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Base de données d'évaluation

Evaluation report

PAK 1999/800: Gender Equity in Education in Pakistan: Evaluation of the Education Component of Social Action Program Project I (SAPP I)

Author: Brouwers, R.; Zafar, F.

Executive summary


The Social Action Program (SAP) was designed to improve the delivery of basic social services of elementary education, primary health care, population welfare and rural water supply and sanitation. One of the objectives of the Social Action Program Project I (SAPP I) was to improve the delivery of services to girls and women. After five years of support to the SAP Project, the Netherlands decided to have an evaluation looking into this question in Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province, provinces to which the Dutch support was primarily directed. The evaluation was not only to reflect on past experiences, it was also to generate ideas about how to do things better in the future.

Purpose / Objective

Have girls and women benefited from the education policy of the Social Action Program, and are they now catching up with boys and men? Basically, that is the main question of the evaluation presented in this report. The focus of the evaluation is on the results of SAPP I education on gender equity in terms of (a) increased access to, and completion of, elementary education for boys and girls; (b) improved quality and relevance of the provision of basic education for girls and women.


A desk review of files and relevant documents was carried out. Interviews were held with the major stakeholders of SAPP, gender experts from donor organizations, government officials, and project staff. Schools and district offices were visited.

The object of the study was SAPP I but the evaluation was carried out one and a half years after the project had ended while a second phase of the project had already been implemented. The figures and statistics of the first period were not very systematic.

Key Findings and Conclusions

The effectiveness of SAPP in terms of the realization of the objectives for girls and women has positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, the number of schools for girls has increased. In Balochistan, the share of girls' schools increased from one out of ten in 1993, to one out of five in 1997. Enrolment has also increased. In Balochistan, it increased by 90% in grades kindergarten to class 5. In the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), the number in 1997 has increased by 33.3% as compared to 1993. When it comes to enrolment in grade 5, girls also perform much better at the end of SAP I than four years earlier. In both provinces, the number of girls in primary school has gone up to a little over one third of the total student population from a level of one quarter in Balochistan and a little less than one third in NWFP in 1993. There has also been an increase in the number of female teachers. The policy measures regarding the realization of age and qualification criteria for female teachers seem to have been conducive to attract more women to the job.

On the negative side, the low quality of education should be mentioned. The strong influx of unqualified teachers has worsened the prevailing situation of poor quality education in both provinces. Much is being done to upgrade the quality of teachers, especially by improving in-service training. Most of it started under SAPP II and its effectiveness cannot be judged at this moment. It could not be verified to what extent the requirement that unqualified teachers continue their education after being appointed is effective.

In spite of progress, SAPP has not been very effective in reaching its targets. The weakness stems from the underpinning of the plans. No situational analysis on the sector and on gender issues took place at the beginning of SAPP I and targets appear to have come out of the blue sky rather than of realistic planning. Several reform measures seemed to be introduced on a trial-by-doing basis instead of on the basis of careful analysis about their possibilities. Although the management information systems developed at the provincial level and supported by foreign projects, the federal SAP Secretariat and the SAPP MSU have improved over the years, there is still much discrepancy in the data provided. The system of collecting data remains poorly organized and information is not used effectively to analyse developments and to make projections for the future.

The mission encountered aspects of inefficiency in the administrative system that are gender-specific. The number of posts for female officers is based on the number of female schools. Given the lower number, this leads to the situation that female DEOs have to manage and supervise an area twice as large as their male counterparts. The duplication of the administrative system by sex from the district level is an expense. A gain in efficiency during SAPP I has been the closure of some 4000 'ghost' schools in NWFP and an unknown number of these schools in Balochistan.


Increasing the quality of education should come first and foremost; it should receive priority above further extending the number of schools.

A better analysis of opportunities and constraints for girls and women is specific situations is required. This could lead to more realistic planning, reconsideration of policy measures and the application of alternative options.

Monitoring should be made sex-specific on more items than it is presently and should be extended to cover issues of gender equity.

The Department of Education needs to be better equipped to manage the larger number of girls' schools and to provide the support needed by the schools. Institutional mechanisms to promote women's issues in policy and planning that have been put in place over the past years should be fully and effectively included in the SAP process, both at the federal and the provincial level.

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Report information





Education - Girls

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands


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