INTERNATIONAL POLICY FELLOWSHIP ACTIVITY REPORT-SEPTEMBER 2003-MARCH 2004

IPF FELLOW 2003: Sabina Qureshi
FIELD OF RESEARCH: Gender And Education
RESEARCH TOPIC: Girl Child Education: A Lifeline To Development

RESEARCH PROCESS:
LITERATURE REVIEW
Planning documents of the Planning Commission (National Development Five Year Plans from 1955 to 2003); National Plan of Action for Education for All 2001-2015 and Education Sector Reforms 2001-2005 of Ministry of Education; National Plan of Action for Women 1996-2002 and Gender Reform Program of Ministry of Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education were extensively reviewed. Research studies as World Development Reports  (The World Bank), Pakistan Human Development Reports (United Nations Development Program) and the Human Development Reports of South Asia (Mahbub-ul-Haq Centre for Human Development, Pakistan) were also reviewed. Read selected books on issues related to Girlís Education by foreign and local education experts.

Analyzed Multi-lateral and Bilateral Donors Assisted Programs for Pakistanís Education Sector of Asian Development Bank, The World Bank, United Nations Development Program, United Nationís Children Emergency Fund, United Nations Fund for Population Activities, UN/World Food Program, Canadian International Development Agency, Department for International Development, U.K., German Development Cooperation, Royal Norwegian Embassy and United States Assistance for International Development.

The above literature review helped to develop an overall view of policies and strategies on issues related to access and quality of primary education and gender equality and equity in education..

COLLECTION AND COMPILATION OF DATA
The research is based on primarily based on secondary sources. National statistical sources were extensively consulted as various issues of the Economic Survey, Federal Bureau of Statistics Reports, Population and Housing Census Report, National Household Integrated Household Surveys, reports published by the National Education Management and Information System (NEMIS) and Human Development Reports of   Dr. Mahboob-ul-Haq Human Development Centre, Islamabad. Other data sources/facts and figures published by the UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank were also consulted to make meaningful and consistent time series comparisons and interpret trends in the education sector accurately

FIELD VISITS/ INTERVIEWS
The field work focused three areas, the NWFP Province (Peshawar), Punjab Province (Rawalpindi, Lahore) and the Islamabad Capital Territory and surrounding rural areas . It included personal interviews and discussions with clients( parents & students), service providers(teachers) and the policy makers( relevant departments/ Ministries).

Visits to formal and non-formal, both public and private schools helped to observe role of these institutions in imparting education to children and to assess the on ground realities related to performance of girl students in classes vis a vis boys; quality of teaching, reasons for high drop-out rate ratio of girls and teachers absenteeism. Class room sessions were also attended. Contents of the Text Books were also discussed with the teachers and students during the visits.

Visits also included institutions as Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education & Planning and Development Division to learn about the structure, working and role of these departments involved in policy planning of the education sector.

Teachers, parents and students were also interviewed. The field observations were later co-opted with theoretical background research.

QUESTIONNAIRES
Information gathering on relevant issues of education through questionnaires remained active throughout this quarter. Critical areas as obstacles to girlís education, high drop-out rates amongst girls and interest in course contents were translated into questionnaires to obtain direct feedback and to identify areas for intervention.

Questionnaires were prepared as a result of dialogue with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women Development and NGOs and translated in two local languages to assess views primarily of the stakeholders- parents, school going children and out of school children.

Three different questionnaires were circulated for feedback. Two questionnaires targeted 150 school going and out of school children, both boys and girls aged 5 to 12. The third questionnaire targeted fifty families/parents.

MEETINGS
Meetings included discussions with people concerned in Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education on respective National Plans of Actions and to learn more of Government of Pakistanís  international commitments and obligations. Meeting with multi-lateral organizations as the World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF and bilateral organizations as CIDA and USAID helped in mapping the international development partnerís initiatives in terms of programming and resource commitment in the education sector. Meetings were also held with consultants and project experts on education of various NGOís. Feedback on public sector reform initiatives was helpful to formulate recommendations. Education programs of individual philanthropists were very enlightening.
 
Following meetings/forums were also attended:
December 2003-Workshop on Gender Reform Action Plan (GRAP) arranged by the Ministry of Women Development in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank at Islamabad.
October to December 2003- Series of meetings on Pakistan Poverty Reduction Strategy held in the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad in collaboration with the World Bank
March 2004-Meeting with the officials of Tawana Pakistan project to assess the implementation of the project and monitoring position
March 2004-Meeting with Mr. Tariq Mahmood Qureshi, Education for All Wing, Ministry of Education, Islamabad to assess the implementation of the project and monitoring position
March-April 2004-Donors Coordination Meeting, Islamabad. Government of Pakistan presented sector-wise priorities and strategies, extent of resource commitments and identified gaps in programs and funding.
Followed proceedings of the online celebration of Literacy Day in Pakistan where Pakistan Human Development Forum played the key role to generate online funds for education
Followed proceedings of the First Ministerial Meeting of South Asia Education for All Forum, May 21-23, 2003 at Islamabad

SELECTION AND ANALYSIS OF BEST PRACTICES OF INCENTIVE-BASED PROJECTS
A careful study was done to select a few innovative incentive schemes applying the following criteria for presentation of successful projects in the paper :
 
project stayed in field for at least two years
program has/had institutional set-up
gender equality was ensured
has reached the unreached/unserved
had participation of the community
enhanced enrolment rate in targeted area
program has been sustainable, feasible or replicable
positive impact remained visible for some time

The focal persons of the above incentive based schemes were interviewed to provide a summary of the projects and experiences perceived as ď best practicesĒ in the context of quality and equal education and field visits were also taken to witness the implementation of the best practices. After that a careful study was conducted to select a few for their presentation in the paper.

USE OF INTERNET
Information gathering through internet search has been very significant. List of related links/web-sites will be available on my web-page www.policy.hu/qureshi

 It has also been very useful to maintain a link with the resource persons.

REVIEW OF VIDEOS
 Electronic Media Campaigns of Government Education Departments and Videos of various NGOs have been very helpful to assess the education development programs in far flung areas of the country which were otherwise difficult to visit.

MARCH FELLOW SEMINAR 2004
The OSI 16th Policy Fellowship Seminar was held at the Centre for Policy Studies, Budapest, Hungary from March 22 to March 29, 2004 to orient through lectures and training the definition and structure of policy advocacy. Research work was discussed with the group mentors and views/comments were noted in the two working group sessions. I presented a Public lecture on my research findings and recommendations on March 25, 2004 at Popper Room, CEU.

COMPILING FINAL REPORT
During January 2004, I initiated writing the Research Paper. Since a lot of field work was involved extension was requested for completion of the paper which was granted by IPF upto May 30, 2004. The Activity Report and revised Project Time Table revised are now submitted to IPF. Financial Report and modifications in my Web Page are in the final process.
 

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