Publication: Pakistan: Can Private Schools Catering to the Poor Increase Access and Improve Learning?
Educating children is a priority across the world, but low-income countries can face enormous challenges. Schools are often overcrowded and in disrepair. Teachers don't always show up or may not be qualified or interested in teaching. Parents hesitate to send children, especially girls, to schools that aren't close by or they may want to keep them at home to help with housework. The numbers tell the story: Worldwide, 58 million children who should be in primary school are not, despite the push for universal primary education by national governments and international organizations. In the effort to boost enrollment, raise teaching standards and strengthen school accountability, policymakers and education experts are exploring a variety of approaches, including leveraging the private and other non-governmental sectors to offer quality education to disadvantaged children.
“World Bank. 2018. Pakistan: Can Private Schools Catering to the Poor Increase Access and Improve Learning?. From Evidence to Policy;. © World Bank, Washington, DC. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/29595 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
Other publications in this report series
PublicationCan Disadvantaged Kids Ever Catch Up with Better-off Peers?(Washington, DC, 2013-05)The World Bank is focused on developing and supporting programs that help children reach their potential and live lives free of poverty. To help build a body of evidence of what works, the World Bank financed an evaluation of a program in Jamaica that targeted mothers of babies stunted due to malnutrition. The mothers received either support or guidance on how to encourage their babies' development through play and language, or nutritional supplements, or a combination of the two. The children whose mothers had received the extra guidance were doing as well financially as the less disadvantaged (and non-stunted) children. This study is a rare look at the effects of early childhood intervention over the decades, giving policymakers and development experts tangible proof of the potential effects of early childhood development programs. A rare long-term study of the effects of an early childhood development program shows that children's lives can be improved by ensuring that they have the right stimulation and emotional support as babies and toddlers.
PublicationPakistan : Can Low-Cost Private Schools Improve Learning?(Washington, DC, 2012-10)Education is central to giving children the building blocks for a life free of poverty. When schools fail to deliver quality education, children are left without the skills and knowledge they need to realize their capabilities and become productive adults. This isn't just a problem of insufficient supplies or poor facilities. Policymakers and education experts in developing countries often grapple with the problems of accountability: it can be hard to create mechanisms for holding schools responsible for student achievement, but across the world, promising innovations are being introduced. The World Bank is working hard to help countries meet the United Nations Millennium Goal of universal primary education, and to ensure that schools teach effectively and students can learn. To understand whether low-cost private schools can improve access to education and promote student learning especially in cases where public schools aren't succeeding the World Bank carried out an evaluation of a new public-private education partnership in Pakistan at the request of the government. Private schools in the program receive a per-student monthly subsidy in exchange for waiving tuition for all students and meeting a minimum pass rate in a standardized academic test administered to students.
PublicationBefore Crisis Hits : Can Public Works Programs Increase Food Security?(Washington, DC, 2012-09)Fighting famine is basic to ending poverty and saving lives. Emergency aid, which arrives after the food has run out, isn't enough. Households most in need of emergency aid often don't have enough food during other times of the year, posing a broader challenge for devising programs that can cut hunger and build food security. Social protection programs, including grants, social assistance and public works programs are one way to transform people's lives and protect them both before and when disaster strikes. What works and under what circumstances is what policymakers and development experts want to know, especially those focused on famine breakouts in Africa and Asia. In 2003, the Ethiopian government partnered with donors and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to create a working coalition to improve food security for the poor. The result was the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), which went into effect in 2005. This program, the largest of its kind in Africa, initially targeted 7.6 million people (8 percent of Ethiopia's population) who suffered chronic food shortages and lived in areas prone to drought. Through a public works component and direct grants for those who can't work, the program aims to help households meet their food needs, keeping people fed and reducing the need to sell off productive assets. Ethiopian policymakers and international donors have long struggled with the challenge of reducing poverty amid weather shocks that disrupt harvests and threaten households with starvation. After years of emergency aid programs designed to provide short-term relief, both Ethiopia and donors wanted to create a program that could help people secure and build their lives, rather than just react to disaster. The result is Ethiopia's PSNP, which uses public works employment, social transfers and an agricultural asset-building program, to stabilize and strengthen poor households.
PublicationCan Cash Grants Help Create Jobs and Stability?(Washington, DC, 2011-12)Policymakers throughout the world struggle to boost employment. Creating jobs or giving people the right training to get jobs is not only good economics, but especially in developing countries, it may be a way to reduce social instability and with it the threat of crime and unrest. In the push to figure out what works, development organizations and governments are looking beyond the more traditional voucher and microfinance tools to decentralized programs that give cash grants and leave it to recipients to decide how to use the money. At the World Bank, committed to ending poverty and we are working to help meet the United Nations millennium development goals, including eradicating extreme poverty by raising incomes and making sure everyone has decent employment. To help policymakers judge the effectiveness of different approaches to building employment opportunities, the World Bank sponsored an evaluation of a Government of Uganda program that gave young men and women cash grants to start new businesses or get training. Based on mid-term results two years after the intervention, the Ugandan program made significant impacts: Beneficiaries reported large increases in skilled employment and incomes, and modest gains in social cohesion and stability. Researchers and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) partnered with the Ugandan government to evaluate the effectiveness of the youth opportunities program, introduced in 2006 to raise incomes and employment among young adults aged 16 to 35 in the country's northern region by offering them cash grants for training and busi-ness materials. To qualify, young adults had to organize in groups of 10 to 30 people and submit a proposal for a grant to cover training programs and what tools and materials they needed to run a business. Helping young adults find jobs is a key goal of policymakers in emerging economies, where high rates of unemployment are a potential social and economic problem. Many countries are working with vouchers, training programs and microfinance to raise employment opportunities. Uganda, which over the past decade emerged from a brutal armed conflict in the north, has been working to alleviate poverty and raise jobs options in this hard-hit region. In a new approach, the government funded a program that gave unsupervised cash grants to young adults who drew up business plans explaining what they would do with the money.
PublicationWhat's the Long-Term Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on Education?(Washington, DC, 2013-06)Cash transfers are used around the world to better encourage poor families to take advantage of educational offerings by offering financial incentives that can boost their income. The Colombia study shows that these can be an important tool not only for encouraging families to enroll their children in school, but also keeping them there. Indeed, the results indicate that students whose families received the cash transfers were more likely to graduate high school, an educational milestone that opens doors to higher education and in developing countries especially, increases employment opportunities. The study showed that higher enrollment, and improved graduation rates, didn't necessarily translate into better learning. Students whose families received the cash transfers didn't show improvements in test scores when compared with students whose families didn't receive the money. It may be that teachers need better training to address the needs of low-income students, or more resources may be required for struggling students. Future research could consider linking cash transfers to school performance, to see whether this incentive encourages students (and their parents) to pay more attention to learning. As part of this, researchers would have to consider what support low-income households might need to monitor and assist their children in school. The Colombia study makes an important contribution to the body of evidence on the effectiveness of cash transfers in keeping kids in school and raising graduation rates. The next step is to understand how cash transfers, or other programs, can successfully be used to boost learning too.