The 2013-2014 Education for All Global Monitoring Report rated Pakistan as one of 21 countries in the world that are facing an “extensive” learning crisis. Pakistan scores poorly in enrollment, dropout rates, academic performance, and literacy, and has one of the highest out-of-school populations in the world – second only to Nigeria.
To address this challenge, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan aims to provide a comprehensive, reliable, and alternative source of education data, which serves to increase awareness about the gaps in Pakistan’s education and learning outcomes and hold the country’s education stakeholders accountable for the sector’s poor performance. As a nationwide citizen-led assessment, ASER Pakistan mobilizes over 10,000 local volunteers to administer simple literacy and numeracy assessments in households and schools across the country. Survey results are made publicly available each year and are disseminated through multiple platforms, including official national launches, intimate village gatherings, and online and media platforms.
The Open Society Foundation, a supporter and funder of ASER Pakistan, commissioned Results for Development (R4D) to evaluate the Pakistani initiative and work alongside its implementers to broaden its impact. The evaluation identified where and how ASER Pakistan might improve its survey methodology, deepen its findings, and strengthen its impact on policy and practice to improve education in Pakistan.
Between October 2014 and December 2015, R4D evaluated ASER Pakistan’s implementation and dissemination activities, and explored the extent to which those processes:
- Influenced education policy change at national, provincial, and district levels;
- Leveraged multi-stakeholder engagement to secure greater accountability in the education system;
- And raised awareness among parents and deepened community expectations for a quality education system.
A combination of key informant interviews, field visits, focus group discussions, and an in-depth literature review were utilized during the course of this evaluation.
R4D’s evaluation of ASER Pakistan built on the growing literature on citizen-led assessments and allowed for synergy and comparison with R4D’s previous evaluations of ASER India, Beekunko in Mali, Jangandoo in Senegal, and Uwezo in East Africa.