from this report will lead to the formulation and adoption of policies, processes and practices which will help design a program to enhance the capabilities of teachers to use English language in schools. A set of three rigorous tools were used for this rapid survey that was undertaken over eight weeks. Client: The British Council
6 - SchoolTELLS
Student Teacher Effectiveness and Learning Levels of Students: Another Punjab-based intervention by ITA was “SchoolTELLS-School Teacher Effectiveness and Learning Level of Students”. The purpose of this project was to get reliable data to comprehensively understand the relationship between learning levels and factors that can influence them, such as teachers’ background and content mastery, children’s background & ability, classroom environment and school environments. The survey was a continuation of the study conducted by World Bank in 2007-2008 in the Indian states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh intended to observe the dynamic functioning of the schools, assess students’ learning levels, estimate teacher and student attendance rates and evaluate teachers’ capability to teach the primary school curriculum. The phase 1 of the Pakistani context of this survey was conducted in May 2011 (Mini SchoolTELLS), piloted in three districts of Punjab province (Faisalabad, Mianwali and Rahim Yar Khan). Phase II of this survey was conducted in the same districts to create a data set that could be longitudinally compared to the previously collected May 2011 data and generate a report that estimate the changes that have occurred in the two-year period since 2011. Phase II of the survey conducted in 2013 looked over the same schools and students over time. The final report and publication has served as a baseline for the future phases of the survey. In Pakistan, where there is a dearth of such rigorous studies, SchoolTELLS helped to assess the teaching capabilities of teachers and to test if the teacher knowledge is being translated into better student learning outcomes. Client: The World Bank
7 - Education fund for Sindh
ITA, in collaboration with Education Fund of Sindh (EFS), conducted another project of school assessment in 25 Union Councils of Karachi. The aim of this project was to identify all low cost private schools which met the criteria set by the EFS team and assess them for access and quality to qualify them for the voucher program. The 25 UCs selected by ITA for this project were among the poorest areas of Karachi and a majority qualify as highest and medium security risk areas. ITA completed the project successfully by surveying and obtaining data on 326 schools despite the risk and challenges involved and regular outbreaks of violence and shut downs in Karachi. On the basis of this data provided by ITA, EFS then provided vouchers to 60,000 primary school age children to attend low cost private schools during the academic year 2013-2014. A set of ten tools including classroom observations for different grades/classes were used for this study. Client: EFS
8 - School Assessment for School Improvement Program (SASI)
  1. SASI is an initiative taken by “Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) with the technical support of Micro-Credit Ratings International Limited (M-CRIL), to evaluate the overall performance of low cost private schools, foundations assisted schools and some of the public sector schools of Pakistan. SASI has three major components:
  2. School Assessment: A comprehensive evaluation of the performance of low cost schools would be conducted to identify the school’s strengths, weaknesses and potential areas of improvement. The assessment will also help provide baseline data for setting suitable standards of performance for the schools.
  3. School Improvement: Based on the potential areas of improvement identified through the school assessment, a school improvement plan would be formulated in which recommendations would be made to the school management about improving the school’s performance.
  4. Access to school financing: Once a school improvement plan is in place and a need for financial assistance is identified, the partner schools would be linked with financial institutions or other organizations which are willing to provide financial support to the partner schools on feasible terms and conditions.

SASI has conducted 6 market places so far and connected over 150 representatives from SASI's partner school systems across national, provincial & district level private school association heads under Pakistan Alliance of Independent Schools (PAIS) and major low-cost private school chains operating in the region. Over the past one-year SASI also launched a market research study on “Low-cost Private Schools (LCPS)” to discuss the findings of the research where the schools need improvement. Clients: Multiple across Pakistan

9 - The status of education access and quality in Pakistan: A Report Commissioned by the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC)
  1. SASI is an initiative taken by “Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) with the technical support of Micro-Credit Ratings International Limited (M-CRIL), to evaluate the overall performance of low cost private schools, foundations assisted schools and some of the public sector schools of Pakistan. SASI has three major components:
  2. School Assessment: A comprehensive evaluation of the performance of low cost schools would be conducted to identify the school’s strengths, weaknesses and potential areas of improvement. The assessment will also help provide baseline data for setting suitable standards of performance for the schools.
  3. School Improvement: Based on the potential areas of improvement identified through the school assessment, a school improvement plan would be formulated in which recommendations would be made to the school management about improving the school’s performance.
  4. Access to school financing: Once a school improvement plan is in place and a need for financial assistance is identified, the partner schools would be linked with financial institutions or other organizations which are willing to provide financial support to the partner schools on feasible terms and conditions.

SASI has conducted 6 market places so far and connected over 150 representatives from SASI's partner school systems across national, provincial & district level private school association heads under Pakistan Alliance of Independent Schools (PAIS) and major low-cost private school chains operating in the region. Over the past one-year SASI also launched a market research study on “Low-cost Private Schools (LCPS)” to discuss the findings of the research where the schools need improvement. Clients: Multiple across Pakistan

 
 
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