Is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress Hopeless?

If you read Pakistan media headlines and donation-seeking NGOs and activists' reports these days, you'd conclude that the social sector situation is entirely hopeless. However, if you look at children's education and health trend lines based on data from credible international sources, you would feel a sense of optimism. This exercise gives new meaning to what former US President Bill Clinton has said: Follow the trend lines, not the headlines. Unlike the alarming headlines, the trend lines in Pakistan show rising school enrollment rates and declining infant mortality rates.

Key Social Indicators:

The quickest way to assess Pakistan's social sector progress is to look at two key indicators:  School enrollment rates and infant mortality. These basic social indicators capture the state of schooling, nutrition and health care. Pakistan is continuing to make slow but steady progress on both of these indicators. Anything that can be done to accelerate the pace will help Pakistan move up to higher levels as proposed by Dr. Hans Rosling and adopted by the United Nations.

Pakistan Children 5-16 In-Out of School. Source: Pak Alliance For Math & Science

Rising Primary Enrollment:

Gross enrollment in Pakistani primary schools exceeded 97% in 2016, up from 92% ten years ago. Gross enrollment rate (GER) is different from net enrollment rate (NER). The former refers to primary enrollment of all students of all ages while the latter counts enrolled students as percentage of students in the official primary age bracket. The primary NER in Pakistan is significantly lower but the higher GER indicates many of these kids eventually enroll in primary schools albeit at older ages. 

Source: World Bank Education Statistics

Declining Infant Mortality Rate: 

The infant mortality rate (IMR), defined as the number of deaths in children under 1 year of age per 1000 live births in the same year, is universally regarded as a highly sensitive (proxy) measure of population health.  A declining rate is an indication of improving health. IMR in Pakistan has declined from 86 in 1990-91 to 74 in 2012-13 and 62 in the latest survey in 2017-18.

Pakistan Child Mortality Rates. Source: PDHS 2017-18

During the 5 years immediately preceding the survey, the infant mortality rate (IMR) was 62 deaths per 1,000 live births. The child mortality rate was 13 deaths per 1,000 children surviving to age 12 months, while the overall under-5 mortality rate was 74 deaths per 1,000 live births. Eighty-four percent of all deaths among children under age 5 in Pakistan take place before a child’s first birthday, with 57% occurring during the first month of life (42 deaths per 1,000 live births).

Pakistan Human Development Trajectory 1990-2018.Source: Pakistan HDR 2019

Human Development Ranking:

It appears that improvements in education and health care indicators in Pakistan are slower than other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017.

Expected Years of Schooling in Pakistan by Province 

There was a noticeable acceleration of human development in #Pakistan during Musharraf years. Pakistan HDI rose faster in 2000-2008 than in periods before and after. Pakistanis' income, education and life expectancy also rose faster than Bangladeshis' and Indians' in 2000-2008.

Now Pakistan is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) represents human progress in one indicator that combines information on people’s health, education and income.

Pakistan's Human Development Growth Rate By Decades. Source: HDR 2018

Pakistan saw average annual HDI (Human Development Index) growth rate of 1.08% in 1990-2000, 1.57% in 2000-2010 and 0.95% in 2010-2017, according to Human Development Indices and Indicators 2018 Statistical Update.  The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018.

Pakistan Human Development Growth 1990-2018. Source: Pakistan HDR 2019

Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future:

Pakistani leaders should heed the recommendations of a recent report by the World Bank titled "Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future" regarding investments in the people. Here's a key excerpt of the World Bank report:

"Pakistan’s greatest asset is its people – a young population of 208 million. This large population can transform into a demographic dividend that drives economic growth. To achieve that, Pakistan must act fast and strategically to: i) manage population growth and improve maternal health, ii) improve early childhood development, focusing on nutrition and health, and iii) boost spending on education and skills for all, according to the report".

Pakistani Children 5-16 Currently Enrolled. Source: Pak Alliance For Math & Science


The state of Pakistan's social sector is not as dire as the headlines suggest. There's reason for optimism. Key indicators show that education and health care in Pakistan are improving but such improvements are slower than in other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018. One of the biggest challenges facing the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is to significantly accelerate human development rates in Pakistan.

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Riaz Haq said…
People Can Prosper And Thrive If Pakistan Reforms Faster

ISLAMABAD, March 18, 2019 – Pakistan urgently needs to invest more and better in its people if they are to be richer, better educated, and healthier when the country turns 100 years old in 2047, says a new report by the World Bank.

Launched today at the Human Capital Summit, the report, Pakistan@100: Shaping the Future, urges Pakistan to overcome its boom-bust cycles through a deep-rooted economic transformation. It recommends the essential reforms Pakistan needs now to accelerate and sustain growth. This means increasing and improving human capital investment, boosting productivity, promoting social and environmental sustainability, ensuring good governance, and leveraging its location to connect more with neighbors and the world beyond says the report.

“There are steps Pakistan can take today to boost its economic performance and thereby ensure a better future for its people,” says Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for South Asia. “These steps are ones that other countries have taken to open up their business sectors to competition and innovation and laying the foundations for growth, investment, and good jobs.”

The forward-looking report argues that Pakistan’s greatest asset is its people – a young population of 208 million. This large population can transform into a demographic dividend that drives economic growth. To achieve that, Pakistan must act fast and strategically to: i) manage population growth and improve maternal health, ii) improve early childhood development, focusing on nutrition and health, and iii) boost spending on education and skills for all, according to the report.

“Because the next generation is meeting only 40 percent of its potential it means that Pakistan is foregoing much of its economic growth, but this can change if women’s potential is unlocked,” says Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice President for Human Development. “When women and girls are empowered to make their own decisions, they stay in school longer, they start families a little later, have fewer children, contribute more to the economy, and invest more in their children. It’s a virtuous circle that’s good for families and good for the whole country.”
Riaz Haq said…
PM Imran Khan Focuses More On Attracting Investment In Social Sector Under CPEC

Prime Minister Imran Khan has focused more on attracting investment in the social sector within the framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which would directly benefit the people of Pakistan, Focal Person of Chief Minister of Balochistan's Task Force on Youth, Sustainable Development Goals, Naseem Khan Achakzai said on Tuesday.

"Within the CPEC project, the Chinese government is expected to help Pakistan build hospitals and schools. This is one of the Prime Minister's focuses, which will directly benefit the people of Pakistan," he said in an exclusive interview with Global Times during his visit to the Chinese capital city.

On the construction of Gwadar Port and other CPEC projects, he remarked that for the growth of CPEC, the Gwadar international airport will be built three years from now, so the port is now somehow operational. There have been housing entities coming to Gwadar.

Gwadar will have its new master plan as well. There's a lot of construction going on when it comes to development projects. Thanks to CPEC, a lot of people, mostly Pakistanis, are purchasing property, both residential and commercial, in Gwadar, he added He informed that there are military troops and the local police who are guarding CPEC projects. The port is not accessible to everyone, only relevant employees.

"It's well understood that the development of CPEC helps improve Pakistan's infrastructure and its economy. It's beneficial for neighboring countries such as Iran and Afghanistan as well. If all goes smoothly, Pakistan will be an even stronger player in the South Asian region,"� he added.

Naseem Achakzai said that increasing technology exchange is one of the important things that should be done. That can be best practiced in the agriculture sector, as Pakistan's economy is highly dependent on the agriculture sector.

It is hoped that there should be greater cooperation in the agricultural field between China and Pakistan for local farmers and landowners to have more produce. A lot of technology has been used in farming in China. The same can be replicated in Pakistan.

Pakistan, he said, also needs to focus even more on healthcare and education, and obviously under the umbrella would be needing further support in these sectors.

He said education and employment are directly interrelated in that improved vocational and technical training, in particular, could better prepare the local labor force for wide-ranging job opportunities enabled by CPEC.

As the project goes further, more jobs will be created and an increase in engineering and exchange in technical know-how will be expected, factoring into the vision that there will be industrial zones around the CPEC route, he added.

While dispelling undue fears over the flagship project, he said since the announcement of CPEC in 2013, the security situation in the whole of Balochistan has improved substantially. From 2013 to date, figures show there's been a rapid decrease in attacks and other target killings.

The Pakistani military has a special division assigned for the CPEC project, he added.

Naseem Achakzai said the stability in Gwadar and Balochistan is very important for CPEC, since Gwadar is the heart and soul of CPEC. After the attack, Pakistan has already been acting more against the terrorist groups.

At the end of March, the second international Gwadar expo was held in the port city, with many high-level Chinese and Pakistan officials attending the expo.


"Once there's heavy traffic coming on the main route, there are side links attached to it, initially giving a boost to local tourism and local businesses such as restaurants. Everybody is excited about it," he added.

Riaz Haq said…
Over 400,000 tourists visit Swat during Eid days

Over 400,000 tourists visited Swat and tens of thousands others turned up at other districts in the Malakand and Hazara divisions during the Eid holidays, officials told The News on Saturday.

The government made efforts to provide facilities to the tourists at the hill-stations in Malakand and Hazara divisions where Tourist Police have been launched and teams of other relevant departments deployed to facilitate the visitors.

“Apart from providing security at all the tourist points, police have been deployed since the first day of Eid to ensure smooth flow of traffic after receiving a huge number of tourists in Malakand division,” Regional Police Officer Mohammad Saeed Wazir told The News.

He added that around 197,000 vehicles bringing tourists entered Malakand division since the first day of Eidul Fitr. Swat received the highest number of tourists.

“From the first day of Eid, roughly 400,000 to 500,000 tourists have entered Swat to reach Kalam, Madyan, Bahrain, Malam Jabba and other scenic places,” District Police Officer of Swat Ashfaq Anwar, told The News. The official said a special traffic management system had been planned to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

“We have launched the Tourist Police that apart from managing traffic facilitated and helped the tourists. The visitors are being given special pamphlets and guidance by the Swat Police. All our senior and junior officials are on the road since Eid day,” said DPO Ashfaq Anwar. A large number of families from all over the country thronged Kalam, Madyan, Bahrain and Malam Jabba in Swat as well as Kumrat in Upper Dir and some scenic valleys in Chitral.

Tourists also flocked to Naran, Kaghan, Nathiagali, Siri Paye and other tourist destinations in Hazara division where police along with officials of other departments are on the road since Eid day to facilitate the guests. The cops are also helping the tourists to repair broken cars and bikes as well as getting food and water.

The access to Hazara has been made easy after the newly constructed Motorway from Hassanabdal while the under construction Swat Expressway was also opened for light vehicles during the Eid holidays. Thousands of vehicles entered Malakand division via the 81 kilometres long Swat Expressway.

The movement of traffic was slow while driving to tourist resorts, including Kalam, Malam Jabba and Miandam due to large number of vehicles and poor condition of the roads at various places.

Apart from the police and district administration, teams of the health department, civil defense as well as Rescue 1122 remained on the road in the tourist stations to provide treatment to the large number of visitors in case of an emergency.

The spokesman for the Rescue 1122, Bilal Ahmad Faizi said technicians in ambulances of 1122 have been providing emergency treatment to people at tourist stations in Malakand and Hazara divisions since the Eid day.

The government has opened a number of rest-houses in the two divisions where tourists are being provided better accommodation at reasonable rates.

The tourists complained that the local hotels were charging high rates at all the tourist stations after receiving such a large number of guests from all over the country.

The locals argue that the summer season is the only time to earn some money which they use throughout the year to support their families.
Riaz Haq said…
A #Library Thrives, Quietly, in One of #Pakistan’s #Gun Markets in #Tribal Area. The Darra Adam Khel Library, less than a year old and with more than 2,500 books, offers residents a respite from the #arms bazaar that dominates local life. #FATA #KP

It has even caught the attention of the market’s arms sellers. Noor Ahmad Malik, sitting inside his gun shop, has gotten interested in books about India and Pakistan and Islamic history, calling the library the “best thing that happened recently for the people here.”

Darra Adam Khel was under Taliban control for years until the Pakistani Army cleared it in 2010. Still, it has been regularly targeted by militants, including a suicide bombing in 2012 that killed 16 people, and mosque attacks in 2010 that killed more than 60. With a population of more than 100,000, it is still largely no-man’s land, where Pakistani law wasn’t applicable until the merger of tribal areas in the neighboring Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province last year.

Now the military is helping Muhammad build a new library that can accommodate up to 65 people, seeing it as a way to help residents recover from years of traumatic violence.

“People are still reeling from the militancy, which has killed hundreds of civilians and soldiers,” said a government official serving in the area, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak with the news media. “They are more prone to fear and stress, particularly among children, and now the availability of books is a good option for knowledge and education.”

In the nine months it has been open, it has drawn about 240 members, who pay 150 Pakistani rupees, about $1, a year. Thirty members are women, even though Darra Adam Khel is a conservative area where women are not allowed to go outside unaccompanied. They select books using the library’s Facebook page.

One of them is Shifa Raj, Muhammad’s 11-year-old daughter. A sixth grader and avid reader, she helps her father deliver books to the female members of the library.

“I told girls in the school that we have a library in our area: If you are interested, I will provide membership forms,” she said. “The response was remarkable.”

Muhammad considers the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai “our pride,” for her efforts to champion education for girls and becoming the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.

“I was born here,” Muhammad said. “I want the world to remember Darra Adam Khel with a good reputation, not for guns but for the books.”

Riaz Haq said…
Dr Zafar Mirza, Fed #Health Minister, visits Getz #Pharma, #Pakistan’s only WHO-accredited pharmaceutical company, gets assurance that Getz Pharma would help address the problems of shortages of #medicines for the treatment of #HIV #AIDS

KARACHI: Dr Zafar Ullah Mirza, State Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC), visited the only pharmaceutical company in Pakistan, whose manufacturing facility has recently been prequalified and accredited by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Getz Pharma, is also the largest exporter of medicines from Pakistan. The company has been awarded the Prime Minister’s highest export trophy in the Pharmaceuticals category for the past 14 consecutive years.

During the nearly three hours visit, the minister toured and reviewed company’s Manufacturing/Production Facility, Quality Control laboratories, Stability Area, and Technical/ Utility Areas.

Dr Zafar Mirza, who has 15-years of experience of working with WHO, appreciated the high standards of production and quality assurance of the company and congratulated the management for obtaining both the WHO prequalification as well as the PIC/S accreditation and putting Pakistan on the map of the select few countries whose facilities and products are prequalified by WHO.

The minister discussed with the management how to improve the availability of the Essential Medicines in Pakistan in general and the local production for the treatment of HIV.

The CEO assured the minister that Getz Pharma would help address the problems of shortages of Essential Medicines, especially the medicines for the treatment of HIV.

Dr Zafar Mirza exchanged views on the issues facing the pharmaceutical sector and brainstormed ideas to boost exports of medicines. He reiterated that the government is keen to transform the health and pharmaceutical sector and increase the exports of medicines from Pakistan.

The minster urged the pharmaceutical companies to increase their exports.

The company’s management shared their plans to increase their exports in the next few years.
Riaz Haq said…
Amjad Ali, #Karachi rickshaw driver, father of six daughters sending them all to school in #Pakistan. One of his daughter Muskan just won a scholarship to study at top #business school. #education #highereducation

In a country where many women are still discouraged from getting an education and are married off early, Amjad Ali, a father of six daughters, and a rickshaw driver, has broken the mould by sending his daughters to Karachi’s leading universities, reports Samaa TV.

“People often mocked and criticised me, saying that girls are bound to get married and move out and to stop wasting my hard-earned money on my daughters,” he said.

But one of his daughters, Muskan, recently received a scholarship from the Institute of Business Administration, which is one of the top business schools in the country. “It was one of the happiest days of my life,” he said. “Be it a son or a daughter, the right to education is equal for all,” he believes.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistani #Punjab’s social sectors get lion’s share in Rs. 350 billion ADP (Annual Development Program). 35% of it will be apportioned for south Punjab under the regional equalization policy to accelerate development in less developed areas.

The PTI’s Punjab government on Friday announced its second budget improving the allocation for Annual Development Programme (ADP) 2019-20 to Rs350 billion from Rs238bn in the outgoing fiscal year.

Even this 47 per cent increase in the ADP fails to match the allocation of Rs635bn made by the Shahbaz Sharif government in 2017-18.

Presenting the budget in the Punjab Assembly on Friday, Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht said keeping in view of PTI’s stated priorities of social protection, human development and regional equalisation, a sum of Rs125bn, or 35.7pc of the total ADP, allocated for social sectors.

“Around 35pc of the ADP will be apportioned for south Punjab under the regional equalisation policy for bringing the less developed areas on a par with the developed ones,” he said.

Major initiatives in the ADP include expansion of health insurance scheme to all 36 districts, construction of four dams, taming of hill torrents at three sites, enhancing productivity of four main crops (wheat, rice, sugarcane, oilseed), establishment of four universities and 63 colleges, rural accessibility plan worth Rs15bn, infrastructure development of three large industrial estates, and setting up of model agriculture markets.

Among the social sector, education is the main beneficiary as a sum of Rs89.8bn has been earmarked for it, while health stands second with Rs47.5bn allowance. Water supply & sanitation will gain Rs22.4 billion, local governments Rs6.3bn, social welfare Rs1.0bn and women development Rs0.8bn.

The second major share of ADP goes to special initiatives with Rs65.35bn allocation. However, no explanation of the initiatives has been included in the budget documents.

Infrastructure development claims Rs87.7bn funds to stand at the third position. Of them roads construction will get Rs35bn, irrigation projects Rs23.4bn, urban development Rs13.5bn, public buildings Rs9.8bn, and energy Rs6.0bn.

Production sectors like agriculture, food, livestock, forestry and fisheries, industries, mines and minerals get Rs34.5bn. Of it an amount of Rs15.5bn is the share of agriculture, Rs7.5bn of industries and skills development, Rs3.4bn of forestry, Rs3.5bn for livestock & dairy development, and Rs1.5bn of tourism.

A sum of Rs20.6bn has been apportioned for services sectors. These included governance & IT (Rs6.0bn), labour and human resource development (Rs0.3bn), transport (Rs13.5bn), and emergency services (Rs0.8bn).

The Planning & Development Department and PSFP will get Rs14bn, environment and human rights Rs1bn each, information & culture and Auqaf Rs0.3bn each, and archaeology Rs0.35bn.

FOREIGN FUNDED: The ADP also includes 26 projects with foreign funding. The donors include the World Bank (12 projects), Asian Development Bank (three projects), DFID (three projects), and one each projects funded by AIIB, France, IFAD, Korea, China, and JICA.
Riaz Haq said…
Enough funds allocated for education sector in KP budget: minister

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Finance Taimoor Salim Jhagra on Monday informed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly that the government had allocated enough funds for the education sector in the budget.

He was responding to a point of order raised by Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani about cut in education budget. The minister also said that efforts were being made to improve the quality of education. Taimoor Jhagra added the provincial government had spent huge amount on providing facilities to the government schools across the province.

The minister said the government had planned to abolish 23 training centres for teachers in the province as these were not functioning properly in the past. He said the government had allocated extra budget for the training as qualified and well-trained teachers could impart quality education to students.

The minister informed the House that recruitment would be made in education, health and other departments through fair and transparent process. He said the government was not politicising the creation of jobs and posting and transfer in government departments.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani said that he had learnt from officials concerned that the government had planned to close down 23 training centres for teachers He said the move would deprive the teacher community of training to improve their teaching skills.

The legislator also quoted a media report in the House that the government would not fill about 84,000 vacant posts in various government departments for next three years. "On the one hand the PTI leaders are claiming that the government will provide 10 million jobs to the youth but on the other it is not filling out the vacant posts," he said, adding that extension in retirement age of the government servants would cut new jobs.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's swift response to #HIV led by World Health Organization, #Sindh #AIDS Control Program, Aga Khan University, the Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program, Dow Medical University in #Karachi, Microbiology Society of Infectious Disease.

UNAIDS is continuing its support to Pakistan in responding to the outbreak of HIV in Larkana, during which more than 800 people have been newly diagnosed with the virus. More than 80% of the new cases are among children aged under 15, with most among children aged under 5. By 17 June, 396 people had been referred to treatment.

At a press conference on June 14 the authorities presented the findings of a preliminary investigation into the outbreak. It concluded that poor infection control practices, including a lack of sterilization and the re-use of syringes and intravenous drips, are the most significant factors behind the rise in new infections.

“There is a huge amount of work that needs to be done to improve infection control and support the affected children and their families,” said UNAIDS regional director, Eamonn Murphy, during the press conference held in Karachi, Pakistan. “UNAIDS will continue to facilitate and coordinate within the United Nations system and with other partners to ensure that the required support is provided effectively and efficiently,” added Mr Murphy.

As well as improving infection control procedures, the preliminary investigation found that strengthening community education is critical to raise awareness about HIV prevention and to tackle stigma and discrimination. The conclusions of a rapid assessment on HIV-related knowledge presented at the press conference found that information about HIV is very limited among the affected communities. Many parents and caregivers learnt about HIV only on the day their children were diagnosed or because of media reports about the increase in cases. A lack of accurate information created panic and some families with children diagnosed with HIV have been shunned and isolated.

In response, UNAIDS in partnership with UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Health Organization and the JSI Research and Training Institute have been supporting national partners to develop a community response plan to promote health education and reduce stigma and discrimination. The Sindh AIDS Control Programme, together with UNAIDS and UNICEF, has started to train health workers on paediatric case management and health education sessions are being organized with the involvement of community led organizations and religious leaders. Training sessions for local media on responsible HIV reporting are also being carried out.

UNAIDS has been working closely with the federal and provincial governments to provide on-site technical support to help respond to the crisis and mitigate its impact. Sindh’s Ministry of Health has increased its efforts to prevent unlicensed and informal medical practices from operating and, as a result, 900 health clinics and unlicensed blood banks have been closed.

The preliminary investigation was led by the World Health Organization, in partnership with organizations including the Sindh AIDS Control Programme, Aga Khan University, the Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme, the Dow Medical University in Karachi, the Microbiology Society of Infectious Disease and UN agencies, including UNAIDS, UNICEF and UNFPA.

With 20 000 new HIV infections in 2017, Pakistan has the second fastest growing AIDS epidemic in the Asia Pacific region, with the virus disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable and marginalized, especially key populations. UNAIDS continues to work with the government and partners in Pakistan to strengthen the response in the country.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistani #education #startup SABAQ shortlisted for Siemens Foundation’s global award. The award recognizes and endorses low-cost #technologies providing vital services and solutions for daily needs in developing countries. #technology #Pakistan

From a pool of 800 submissions from 86 countries, SABAQ is the only Pakistani startup to be among the 11 finalists for the empowering people Award (epAward) 2019 by the Siemens Foundation. The startup will be competing with other finalists for the Top 3 spots in Cairo next month.

The award recognises and endorses low-cost technologies providing vital services and solutions for daily needs in developing regions. Projects submitted are examined on their technical functionality, local adaptability, social impact, team structure, and financial and business sustainability.

In the next round, the finalists will present their enterprise in front of a multi-disciplinary international jury panel and a relevant audience from the international and Egyptian ecosystem, pitching their business concept and impact.

The jury will determine the winners of the competition, announcing the first prize of 50,000 Euros, the second prize of 30,000 Euros and third prize for 20,000 Euros.

Additionally, the runners-up will be awarded 10,000 Euros each. A Special WASH Award of 20,000 Euros will also be awarded.

The Community Prize of 10,000 Euros will be given to the solution receiving maximum online votes. If you wish to vote for a project to help it win the Community Prize, click here.

.SABAQ's flagship application, Muse, has led to improved learning outcomes for several primary grade students. — Photo courtesy: SABAQ
“SABAQ is extremely honoured to represent Pakistan on this prestigious international platform. Previously this year, we were selected as the Top 6 Global EdTech startup at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai. We also took home the Transformers Roadshow Prize by the Islamic Development Bank in May. Now, being nominated for the Siemens Foundation global award greatly motivates us to continue our mission of revamping Pakistan’s education system and helping all children in Pakistan get access to quality education through our technology," SABAQ’s co-founder and CEO Hassan Bin Rizwan said.

"Our journey so far has been only been possible through hard work and an unwavering dedication to build a better future for our children. We now need the Pakistani community to come forward and vote for us in our mission of educating every Pakistani child,” he said.

Founded in 2015, SABAQ is an education technology initiative that has reached 100,000 children in low-cost and low resource environments till date.

Its flagship application, Muse, has led to improved learning outcomes for primary grade students.

Muse has also helped increase access to education technology for low-cost public and private schools in Pakistan, which are otherwise deprived of such resources.

To date, Muse has been used in 1,000 schools across Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said…
How EdTech is paving the Way for a Better Future
by Sami Mughal

Knowing that she couldn’t go to school was something that Asiya didn’t take lightly. It’s not that her parents didn’t want her to. It was just that they were far too scared for what may happen to her during the 3 km commute to the nearest school. And this is just one of the problems that are keeping millions of children out of school in Pakistan.

SABAQ, an award-winning EdTech initiative, is dealing with this problem head-on by leveraging technology and bringing the learning to children like Asiya. With its high-quality digital learning content that is fun and engaging, this innovative learning platform is increasing student engagement and improving learning outcomes through a model that is scalable and accessible to millions.

Partnering up with the National Rural Support Program, SABAQ identified communities where it set up SABAQ Centers, non-formal learning spaces where students are taught using the meraSABAQ Tab. This is SABAQ’s custom-made android tablet that features the meraSABAQ app for primary level, each containing digital learning resources for Urdu, Science and Math, developed in-house and aligned meticulously to the National Curriculum. In less than two years, after extensive research, the SABAQ model is one that delivers.

What is unique about the SABAQ model is the extent of community involvement to ensure ownership and subsequent sustainability. The spaces where SABAQ Centers open are donated by the community. The Facilitators managing and teaching at the Centers are recruited from the community. Even the Village Education Communities, who oversee Center operations, collect fee and monitor student performance are volunteer-run comprising of 10 community members.

The fee that the VECs collect are pooled together and spent at their discretion, like putting up solar panels or buying resources for the students.

So, at the end of the day, it is not just Asiya who has her life irrevocably changed after a SABAQ Center opened up in her tiny village. It’s the 21,000 children, enrolled in over 500 SABAQ Centers, who are, for the first time, on a path to discovering their potential. It’s the 500 communities that now boast a SABAQ Center, decorated with fervour to stand out. It’s the 630 men and women who’ve been trained to become Facilitators. At the end of the day, it’s a wonderful mix of technology, a desire to change things and exceptional community spirit that is paving the way towards a better future.
Naveed S. said…
I encourage you to study the UWR (United We Reach) System. It is probably the best holistic approach to primary education. It takes care of improving curriculum, teacher training, teaching support, assessments, remedial, analytics, monitoring and is based on STEM and delivered to poor Govt/private school students.

I am part of the team that developed that System, we have invested $7-8m of our money to develop the system after researching literally 100’s of systems world wide.

We are giving that system to Pakistani (and eventually worldwide) kids for free and we continue to invest millions per year to improve it.

I led the software effort.
I mostly contributed to AI and data analytics part of it.

Overall team size is 125 people, 30 of those are teachers in silicon valley. 45 are software in Lahore, others are school Operation, Logistics, Business Development etc.

The goal is make a massive scale effort to improve Govt schools, poor private schools.

Tablets that we use are designed by us to be lowest cost in the world. Our 7 in tablet cost $27 and 10 in tablet is $57. We have a world class expert in LA chapter who helped us to lower these costs.

I encourage you to learn more about the System and not base your opinion on one article.

Article is written by a very young, bright rising star in pskistan. He worked in uwr for sometime.

Finally, we are charity hence all of us work for free for this organization to betterment of Pakistani kids. We dont make any money, so I don’t know why you got an idea of corruption.
Naveed S. said…
Another important point is transparency - in all of our schools, we know when classes start/end?, which teachers showed up ? what was taught?, who attended or missed ?, what was learned?, etc

We don’t have depend on Govt or any other agencies to collect and report data. We know the data!

This data will ensure that we/govt can no longer lie about the state of our education. Honestly accepting the facts is the only way we will improve.

In our existing schools, we get enormous of data per day. We analyze the data in our data center and give feedback to teachers, students, administrators, Govt and parents.
This has made a huge difference.

We have discovered facts - which are unknown to academic community, since such data collection has never been done even in USA.

For example, we have learned that 6 minute review of lesson plan by a teacher a day before the class can lead to 15-20% improvement in student SLOs. While conclusion is obvious, the statistical data and its range was not known (or published).

Since we know if a teacher has reviewed the lesson plan or not, we already know that students SLO performance will be low or high.

We have also discovered the impact of asking questions in an assessment in a certain order. If you ask the harder question first, as opposed to easier questions first, students perform differently.

We are also looking at gender, economic background, etc differences and are there any statistically significant trends.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's #EdTech #startup "Dot and Line" raises six-figure seed for its #tech-based network of female tutors. via @MENAbytes

Karachi-based edtech startup ‘Dot and Line’ has raised six-figure (US Dollar) seed funding from Pakistan’s leading VC Sarmayacar, the investor announced yesterday without disclosing the exact size of deal. The round was also joined by Silicon Valley-based private investor and technology industry veteran Hasan Rizvi, former Executive Vice President of Oracle in California.

Founded in 2015 by two LSE (London School of Economics) alums; Maheen Adamjee and Lina Ahmed, Dot and Line is a tech-based network of female Math tutors who deliver an after-school mathematics program built (for Dot and Line) by subject specialists including PhDs from leading universities and top schools, to children in grades 2 to 7.

Dot and Line helps the tutors or Teaching Partners (as they like to call them) delivery the program through its blended learning product which includes paper-based worksheets and an app that the parents can use to track the progress of their child and receive assessment results. The program is delivered in small classes (at homes of tutors) which means that every child receives individualized attention. The classes also cover exam preparation and homework help.

The startup on its website claims that its learning process ensures that children develop a conceptual understanding in mathematics, through real-world application and hands-on activities and that’s one of the things that make Dot and Line centers different from the regular tuition centers, “Our after-school program enriches your child’s learning experience, helping them fall in love with math beyond what math tuition can do for them.”

Dot and Line also follows a rigorous selection process to select its Teacher Partners who then receive specialized training and certification before they could start delivering the program.

The startup currently has over 50 centers in three cities across Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore & Faisalabad, and claims to have helped hundreds of children achieve 40 percent improvement in their grades within 4 months of program.

For Teaching Partners, Dot and Line offers an opportunity to earn PKR 24,000 ($150) to PKR 72,000 ($450) every month by delivering the program without leaving their home. That’s pretty decent money considering the fact that Pakistani fresh graduates earn an average salary of PKR 26,000 per month and Dot and Line’s Teaching Partners don’t even have to be graduates. Even those who are currently pursuing a college degree could apply to become a Teaching Partner with them.

More importantly, the startup is creating opportunities for women in Pakistan many of whom, unfortunately (due to cultural and family constraints) still don’t pursue professional careers in spite of having education and skills to join country’s workforce. According to some estimates, Pakistan’s labor underutilization rate for women workers stands at 80 percent. Services like Dot and Line can help bring it down.

Dot and Line makes money by charging 20 to 40 percent commission on the revenue made by its Teacher Partners.

Started with Mathematics (only), Dot and Line is now preparing to launch an English program in August this year that will target 4 to 10-year-olds helping them improve their reading fluency, comprehension, writing and vocabulary.

Riaz Haq said…
#EdTech in #Pakistan: Queno, WonderTree, Ilmversity, Sabaq, Line & Dot, UWR offering all-in-portal for schooling. #Education #Technology

All of us have had the misfortune of showing up at the school on some holiday or strike (because of he who must not be named). If there was some better and faster mode of communication, we could have just enjoyed another fine morning in our beds. This is exactly the offering of a local edtech startup: helping schools be more efficient through tech.

Ilmversity is a school enterprise resource planning (ERP) software headquartered out of Lahore that hopes to be a one-stop-shop for educational institutions.

The portal offers pretty much everything relevant to the administrative and academic functions of a school: from attendance recording and fee management to course planning and academic progress tracking. And it’s not only meant to be for organisations. The platform is accessible to parents as well, who can check their kids’ attendance or view average class grades, among other things. It works on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model so you just have to go to the website/app, sign up, go to the dashboard and access the different modules available.

What about payments though? Currently they don’t have any channels integrated given their primarily B2B focus and therefore, all the compensations are made through online transfers at the moment.

Let’s look at their market structure first. In Pakistan, private institutions can be roughly classified into bungalow schools at one end and legacy schools and big brands on the other end. The former barely pay their staff and teachers the minimum wage and can’t be reasonably expected to have much demand for ERPs. On the other hand, the well-funded legacy schools pretty much operate the same way as they have done for the past century and have shown little appetite for innovation.

Meanwhile, the big school chains are usually quite resourceful and go for in-house software, rather than an external SaaS providers. So what is even left for our local startup then?

“We are primarily focused towards mid-tier schools catering to middle and upper middle class students, anywhere from Rs3,000 and beyond. Given the customisable number of modules, it makes the product more affordable for all slabs,” says Murtaza Mustafa.

“As for the city/country-wide school networks, we actually got one such institution (with an internal ERP) on board recently because their IT head left and the entire system was paralysed. A third-party provider like us, with customer support, frees them from the hassle and lets the school focus on its core operations,” says Manager Business Development Mustafa.

Ilmversity was launched in 2017 by three techies and a corporate executive — Jawad Ijaz, Saqib Zafar, Osama Bin Shakeel and Waqas Sohail. “We initially wanted to bring parents in the loop and give them more access to their child’s education and progress but later pivoted to more of a one-stop-shop school ERP solution when we realised the market gap,” CEO Jawad Ijaz recalls.

Their revenues primarily come from schools who have to pay upfront annual charges, priced between Rs18,000 and Rs100,000 depending on the number of modules. Plus, a pro version - with additional features such as counselling - is available for parents at a cost Rs1,000 a year.

And to this day, it is internally funded with the four founders having poured in some Rs25 million so far — quite a heavy investment for a bootstrapped startup. For how much longer can they keep bleeding? “We are still incurring losses, partly because much of the earnings are being reinvested as we want to scale quickly,” informs the CEO. In that case, wouldn’t it be just better to seek external financing? “We are exploring that option as well and are in talks with some venture capitals but the entire process is time-consuming,” he explains.

Riaz Haq said…

United We Reach (UWR) is a nonprofit organization that works to expand educational opportunities for children in socioeconomically stressed areas. In Pakistan specifically, it uses advanced technologies to create and distribute fully scripted lesson plans to students.

It is currently working on a project that integrates local Pakistani experiences with world-class education via tablets. In this project, every teacher at a UWR school is given a tablet that includes an inbuilt Learning Enhancement, Analysis and Feedback (LEAF) system, which acts as a teaching assistant. These tablets assess the student’s progress and send individual reports to the teacher so they know exactly which students are struggling and in what areas.

Global Partnership for Education (GPE)
Global Partnership for Education is the only global organization that is entirely dedicated to improving education in developing countries. It works to align policy-making and future planning to strengthen education systems. GPE has been working in Pakistan alongside UNICEF and USAID for the last six years.

Since it was launched in 2012, national spending on education in Pakistan has increased from 2.14 percent of GDP to 2.6 percent. This has created more jobs as more schools begin to open. While education is its primary focus, it also focuses on using education to improve the following areas:

Personal experiences of children with disabilities
Countries affected by fragility and conflict
Development effectiveness in international communities
Early childhood care
Girls’ education and gender equality
Knowledge and good practice exchange
Out-of-school children
While external forces will continue to affect education, its quality and its delivery, organizations like these will continue to balance out the process by working toward improved education systems in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said…
WHO mission in #Pakistan to help focus on #Infection Prevention Control (IPC) and patient #safety in #health facilities. #hospital after #HIV outbreak in #Sindh

On the request of federal health ministry, a seven-member mission of World Health Organization (WHO) has arrived in Pakistan to assist and support the country's federal and provincial health departments to develop National Quality Policy and Strategy (NQPS) and transform a few of public and private health facilities into patient-safety friendly hospitals through WHO’s flagship Patient Safety Friendly Hospital Initiative (PSFHI), health authorities said on Tuesday.

“On our request, a joint mission of WHO and the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) of the WHO comprising seven international experts has arrived on a five-day visit to help us on patient safety strategy issues and to transform our facilities into patient safety friendly hospitals,” said Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health while talking to The News.

Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination officials said the WHO mission is comprised of WHO Regional Advisor Dr. Letaief Mondher, Dr. Jamal Nasher, Dr. Zulfiqar Khan, Dr. Bassim Zayed, Dr. Donna Forsyth from National Health Services England, Dr. Mathew Neilsen and Ms Afifa Baloch. The international mission is tasked with identifying gaps of quality, patient safety and Infection Prevention Control (IPC) within the healthcare system of Pakistan.

“The joint WHO mission has been requested to visit six major hospitals in Pakistan which includes PIMS and Shifa International Hospital Islamabad in the capital, Lahore General Hospital and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in Lahore and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center (JPMC) and Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) in Karachi,” an official of the federal health ministry said while explaining details of scheduled engagements of the mission. These experts, he added, would also be holding meetings with federal and provincial health authorities before presenting their proposals to the government of Pakistan.

Special Assistant to the PM Dr. Mirza said the international team of experts would be meeting with local and as well as international agencies' health officials in Pakistan and provide full technical support to the country for launching its flagship Patient Safety Friendly Hospital Initiative at the selected hospitals in the federal capital and provincial headquarters.

Health authorities said they were pushed to invite international expertise for Infection Prevention Control (IPC) and patient safety after several leading international health experts associated with WHO, UNAIDS and UN’s other health agencies warned of more Larkana-like HIV outbreaks in other parts of the country if immediate measures were not adopted for patient safety, infection control, safe disposal of hospital waste, training of healthcare providers and awareness of masses regarding infectious diseases.

“We are facing huge health challenges ranging from HIV outbreaks to having largest number of viral hepatitis patients in the world. Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) and Extensively Drug Resistant Typhoid, growing incidence of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) Tuberculosis, numerous water-borne diseases as well high incidence of non-communicable diseases including diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and hypertension are also causes of immense worry for us,” the NHS official conceded.

Health authorities said they were also seeking the support of local health experts from public and private health varsities and institutions in transforming major hospitals into patient friendly facilities while cooperation of provincial governments was also being sought to prevent future incidents like HIV outbreak in Sindh.

Riaz Haq said…
Last Resort: #India and #Pakistan's Informal #Schools. The stories of struggle by children of marginalized communities in India and Pakistan have an uncanny resemblance. When governments fail, people rise to help their communities. #education@Diplomat_APAC

Pooja is enrolled at a small makeshift school with a frail structure and temporary ceiling that shivers when strong winds blow.

“I want to become a teacher,” she says in a brittle voice.

Her face glows with joy every time she talks about her school. Pooja’s school is no ordinary school. She receives education at a mobile school.

Across the Radcliffe line in Maripur, Karachi, approximately, 1,000 kilometers away from Pooja, lives Roshail Atta Mahommad. The 17-year-old’s life has an uncanny resemblance to Pooja’s situation. She too has defied all social and cultural odds for education. Roshail, like Pooja, wants to become a teacher and contribute to her community’s well-being.

Even after 70 years of independence, millions of children in India and Pakistan are deprived of education. Both countries are confronting the perils of their failure to educate their citizens, notably the poor. Pooja and Roshail are among the deprived generation who were left out of the state-run education system in their respective countries.

The two may be divided by the border, but they are united by the failure of their governments to fulfill their basic fundamental right to education.

For decades governments in India have made tall symbolic promises about improving the state of education in India. They’ve conceived policies and plans that have been nothing more than toothless paper tigers. The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP)-led government in Delhi has slashed education spending by nearly 50 percent in the last 4 years. Such misplaced national priorities deprive many like Pooja of education — a promised universal birthright.

Echoes of similar hollow political promises are also responsible for the burgeoning education crisis in Pakistan.

The two nuclear rivals inherited innumerable common issues. Education is one of them. In many ways their approaches to the issue have been similar too. The two arch-rivals have identical laws that ensure free and compulsory education but little has been done to implement them. The Right to Education Act, 2009 (RTE) in India recognizes free and compulsory education for children between the age of 6 and 14, under Article 21a of the Indian Constitution. Similarly, in Pakistan Article 25-A of the constitution guarantees the right to free education to all children between the ages of 5 to 16. The right to education was enacted, in both countries, with the idea to improve the state of education, but it has been haunted by procedural inefficiencies.


The Heroes
When governments fail to deliver fundamental rights, people rise to help their communities. Sandeep Rajput in India and Gamwar Baloch in Pakistan are two such heroes.

The mobile school, run by Rajput, 41, is a free education facility on wheels. Rajput is known for chasing illiteracy in decrepit areas of Gurgaon in an old public bus. The decommissioned vehicle, once used by commuters, is now reconfigured to serve as a classroom on wheels. It is equipped with small tables and everything else a teacher might need to run a classroom. Rajput’s school on wheels, as it’s commonly known, is also recognized by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

Like Rajput, Pakistan too has a warrior, who fights against an unfair educational system. In 2013, Gamwar Baloch, 21, established a makeshift school named “Tikri Education Center.” The school provides free education to the deprived students in Maripur — a neighborhood of Kiamari town in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi. Baloch helps those who have been neglected by the state and are at the very bottom of Pakistan’s social ladder.
Riaz Haq said…
All You Need to Know About PM Imran Khan’s Poverty Alleviation Program ‘Ehsas’

What is Ehsas?
Ehsas is Pakistan’s biggest and boldest program for poverty eradication which aims to collaborate with all stakeholders—public, private, civil society, philanthropists, and expatriate Pakistanis towards one collective goal – poverty alleviation. The Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council, chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar, developed the program after extensive consultation. It aims to change the lives of at least 3.3 million poor people in the next four years.

PM Khan has allocated a massive amount of Rs. 80 billion –expendable to Rs. 120 billion by 2021 – for his anti-poverty derive which, according to him, is founded on the importance of strengthening institutions, transparency, and good governance.

Following these necessary steps, Imran vowed to convert Pakistan into a welfare state where jobless, poor farmers and laborers, the sick and undernourished, lower-middle-class students, poor widows, and helpless elderly citizens are well taken care of. The program targets not only the underprivileged but also aims to provide them with the means to uplift their social status.

Welfare State
Pakistan is currently in Elite capture –where public resources are meant for a few families from the elite class. He wants to break the shackles by spending public money on the general public. The program Ehsas aims to empower the women economically; focus on the role of human capital formation for poverty alleviation, economic growth, and sustainable development.

The Four Pillars of Ehsas
According to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement, his poverty eradication drive is grounded on four fundamental pillars: countering elite capture and making the government system work to create equality; safety nets for disadvantaged segments of the population; jobs and livelihoods; and human capital development.

In the following lines, we’ll discuss all four pillars of Ehsas in detail.

I. Countering Elite Capture & Inequality of System

The first and foremost part of this anti-poverty campaign is combatting the elite capture and inequity in the system which provides all the necessary facilities to the privileged only – be it tax relief, water distribution, crop choices, law & order, land use priorities and much more.

To cater all these issues, Khan plans to introduce a new Constitutional amendment to move article 38(d) from the “Principles of Policy” section into the “Fundamental Rights” section – this minor tweak will make the provision of food, clothing, housing, education, and medical relief for citizens who cannot earn a livelihood due to infirmity, sickness or unemployment, a state responsibility.

Secondly, he aims to increase social protection spending. In the fiscal year 2019-20 – an additional amount of Rs. 80 billion will be added to the social protection spending, which will increase to Rs. 120 billion in the next fiscal year.

By digitizing the data of the poor class, the government aims to collaborate with pro-poor organizations to help needy. It is also going to earmark resources for pro-poor sectors to prevent channeling of funds to other sectors through ad hoc decision-making.

He said that a one-window social protection operation would be conducted to avoid any duplication and abuse.

Pakistan’s first ever official report on multidimensional poverty was released in 2016, and it revealed shocking figures. According to the study, 39 percent (38.8%) of Pakistanis live in multidimensional poverty, while 24.4 percent of those don’t even have enough money to satisfy their basic needs.

To facilitate all of them, the government needs a database – and for this purpose, the government is establishing the National Socioeconomic Registry 2019 which will make the database of the poor class. Multiple validation procedures will be run for the collected data through follow-up review surveys to identify the real poor correctly.

Riaz Haq said…
All You Need to Know About PM Imran Khan’s Poverty Alleviation Program ‘Ehsas’

Once the data is completed, the government will roll out two social protection programs Kifalat (sponsorship or support) and Tahaffuz (protection). Both programs will be run through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

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Kifalat: Under the program, 5.7 million women across the country will get savings accounts in the nearby banks on one woman one bank account policy. The women of impoverished areas, without the bank facilities, will be given mobile phones to receive the funds.

As many as 5000 ‘Digital Hubs’ will be established on Tehsil level all over the country which will provide details about job opportunities for the local youth and will make the government’s digital resources accessible.

Tahaffuz: Tahaffuz or Protection will provide one-time financial aid to the poor against catastrophic events. This may aid interest-free easy loans for house-building (especially for landless farmers), free legal assistance in severe cases, financial aid for widows who don’t have children earning money, Ehsas homes for orphan children, Panah-gahs for homeless people, Sehat Card for 3.3 million people.

Welfare for Elderly: An increment in the Old Age Benefit and minimum pension for elderly citizens, the establishment of Great Ehsas Homes (Old Age Homes) through Bait-ul-Maal.

Government Increases Old-Age Pension By 20 Percent |
Labour Welfare: Creation of a labor expert group to provide its recommendations to address the following labor-related issues: loopholes in the existing laws which either keep the workers out of jobs or pay them poorly. The group will suggest amendments in the rules for minimum wage, and health and safety regulations, welfare and pension schemes for the informal sector.

Overseas Pakistanis

In a statement during a formal dinner with Saudi Royal Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Prime Minister Imran Khan requested him to take care of the Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia and said:

Please take very good care of my people (in the Kingdom). They leave their families and everything behind to work abroad. They are very near to my heart.

His statement is reflected in the Ehsas program which suggests policy making for the welfare of overseas Pakistanis. The program aims to increase the number of community Welfare Attaches and Protector of Immigrants Officers to facilitate the expatriates. It will also involve well-reputed and well-off expatriates to facilitate the working class Pakistanis abroad.

It includes policy making to allow free or subsidized air tickets to low-paid workers and productive negotiations with the governments to extend the duration of the working permit for unskilled labors as they hardly recover the cost of immigration their permit’s duration ends.

III. Human Capital Development
poor children pakistan
Human capital development plays a significant role in the wealth of a nation and requires prioritizing investments in the early years by controlling malnutrition, providing preschool or early education and protecting children from harm.

This will help against stunting in children by providing de-worming drugs, iron, folic acid, micronutrient supplements through government hospitals. Besides setting up a Multi-sectoral Nutrition Coordinating Body and the first-ever university-hosted National Centre for Human Nutrition, it also includes the 5+1 model of desi chicken and goat asset transfer, kitchen gardening, seed distribution for poverty alleviation and nutrition.

Riaz Haq said…
All You Need to Know About PM Imran Khan’s Poverty Alleviation Program ‘Ehsas’

The program also promises specialized nutritional food for stunted children in a cost-effective manner and to address the issue of fake and adulterated milk.

Pro-Poor Education Program

pakistani girls studying in class room
Under this initiative, the government aims to give people in the far-flung areas access to free and quality education through vouchers where only private schools exist, and by contracting the private schools for this task. It also includes increasing the budget for the National Education Foundation so that there’s no hurdle in the policy implementation. It also offers the following:

Free e-learning content for students.
The conditional cash transfer program.
Second chance program for overaged girls in schools, colleges, and universities.
Need-based undergraduate scholarships for students from low-income families.
Vocational training for girls and women.

Ehsas aims at adopting a Universal health coverage policy in both federal and provincial levels with innovative technology tools to provide healthcare access to as many people as possible – especially in underprivileged areas.

Under this program, the health budget will also be increased to fund public hospitals. It also includes the provision of Sehat card to over 3.3 million needy people which will cover several wide-ranging medical and surgical procedures including heart surgeries, stunts, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, dialysis, maternity amongst others.

IV. Jobs & Livelihood
Germany Is Offering 3 Million Jobs for Pakistanis | propakistani.pkEmployment generation is one of the primary objectives of the economic reform agenda of Imran Khan’s government. Ehsas’ framework involves policy making of Solutions Innovation Challenge, Prize Funding, and Venture Capitalism. These programs, through a public-private partnership, will provide small interest-free loans for innovative business opportunities.

The following are some examples of Solutions Innovation Challenge:

To reinvent the traditional ‘Thela’ to enhance its income generating capacity.
To develop a micro-credit facility for daily-wage workers so that they can afford monthly groceries.
To identify online platforms, which can help daily wagers, especially women earn a living wage with dignity.
To develop a rickshaw garbage collector which can create livelihoods, as well as improve water & sanitation-related problems.
For those illiterate and living below the poverty line, Ehsas will allocate khokhas (kiosks), tea shops, newspaper stands, and shoe polishing booths on government-owned land or in government-owned hospitals, parks, and railway stations

Export of Manpower

With the help of the Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis, Ehsas has accelerated country’s foreign policy drive to review opportunities in neighboring countries, and other emerging opportunities in countries like Japan and Germany that have aging populations and need human resources.

All the measures mentioned above require making government institutions transparent, accountable and responsive for the success of this program.
Riaz Haq said…
In Pakistan, it’s middle class rising
S. Akbar Zaidi

he general perception still, and unfortunately, held by many people, foreigners and Pakistanis, is that Pakistan is largely an agricultural, rural economy, where “feudals” dominate the economic, social, and particularly political space. Nothing could be further from this outdated, false framing of Pakistan’s political economy. Perhaps the single most significant consequence of the social and structural transformation under way for the last two decades has been the rise and consolidation of a Pakistani middle class, both rural, but especially, urban.


Girls shining
Data based on social, economic and spatial categories all support this argument. While literacy rates in Pakistan have risen to around 60%, perhaps more important has been the significant rise in girls’ literacy and in their education. Their enrolment at the primary school level, while still less than it is for boys, is rising faster than it is for boys. What is even more surprising is that this pattern is reinforced even for middle level education where, between 2002-03 and 2012-13, there had been an increase by as much as 54% when compared to 26% for that of boys. At the secondary level, again unexpectedly, girls’ participation has increased by 53% over the decade, about the same as it has for boys. While boys outnumber girls in school, girls are catching up. In 2014-15, it was estimated that there were more girls enrolled in Pakistan’s universities than boys — 52% and 48%, respectively. Pakistan’s middle class has realised the significance of girls’ education, even up to the college and university level.

In spatial terms, most social scientists would agree that Pakistan is almost all, or at least predominantly, urban rather than rural, even though such categories are difficult to concretise. Research in Pakistan has revealed that at least 70% of Pakistanis live in urban or urbanising settlements, and not in rural settlements, whatever they are. Using data about access to urban facilities and services such as electricity, education, transport and communication connectivity, this is a low estimate. Moreover, even in so-called “rural” and agricultural settlements, data show that around 60% or more of incomes accrue from non-agricultural sources such as remittances and services. Clearly, whatever the rural is, it is no longer agricultural. Numerous other sets of statistics would enhance the middle class thesis in Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
Bombed by the Taliban: UAE brings schools to thousands denied an education in Pakistan
A joint initiative in the Swat valley has seen dozens of schools rebuilt after being destroyed by militants

Growing up, all Naeem Hakeem had wanted was to study to become an electrical engineer.

But in 2008, his dream was shattered when the Pakistan Taliban blew up his school in the country’s north-west Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The militants had emerged as a dominant force in the mountainous Swat valley district, and had begun enforcing a strict version of Islam.

They banned modern education for both boys and girls as part of their efforts to prevent any semblance of a modern education system.

A year later, Naeem, along with his family, had no choice but to leave their home when the Pakistan military launched a counter-offensive.

The area became too dangerous to risk staying, with frequent firefights between combatants as well as numerous deadly roadside bombings.

“That was the most terrible moment of my life, seeing my school being burnt out in front of my eyes,” Hakeem, now 21, told The National.

“I spent around two years in a makeshift tent, far away from my hometown and missed my education too. Three years of my life were wasted.”

Hakeem, now an undergraduate student in Swat’s capital Saidu Sharif, told how - more than a decade later - his life was finally back on track.

He and his family were able to return to his rural hometown of Matta in 2011, and he had since resumed his studies.

The reason for his change of fortune, he revealed, was largely down to a UAE decision to help fund the rebuilding of dozens of schools in Swat.

Through the UAE-Pakistan Assistance Programme, the Emirates has allocated $41.52 million (Dh152m) for the reconstruction of 60 schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

More than 50 have already been built, with an initial focus on two districts – Swat and South Waziristan. More than 30,000 students are now enrolled.

“The militants had blown up our school at night, making it unable to be used for education purposes,” said Mohammad Alam, 48, a teacher at Government Boys High School Ahingaro Dherai – a second school just outside the town of Mingora that also became a target.

“But you can’t imagine [how incredible it is] now seeing this beautiful two-storey building constructed with the financial assistance of the UAE.”

According to UNICEF, Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children, with an estimated 22.8 million aged between 5-16 not attending classes.

The 2018-19 Pakistan Economic Survey found the country’s literacy rate for those aged 15 and above was at 57 per cent.

Meanwhile, Maldives tops the South Asia region at 98.6 per cent, followed by Sri Lanka at 91.2 per cent, Iran at 84.7 per cent and India at 69.3 per cent.

Because of the fighting in Swat, child literacy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province is now lower than the national average, at 55 per cent.

But that statistic is fast being improved, due in part to the intervention of international donors such as the UAE.

The Swat valley now has a total of 1,647 public schools, Dr Jawad Iqbal, an education activist, revealed.

“I got admission in this school for its excellent environment for female students,” said Fatima Ali, a 10th grade student whose name has been changed to protect her identity.

Her school, some six kilometres outside of Mingora, and was first set fire to and then completely demolished by the Pakistan Taliban.

“My parents couldn’t afford private schools’ fee, so I had to wait till reconstruction of this school in my area,” she said. Now, as many as 1,300 students study at the new premises built by the UAE.

“The UAE is developing many humanitarian projects in Pakistan and our special focus is on improving education facilities for the youth,” said Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Al Zaabi, the UAE’s Ambassador to Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said…
65.6% #BISP recipients perceive Benazir #Bhutto and her family to be the source of BISP money being received by the beneficiaries. #Pakistan #PPP

In comes this on-going research by Rehan Rafay Jamil, a PhD Candidate at Brown University, whose thesis essentially explores the subject of social policy and changing citizenship boundaries in Pakistan, where one of the key questions being explored is whether or not cash transfers programs create more active citizenship.

Speaking at Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund's third conference on research and learning held on Oct 30-31,2019, Jamil's survey findings reveal that both beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of BISP perceive Benazir Bhutto and her family to be the source of BISP money being received by the beneficiaries. The percentage was higher in the case of beneficiaries (65.6%) compared to the non- beneficiaries (60.3%) – but both segments thought that late PM and her family are the source of this financial assistance, rather than the federal government in power.

But before PTI supporters cry foul, here is another finding worth brooding over. Jamil's sample-based research in Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Hyderabad and Thatta also found out that despite beneficiaries' close association of BISP with Benazir Bhutto and her family, voting patterns were split between those who voted for the PPP and those who voted for the Shirazis (or the independents) in the last general election. In other words, BISP's close association with the late PM and her party does not reinforce clientelism.

Hopefully Jamil would expand this research to explore province-wise responses, and perhaps by districts that have high percentage of BISP beneficiaries as against those that have much less percentage of beneficiaries. Other nuggets from Jamil's ongoing research are also sort of myth-busting or at least raise important questions.

For instance, many critics argue that handouts such as cash grants under BISP or free food under Ehsaas-Saylani Langar Scheme (ESLS) make beggars out of people and erode basic human dignity. Jamil's research thus far instead shows that these social welfare programmes do not appear to create social stigma. If anything, the impact is quite the reverse.

His preliminary findings show that a vast majority of beneficiaries and their male household members reported feelings of “pride and dignity on being cash transfer recipients" and “being recognized by the state as citizens".

This coils back the discussion to earlier question whether or not cash transfers programs create more active citizenship. Jamil seems to be resting his thought on the notion of ‘citizenship as a bundle of rights', including the right to social welfare that often creates a sense of affiliation and belonging with the society at large.

It should not come as a surprise if Pakistan's government, current or next, ends up citing this research (once completed), especially the virtues of how social welfare increases citizenship to justify expansion in social welfare.

But in that vein, while state's social welfare may well be a necessary condition to achieve higher level of citizenship among citizens, it is surely not a sufficient condition. And in the absence of full spectrum of political, economic and civic rights, expansion in social welfare can only increase the level of citizenship to a certain degree. If anything, if the state grants its citizens the full spectrum of political, economic and civic rights, the need for social welfare programme may in fact grow less, not more.
Riaz Haq said…
BISP, Citizenship and Rights Claims in Pakistan

By Rehan Rafay Jamil

Taking Stock of Ten Years of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP)

Over ten years since its establishment, the Benazir Income Support Progamme (BISP) has become Pakistan’s largest social safety net, providing coverage to over 5.6 million women and their households across the country. The expansion of BISP over the past decade marks an important shift in social policy in Pakistan. BISP has now been overseen by three elected governments and has resulted in a significant increase in federal fiscal allocations for social protection. Despite vocal reservations about its name expressed by some political parties, the program remains Pakistan’s largest flagship poverty alleviation program with international recognition.[1]

Third party impact evaluations of BISP have largely focused on its poverty alleviation, nutritional and gender empowerment impacts.[2] [3] These evaluations point to important reductions in poverty and improved nutritional levels for beneficiaries and their households. Oxford Policy Management’s 2016 evaluation finds reductions in BISP households’ reliance on casual labor and an increase in household savings and asset accumulation.[3]

BISP is one of the largest cash transfer programs targeted exclusively at women in the Global South, making the gender impacts of BISP important to understand. In their evaluation, Ambler and De Brauw (2017) find some changes in gender norms and attitudes amongst beneficiaries and their families. Their study finds that female beneficiaries are more likely to have greater mobility to visit friends without their spouse’s permission, are less likely to tolerate domestic violence and male members are more likely to contribute to household work.

BISP and the transition from Cash Transfer Beneficiaries to Citizens

The evaluation reports provide some evidence that BISP has also had a wider set of intended and unintended consequences in influencing beneficiaries’ access to public institutions and spaces. Perhaps the most frequently cited impact of BISP has been a marked increase in rural women’s access to computerized national identity cards (CNICs), a prerequisite for obtaining the program. CNICs can be seen as the first step to citizenship and rights claims in Pakistan. The most significant impact of the rapid increase in CNIC registration amongst BISP beneficiaries has been with regards to voting. Ambler and De Brauw (2017) find evidence that BISP beneficiaries are more likely to vote in national elections. But whether BISP beneficiaries are empowered by the cash transfer to make a wider set of rights claims and access local state services, is less clear.

In order to understand some of the changes brought about by BISP in the lives of rural women, I conducted qualitative field work, including in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with beneficiaries and their spouses, in the district of Thatta in Lower Sindh. Thatta has a high proportion of BISP beneficiaries (47 percent), being a high poverty district. The aim of the fieldwork was to develop an understanding of how beneficiaries and their families perceive of BISP and whether the program has brought about any changes in their engagement with local state services.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's rank falls from 151 to 152 among 189 nations on human development index. #UNDP gave Pakistan a score of 0.560 that ranks Pakistan as the 2nd last country among Medium Human development countries. #HDI

Pakistan continues to remain among the medium human development countries with its position falling from 151 to 152, according to the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The UNDP’s Human Development Report (HDR) “Beyond Income, Beyond Averages, Beyond Today: Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century” which was launched on Monday in Colombia, gave Pakistan a score of 0.560.

The score puts Pakistan as the second last country among the Medium Human development countries. Solomon Islands is the only country behind Pakistan in the category.

The HDI classifications are based on HDI fixed cutoff points. Countries falling under the cutoff points of less than 0.550 are categorised as low human development, while medium human development are categorised within the range of 0.550–0.699. Scores of 0.700–0.799 is for high human development and 0.800 or greater for very high human development.

According to the data, Pakistan’s life expectancy stands at 67; while the expected years of schooling was at 8.5 years, with the mean years of schooling standing at 5.2. The country’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita was $5,190, the data showed.

However, the trend from 1990 till 2018 showed that Pakistan had steadily improved from being a low human development country to a medium development country.

When the report was first published in 1990, Pakistan scored 0.404. The latest report gave the country a score of 0.560, an overall increase in the score by 1.17 per cent.

The human development approach was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub Ul Haq and was further improved by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s work on human capabilities. The HDI was created to emphasise that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.

According to a press release issued by UNDP Pakistan, the report talks about the importance of addressing the different kinds of inequalities in the world today. The report measures the countries’ progress beyond just economic growth, with the ultimate aim of unlocking people’s full potential.

The report analyzes inequality in three steps: beyond income, beyond averages, and beyond today.

“Inequalities exist at all levels of society, starting from the level of the household. As an example, over 22 per cent of under-five children in South Asia experience nutritional inequality at home – where one child in the household is malnourished while a sibling is not,” the statement said.

The report has highlighted that over a third of Pakistani children under the age of five experience such “intra-household inequality”.

Speaking on the release of the report, Resident Representative of UNDP Pakistan Ignacio Artaza stated, “The HDR shows us that inequality is not ‘natural’ or inevitable. However, governments, civil societies, and ordinary citizens need to work together and translate words into concrete actions to ensure that people all over the world can live their lives to their fullest potential”.
Riaz Haq said…
Donors pledge Rs350 million as Shaukat Khanum Hospital turns 25. Construction of Pakistan’s third and largest #shaukatkhanumhospital in #Karachi is about to begin and it will benefit people of Sindh and Balochistan #Pakistan #Cancer #Hospital @SKMCH

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is chairman of the hospital’s board of governors and celebrities Ali Zafar, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Maya Ali, Hira Mani, Reema Khan, Shoaib Akhter, Javed Miandad, Jahangir Khan, Hamid Mir and Salim Bokhari joined the celebrations to encourage the donors.

At the programme, Imran Khan narrated SKMCH&RC’s journey and said the dream of building a cancer hospital in Pakistan appeared to be unachievable in the beginning, but people’s unprecedented trust and generous support made this possible. He said the hospital has now become a symbol of hope for thousands of cancer patients in the country. “Construction of Pakistan’s third and largest Shaukat Khanum Hospital in Karachi is about to begin and it will benefit people of Sindh and Balochistan. They will be provided state-of-the-art cancer diagnostic and treatment facilities under one roof,” he said.

During the four-hour long programme, SKMCH&RC supporter from across the globe continued to call and pledged Silver Jubilee donations. People also called to become ‘Ambassador of Hope’ for Shaukat Khanum and pledged to donate on a monthly basis. Pledges of Rs350 million were received in a short time. They are the proof that donors’ trust in SKMCH&RC has increased over the period of time.
Riaz Haq said…
India falls behind Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal in global hunger index; ranks 102nd among 107 countries

India has ranked 102nd among 107 countries in the Global Hunger Index (GHI). In 2018, India had ranked 55 among 77 nations listed in the GHI. South Asian countries like Pakistan (94), Bangladesh (88) and Sri Lanka (66) have fared better than India, says a report prepared by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

India is among 45 countries that have serious levels of hunger. The report says several countries have higher hunger levels now than in 2010, and around 45 countries are set to fail to achieve low levels of hunger by 2030. The GHI report says hunger is the highest in South Asia and Africa South of the Sahara region. "South Asia and Africa South of the Sahara are the regions with the highest 2019 GHI scores, at 29.3 and 28.4 respectively, indicating serious levels of hunger," says the report.

India's 'child wasting rate' (low weight for height) is extremely high at 20.8 per cent -- the highest wasting rate of any country, says the report. Child stunting rate in India, 37.9 per cent, is also categorised as "very high" in terms of its public health significance. In India, just 9.6 per cent of all children between 6 and 23 months of age are fed a minimum acceptable diet, it says.

The report says as of 2015-2016, around 90 per cent of Indian households used an improved drinking water source while 39 per cent of households had no sanitation facilities. Contradicting the government's claim of making India open defecation free, the report says "open defecation is still practised" in the country. "In 2014, the prime minister instituted the "Clean India" campaign to end open defecation and ensure that all households had latrines. Even with new latrine construction, however, open defecation is still practised," it adds.
Riaz Haq said…
The literacy rate increased by 1.6pc to 62.3pc in 2017-18, from 60.7pc in 2014-15, according to the Economic Survey of Pakistan launched on Monday.

The survey stated: “Pakistan social and living standards measurement (PSLM) survey could not be conducted in 2016-17 and 2017-18 on account of ‘Population & Housing Census in 2017’. However, according to Labour Force Survey 2017-18, literacy rate trends shows 62.3pc in 2017-18 (as compared to 60.7pc in 2014-15), males (from 71.6pc to 72.5pc) and females (from 49.6pc to 51.8pc).”

An area-wise analysis suggests that the literacy rate increased in both rural (51.9pc to 53.3pc) and urban (76pc to 76.6pc) areas

“It is also observed male-female disparity narrowing down with time span. Literacy rate increases in all provinces, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (54.1pc to 55.3pc), Punjab (61.9pc to 64.7pc) and Balochistan (54.3pc to 55.5pc) except in Sindh (63.0pc to 62.2pc) where marginal decrease has been observed.”

Education expenditure

The survey said that expenditure on education was estimated at 2.4pc of GDP in 2017-18, compared to 2.2pc in 2016-17.

Education experts have called for at least 4pc of the GDP to go towards education.

The survey said the government is “committed” to increasing financial resources for education. It said education expenditure has risen gradually since 2013-14.


While discussing enrolment at the school and college level, the survey said that an increase of 7.3pc was observed in pre-primary enrolment at the national level, which increased 12.27 million in 2017-18 compared to 11.4m in 2016-17.

It said there were a total of 172,200 functioning primary schools – grades one to five – in 2017-18, with 519,000 teachers across the country. These schools had an overall enrolment of 22.9m students, an increase of 5.5pc from the previous year.

There were 46,800 middle schools in 2017-18, with 438,600 teachers and enrolment of 7.3m, an increase of 4.3pc from the enrolment level in 2016-17. Enrolment is estimated to increase by another 3.7pc to 7.6m in 2018-19.

There were a total of 30,900 high schools with 556,600 teachers functioning in the country in 2017-18. High school enrolment, at 3.9m, represents an increase of 7.4pc from the enrolment level of 3.6m in 2016-17.

High school enrolment is estimated to increase by another 6.6pc to 4.1m in 2018-19.

They survey said there were a total of 5,200 higher secondary schools and intermediate colleges with a teacher population of 121,900 in 2017-18.

It said the overall enrolment of 1.75m in these schools was a healthy increase of 9.8pc from the enrolment level in 2016-17. Enrolment is expected to rise to 1.84m, by another 5pc, in 2018-19.

A total of 3,700 technical and vocational institutes with 18,200 teachers were functional in 2017-18. The enrolment of 433,200 represents an increase of 25.6pc from the previous year. Enrolment is projected to increase by 8.7pc during 2018-19.

There were 1,657 degree colleges in the country with 42,000 teachers in 2017-18. That year, a significant decline of 47.3pc in enrolment to 503,800 was observed at the enrolment level, which is projected to decrease further by 4.3pc in 2018-19.

There were 186 universities in 2017-18, the survey said, with 56,900 teachers and a total enrolment of 1.6 million. Enrolment was 7.7pc higher than in previous years, but the survey said: “The growth in enrolment however is projected to decline by 0.2pc in 2018-19.”
Riaz Haq said…
#WHO's Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala has lauded #Pakistan's efforts in tackling #coronavirus, noting that the country had come up "with one of the world’s best National Response Program against the virus". #COVID19 #CoronavirusPandemic #health

KARACHI: World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, lauded Pakistan's efforts in tackling coronavirus, noting that the country had come up "with one of the world’s best National Response Program against the virus".

The WHO official urged people to follow the precautionary and preventive measures to avoid contracting the lethal virus, which is extremely contagious but not as lethal as some other members of the coronavirus family.

“Pakistan has timely come up with one of the world’s best National Response Program against COVID-19 and it is being implemented very effectively. Authorities are doing their job and now it is the responsibility of the people to follow the instructions and take preventive and precautionary measures to avoid contracting the viral disease”, Dr Mahipala said while speaking exclusively to The News International during his visit to Karachi.

The WHO representative inspected the isolation ward of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) in Karachi and during his meeting with the Executive Director JPMC Dr Seemin Jamali, expressed satisfaction over steps taken by the health institute for dealing with the suspected patients. He called for more testing facilities in the public sector in case the number of patients increases.

He also visited the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Ojha Campus and inspected their diagnostic lab as well as their isolation facility, terming the health institute a "world-class diagnostic and treatment facility".

As part of his engagements in the city, Dr Mahipala also met the provincial health minister Dr Azra Pechuho and inquired about the status of diagnostic kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and offered WHO’s support in the provision of kits for the testing of suspected COVID-19 patients in Sindh.

Talking to The News at the WHO sub-office in Karachi, Dr Mahipala noted that the federal and provincial governments had arranged around 2,000 isolation beds in the country to house suspected patients while extraordinary screening arrangements had been made at the points of entry by the authorities, which were helpful measures to keep the virus away from the country.

“At the moment Pakistan has seven diagnostic labs which are capable of conducting 15,000 tests but there is a need for more diagnostic facilities in case the number of suspected patients go up,” he said.

"Authorities have even established a mobile diagnostic facility that had been dispatched to the Taftan border for testing and diagnosing suspected people coming from Iran," acknowleged the WHO official.

Highlighting the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said even countries with well-advanced health systems like South Korea and Italy failed to contain COVID-19 but added that Pakistani authorities timely responded to the threat and took measures which resulted in keeping the virus at bay for a longer time at a time when other counties were already battling a rising number of cases.

“Maintaining hand hygiene is the key to prevent oneself from contracting not only COVID-19 but also many other transmissible diseases. People should regularly wash their hands with soap and water at least for 20 seconds and use sanitisers when they can’t wash their hands”, he said adding that adopting coughing etiquettes was also very import as it would prevent spreading the virus to the others.

“And it is very important that people remain indoors for some days if they have flu-like symptoms. It would prevent other people from contracting the disease even if it is not COVID-19”, Dr Mahipala said.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan National #Security Committee Announces Country's Response to #Coronavirus Outbreak. Shuts #schools, Cancels #PakistanDayParade , closes western borders, sets up testing/isolation/quarantines at borders, bans public gatherings & big weddings.

The National Security Committee (NSC) on Friday decided to take a number of steps to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, including closing the border with Iran and Afghanistan and banning all large public gatherings.

The high-level NSC meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was attended by the provincial chief ministers and the civilian and military leadership.

Major decisions taken by the NSC:

Border with Iran, Afghanistan to be closed for two weeks
Schools shut until April 5
Large public gatherings including weddings banned for two weeks
International flights to operate only from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad
Pakistan Day parade cancelled
Remaining PSL matches to take place in empty stadiums
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza and other government officials detailed the decisions taken by the body at a press conference, with Mirza revealing that Pakistan now has 28 cases of COVID-19.

"There is a lot of speculation about the total number of cases in the country. However, I can confirm that Pakistan has 28 cases of coronavirus," said Mirza, who was accompanied by government spokesperson Firdous Ashiq Awan and PM's Special Assistant on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Moeed Yousuf.

He said the seven new cases had all been reported in Taftan among Pakistani pilgrims who have returned from Iran. All seven people are stable and recovering.

Mirza announced that Pakistan's border with Afghanistan and Iran will be closed "completely" for two weeks, following which the situation will be reviewed. During this period, the system for screening and preventing further infections from entering the country will be made stronger.

He said the first batch of pilgrims who have returned to the country from Iran has left for provinces after completing its 14-day quarantine period at the Taftan border. The details of these pilgrims will be provided to the provincial governments, which can test or place the pilgrims under quarantine again.

It was decided during the meeting that only three airports in the country — Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore — will be allowed to operate international flights, a move intended to reduce the entry points and ensure better arrangements there.

Mirza said all large public gatherings will be banned, including weddings and conferences, for a period of two weeks. Cinemas will also be closed while all remaining Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 matches will take place in empty stadiums.

The matter of whether religious congregations should be banned has been referred to the religious affairs minister and the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology. They have been tasked with consulting with all stakeholders and give their advice to the government based on which a decision will be taken, Mirza said.

Schools closed
It was decided to close all educational institutions in the country for three weeks. Education minister Shafqat Mehmood tweeted that schools will remain shut until April 5.

Mirza said the government will also request the chief justice to close civil courts and adjourn cases for a period of three weeks. Judicial magistrates and judges of sessions courts will be requested to decide criminal cases within jails while relatives of prisoners will not be able to meet them for three weeks in jails.

A media campaign will be started to brief the public regarding coronavirus prevention measures and a system will be established to prevent misinformation and relay facts to the people from a "central" source.

Riaz Haq said…
#WHO: Pakistan facing major COVID-19 challenge but Pakistan has also demonstrated time and again with dengue, polio and other diseases how all of the government and society’s approaches can be made to work. #Coronavirus #Pakistan #WorldHealthOrganization

With Pakistan confirming seven new novel coronavirus cases, the World Health Organisation has warned that the country faces great challenge ahead to contain the viral outbreak.

The statement came at virtual press conference by WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Executive Director Dr Michael J Ryan, and Technical lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove from a boardroom in Geneva late Friday.

Responding to a question by The Express Tribune on the epidemiological outlook for Pakistan, Dr Ryan said the country has great capacity in public health. “But there are also challenges,” he added. “Pakistan has a highly mobile population with mega cities and undeserved people.”

“So there is a great challenge facing Pakistan. But Pakistan has also demonstrated time and again with dengue, polio and other diseases how all of the government and society’s approaches can be made to work.”

Dr Ryan fondly remembered his time on the anti-polio campaign in Pakistan working with National Emergency Operations Coordinator Rana Safdar. “I have personally worked in Pakistan for the polio eradication for nearly three years,” he reminisced. “And [I] enjoyed my time working with some excellent Pakistani colleagues.”

The WHO executive director extended the body’s assistance and backed “fine public health servants” in the country to contain the outbreak.

Dr Kerkhove noted that Asian countries dealt with the outbreak aggressively and saw success. But she warned that even though the virus seemed to be slowing down, it may come back.

The WHO panel stated that it was ‘impossible’ to say when COVID-19 pandemic will peak.

Until the filing of this report, Pakistan’s tally of confirmed Covid-19 cases stood at 28 with 15 patients testing positive in Sindh, five in Gilgit-Baltistan, one in Balochistan and seven at the Taftan border.

All 28 patients are individuals with recent travel history.

Until Friday morning, at least 251 people had been tested in Sindh, 110 in Punjab, 30 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 18 in Balochistan, nine in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and 32 in G-B. So far Punjab, K-P, AJK and federal territories have not reported any confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) to cobble a unified approach to contain the outbreak.

The huddle was attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed provincial chief ministers, top advisors and cabinet members.

It was decided to close borders with Iran and Afghanistan, allow only three airports – Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore – to operate international flights in limited numbers while other airports will see domestic flights, and ban public gatherings.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been tasked to coordinate with provincial governments and lead the fight against novel coronavirus. It was also decided to close all educational institutions until April 5.

In a first, the Pakistan Day parade on March 23 have also been cancelled.
Riaz Haq said…
Ticking Bomb of #Coronavirus? "..India will have a national disaster in a few weeks to months. SouthAsian nations have fragile & skimpy health management capacity in the best of times" #India has reported 102 cases, 2 deaths so far. #SouthAsia via @ozy

The world’s most densely populated region, South Asia is home to a quarter of the planet’s people, yet has so far reported just 169 cases, or a little more than one in every thousand of the total 156,000 patients globally. India has reported 102 cases, Pakistan 31, Afghanistan 11, Maldives 10, Sri Lanka 10, Bangladesh 3 and one each in Bhutan and Nepal. Two people — both in India — have died.

But growing evidence suggests that the virus is far more widespread in the region, sparking concerns among leading public health experts and virologists that South Asia might be a time bomb waiting to explode. The region’s countries have focused their prevention strategy on scrutiny of incoming travelers at their international airports. India, for instance, said in early March it had screened 650,000 arriving passengers over the previous five weeks. But it was watching the vast majority for visible symptoms, and fewer than 1 percent actually underwent tests. And several cases appear to have slipped past, coming to notice only later, after they had been in contact with dozens of people.

On March 8, the Kerala government declared three confirmed cases of the virus — people who had returned from Italy more than a week earlier. A 76-year-old American tourist was diagnosed with COVID-19 in Bhutan, after he had spent several days previously in India, traveling up the Brahmaputra river on a houseboat. Bangladesh’s first three cases of the coronavirus were all people who had recently returned from Italy but weren’t identified as positive at the airport. The cases in Pakistan too — all involving recent travel to Iran or Italy — weren’t detected at airports.

Last week, the Indian government suspended most visas for foreigners until April 15, a drastic step that appeared to acknowledge its failure in screening visitors at airports. It has also banned passengers and crew from all foreign cruise ships until March 31. And on Friday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on his other South Asian counterparts to prepare a joint regional strategy to combat the virus.


What makes the challenge even more acute in the region is the lack of adequate basic facilities such as personal protective equipment, ventilators or intensive care units, says John. That makes any move to random testing among communities, as a strategy, difficult for countries like those in South Asia. It also means that death rates among vulnerable populations — such as patients who also have pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome — could eventually prove higher in India than in the West, he adds.

A flood of misinformation over claimed cures that has swept the region is also worrying doctors and scientists. In India, some legislators have claimed cow urine and cow dung could heal you from the coronavirus — assertions with no scientific basis. India’s government has suggested that a cocktail of six herbs could help treat the virus. Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, a misleading Facebook post suggested an incorrect way of wearing face masks.

The spread of misinformation, on top of the coronavirus, is a scenario South Asia — and the world — can ill afford.
Riaz Haq said…
Can Pakistan's 88% BCG vaccination rate against tuberculosis (TB) help reduce the impact of coronavirus? A New York Institute of Technology study using data from 178 countries has concluded that both the incidence and mortality of COVID-19 are significantly lower in countries with BCG vaccination programs against TB. Will this study help prove Dawn News' alarming forecast of over 2 million
confirmed cases by June 1 and 20 million actual infections wrong?

Scientists have speculated that BCG vaccine may boost the innate immune system not just against TB but also against a variety of other pathogens from invading the body or from establishing an infection. Here are some of the key findings of the study summarized below:

1. Countries that do not have a BCG vaccination policy against TB have seen 10X greater incidence and deaths from Covid-19 than the countries that do, according to a study of data from 178 countries by New York Institute of Technology researchers.

2. BCG, or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, is a vaccine for tuberculosis (TB). It is administered at birth in many developing countries that have historically suffered from the disease, such as India and Pakistan. Most of the developed nations, including US, Italy and the Netherlands do not have universal TB vaccination programs. Japan is among the few developed OECD nations that still do. The East Asian nation had some of the earlier cases, but the mortality is low despite not having adopted some the more stringent social distancing rules.

3. The study looked at Covid-19 instances and mortality for 15 days between March 9 and 24 in 178 countries and concluded that incidence of Covid-19 was 38.4 per million in countries with BCG vaccination compared to 358.4 per million in the absence of such a program.

4. The death rate was 4.28 per million in countries with BCG programs compared to 40 per million in countries without such a program. Out of the 178 countries studied, 21 had no vaccination program, while the status was unclear in 26 countries. The latter group was treated as not having a policy for the purpose of this study.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan's average daily per capita calorific intake was estimated by ADB at 2,440 kcal in 2013. Cereals accounted for 48% of daily calorific intake in 2013. Calorific intake from animal sources comprised 22%, while fruit and vegetables accounted for 2%. The average daily per capita protein consumption was estimated at 65.5 grams, while the average dietary energy supply adequacy was estimated to be 108% in 2015-2017.

Approximately 46% of agricultural production comes from the cropping sector, compared with 54% from livestock. Buffalo meat was the single most valuable commodity produced in Pakistan in 2016 at around $9.8 billion. Other important commodities produced included buffalo's milk ($9.4 billion), wheat ($7.4 billion), beef ($5.5 billion), cotton ($3.3 billion), and chicken meat ($3.2 billion).

Sugarcane was the largest crop produced with 65 million tons in 2016. Other important products included wheat (26 million tons), rice (10.2 million tons), maize (6.1 million tons), and cotton (5.3 million tons). Around 4.5 million tons of fertilizers were used in Pakistan in 2016, and a further 913,000 tons were imported into the country that year.

Pakistan's livestock sub-sector, on the other hand, has demonstrated steady growth, especially in the face of increasing demand for livestock products due to a growing and rapidly urbanized population.

The country's livestock sub-sector represents approximately 56% of value addition in agriculture and employs roughly 30 million people. Despite the increased production of poultry products, its external trade is low and has not realized the potential experienced in other livestock sub-sectors. In 2016, total poultry exports were valued at $2.7 million.

Pakistan imported $7.1 billion worth of agricultural goods in 2016, compared with $3.7 billion in agricultural exports. Pakistan's main agricultural export commodities were rice ($1.7 billion), wheat flour ($173 million), tangerines and mandarins ($158 million), beef ($155 million), sugar ($123 million), and dates ($103 million). Palm oil was Pakistan's main food import at $1.7 billion, followed by cotton lint ($581 million), tea ($490 million), rapeseed ($464 million), soybeans ($383 million), and coffee ($329 million).
Riaz Haq said…
Estimation of Per Capita Food Consumption Patterns and Related Poverty
in Swat villege of Kabal in Pakistan

To analyze the per capita food consumption and related poverty, village Kabal a rural area of district Swat, Pakistan was selected. The average household size, based on 100 households was estimated as 6.5. It appears that on average an adult equivalent takes 372.51 g of flour, 74.68 g of meat, 70.29 g of rice, 177.12 g of vegetables, 28.31 g of pulses, 66.39 g of fruits, 166.34 g of milk, 53.60 g of fats, 6.76 g of black tea, and 73.21 g of sugar daily. Moreover, an average household spends Rs.16714.45 of their monthly income on food consumption. An individual member (adult-equivalent) of the surveyed household takes food, yielding 2857.27 calories per day. Since an adult person needs 2350 calories daily to live a normal life, this level is thus considered as the base to determine whether a person is on, above or below the poverty line. Based on average calorie intake, the surveyed households are found, on average, above poverty line (PL=1.2). The poverty status of the households surveyed shows that out of 100 households studied, 68.3% are above, 23.31% below, and 8.39% on the poverty line.


Pakistan has made significant progress in increasing the per capita
availability of all major food items like cereals, meat, milk, sugar, and
eggs over time. Seasonal vegetables like cabbage, brinjal, ladyfinger,
onion, cucumber, better guard, tomato etc. [2]. Population with high
income consume more beef, mutton, poultry, and fruits. In pulses
mung, masoor, beans, and g while in tea black tea and green tea and
milk are the pillar of food consumption in rural and urban population
of Pakistan as a result, the average per capita calorie intake increased
from 2078 in 1949-50 to 2450 in 2012-13. Similar trends have been
reported for protein and fats
Riaz Haq said…
Per capita nutrition supply in India among the lowest in the world

When demand is low, an increase in local production need not translate into increased availability as a larger portion of the produce may be exported. In India’s case, it also depends on changes in government stocks. The Economic Survey show that net cereal production has hardly changed at 465gm per person per day from 2000 to 2013. However, per capita availability of cereals has increased from 422gm in 2000 to 468gm in 2013. However, it was largely a function of changes in government stocks. In the previous two years, availability of cereals was lower at about 410gm per person per day.

The average Indian had access to 2,455 kcal per day with protein and fat availability at 60gm and 52.1gm, respectively, according to OECD. This is far lower than the at least 3,000 kcal per day availability for OECD nations. Things have also not improved since the beginning of this century (see chart 3). Factors such as wastage of stocks are also to blame for poor availability. For instance, Food Corporation of India data show 3,000 tonnes of foodgrains were damaged in 2015-16. In 2014-15, quantity of damaged grains stood at 19,000 tonnes .
Riaz Haq said…
In this (coronavirus) race, Pakistan also joined on February 26, 2020 when a citizen entered the border with Iran. Public transportation is found more than other borders on this border, because Shia people travel to the place of Karbala through Iran for visitors. After China, Iran was suffering from this disease thousands of visitors were standing in front of the interior doors of Pakistan. The first case spread a wave of concern within the provincial governments with government members. The lack was showing an increase in the anxiety of the higher authorities. But one of the charismas of power was that in 23 days less than 1,000 people were affected, while the number reached thousands in the United States and China.

After a month, the number reached about 1600. Pakistan was divided into seven parts regionally, in which the number of confirmed cases in Punjab is 2171, sindh 1036, Khyber pakhtunkhwa 560, gilgit-baltistan 213, balochistan 212, Islamabad 102 and azad Kashmir have registered 28 cases. According to the government database, confirmed cases 4322, the number of healthy patients are 572 and the number of worried people is 31. The number of people who are living in poverty is 63. The number of people working in the daily wages is limited to home. All sources of trade and global transportation have been closed. The government has stopped the country to prevent it .I understood the lockdown as a result of which the spread of the virus was considerably lower than other countries.

The positive case on the border of Tiftan created such a wave of fear that life took place in the snow. The people who were surrounded by people were also looking for food. The streets of the desert business became a jam. All the businesses were stuck except for food items.The Pakistani economy has suffered a loss of 30 billion Pakistani rupees. The country’s deficit of $180 to 185 million is also in view of the lockdown. The deficit is touching the sky, but 13 million people will lose jobs. 3 to 5 million people will suffer structural unemployment.

The rate of unemployment will increase by 45-50 percent. In this war from the house to the youth, everyone is divided into the next front. From the crowd to the mosques, the ban was applied. The people of the army and the police vehicles are forcing the people to stay confined to the houses. After the implementation of section 144, the market is deserted and the human being is showing trouble. To avoid the shortage of food, the government has approved the budget of the largest country of 1200 billion.Which includes deserving and working on daily wages. In the foreign aid, Pakistani friend China took the most part. $40 million was announced by the government of China. With 12000 test kits, 30000 fee masks and 10000 safety suits are also included.

The social worker and alibaba foundation sent 50 thousand test kits and 50 thousand masks to the Pakistani people. $4 million Chinese aid will be spent on establishing hospitals and qarntina centers and completing medical accessories. In view of the situation, the Pakistani nation’s war along with Karina Empty stomach and salafis are also from masters who look at their facebook or twitter account information in exchange for a mask in street coaches, where they are seen to be stopped to take help with the poor. 1 crore 20 lakh families will be sponsored for rs 4,000 a month. You have to use the network 3 times for government assistance, you have to spend about 7 to 8 rupees for this stage yet 4 Rs 30 lakh 44 thousand 60 SMS has been received.

Riaz Haq said…
March 16, 2020—Aisha Yousafzai, associate professor of global health (at Harvard University), is the principal investigator of two large randomized controlled trials focused on early childhood development in Pakistan—Pakistan Early Child Development Scale-Up (PEDS) and Youth Leaders for Early Childhood Assuring Children are Prepared for School (LEAPS).

What do you see as policy and research priorities in early childhood development?

We know that young children need good health, proper nutrition, and early learning opportunities. But they also need security and stability. It’s important that they have consistent caregivers in early life who they can trust and rely on. When children don’t have these things, it can be harmful to their development and impact their health and future prospects.

Policies that support families and help children thrive include investing in parenting programs and ensuring access to good quality, affordable child care and parental leave. And we should not be separating children from their caregivers who provide safe stable nurturing care.

We still need to better understand what works for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, such as those living through a humanitarian crisis. It’s not enough to focus just on the immediate emergency phase. We need to address the long-term needs of these children and their families. Another understudied population is children with developmental delays and disabilities. We need to look at how to strengthen health care systems to address their needs.

What results have you found from PEDS and LEAPS?

In the PEDS trial, we wanted to see if Pakistan’s Lady Health Workers (LHW) program—which provides home visits to promote health and nutrition in mothers and young children—could also effectively promote children’s development. Community health worker interventions like the LHW program were set up in recent decades in low- and middle-income countries to promote child survival. Now that we are seeing improvements in child survival in many countries, we need to think about how these programs can deliver interventions beyond survival that help children thrive.

For this study, we adapted a curriculum developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, and evaluated it in a randomized controlled trial. Results were favorable up to age two, and some of the benefits to children’s cognitive-language and motor development were sustained at age four.

But alarm bells were raised when we saw that only about a quarter of children in rural communities had access to preschool—and even those who did weren’t necessarily getting quality education.

That challenged us to think about the continuity of services for children, from the first 1,000 days of life to the early years of education and beyond. We developed a way to address the need for better preschool in Pakistan that also helped fill a gap in training and employment for young women. Working with Pakistan’s National Commission on Human Development, we established a training program for women ages 18–24 to become preschool teachers (LEAPS) and placed trainees in villages with no established preschool services.

Our pilot found that this program provided a good school readiness benefit for children as well as a boost to youth employment. Now, we’re scaling up across four districts, and also looking at how well the country’s education system is able to absorb this intervention.
Riaz Haq said…
Bilawal repeats challenge to govt on hospitals

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Wednesday repeated his challenge to the government on hospitals saying that it had been 72 hours since he had challenged the PTI to name a government hospital on a par with the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) they have made in last nine years.

Bilawal tweeted his challenge and said he was still awaiting a response from the PTI to name any government hospital, which they had built in last nine years.

"It’s been 72 hours since I challenged PTI to name ONE government hospital they have made in the last 9 years that can compete with any of the hospitals they are trying to steal from Sindh; like NICVD. Still waiting.”

He also posted the pictures of 10 hospitals across Sindh which provide free of cost treatment to all including the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Karachi; Chest Pain Unit, Lyari; NICVD, Khairpur; NICVD, Tando Muhammad Khan; NICVD, Mithi; NICVD Larkana; NICVD, Nawabshah, NICVD, Sujjur; NICVD, Sehwan; and NIVCD, Hyderabad.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Literacy rate increased by only 2pc in last four years

Pakistan has not made any tangible improvement in literacy rate which increased only 2pc during the last four years and at present stands at 60pc.

“A literacy rate of only 60pc considerably limits opportunities towards acquiring skills and technical knowledge for higher productivity and better-earning levels,” says Economic Survey released on Thursday.

It said according to the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) Survey 2018-19, the literacy rate of the population (10 years and above) is 60pc compared to 58pc in 2015-16.

“The literacy rate is higher in urban areas (74pc) than in rural areas (51pc),” read the survey. Province-wise analysis suggests that Punjab has the highest literacy rate with 64pc followed by Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (excluding the merged tribal areas) with 57pc, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including merged areas) with 55pc and Balochistan with 40pc.

The Economic Survey said large investments in education access and quality are required to obtain the objective of educated and skilled human resources, along with comprehensive planning, removal of gender inequalities, and enforcing more accountability in the sector.

Education plays a leading role in improving the economic condition of the country and is a vital investment for human and economic development.

The survey while pointing out overall assessment in education sector said that overall education situation based on institutes, and teachers, have shown a slight improvement. It said the total number of enrolments during 2017-18 was recorded at 51 million compared to 47.6 million during the same period last year, which shows an increase of 7.1pc.

The survey while highlighting uniform education system, said that present government is making efforts to introduce single national curriculum with the aim to eliminate the disparity between curriculums, facilities, medium of instruction, and have a fair and equal opportunity for all children to receive a high-quality education.

Phase-I of single national curriculum (for class 1-5) has been developed, and its implementation would be completed by March 2021. Similarly, phase-II of single national curriculum (for class 6-8) would be ready by March 2021 and implemented by March 2022, while the phase-III curriculum (for class 9-12) would be ready by March 2022 and implemented by March 2023.

While discussing, Net Enrolment Rates Net Enrolment Rates (NER), primary level refers to the number of students enrolled in primary schools of age 6 to 10 yea group, the survey said that NRE saw slight improvement as it was 66pc in 2015-16 and now for year 2018-19 it was recorded 66pc.
Riaz Haq said…
WHO Credits Pakistan's Community Health Program For Success Against COVID19

Pakistan Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) has been on the frontline in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic ever since its assets — including surveillance, data, and communication capabilities — were rerouted by the government in March 2020. Their surveillance system has been adopted for COVID-19 contact tracing, tracking the disease’s spread, and creating awareness on prevention and containment. Active surveillance for influenza-like illness (ILI), severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), and suspected COVID-19 cases has been integrated into the ongoing acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) active and passive surveillance system used in the fight against polio. For contact tracing to work, the community needs to be involved. Since polio staff are already trained for door-to-door campaigns and carrying out risk perception in the community, it is now mobilizing defense against the fast-spreading virus. “We have found significant positives amongst those traced via contact tracing and thus it has impacted on reducing further spread via self isolation, education and sensitization of the contacts,” said Dr. Sultan. “Quantification is sometimes not easy, but is being analyzed to see if a numerical value could be assigned with confidence.”
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Reading Project declared int’l literacy program of year

The United States Library of Congress Friday announced the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) literacy programme, “Pakistan Reading Project,” as the 2020 recipient of the International Literacy Programme of the Year.

According to a press statement issued here by the US Embassy, over the past seven years, and working in tandem with Pakistani education officials, USAID’s Pakistan Reading Project has improved the reading skills of 1.7 million Pakistani students by delivering reading instructional materials to classrooms, training teachers in new instruction techniques, and encouraging schools to dedicate more classroom time for reading.

This early grade literacy project has also worked closely with the government of Pakistan to improve policies and systems for early grade reading across national, provincial, and local levels, said the statement.

“We’re very honoured and pleased that the Pakistan Reading Project is this year’s Library of Congress recipient of this International Literacy Award,” said USAID/Pakistan Mission Director Julie Koenen.

“The programme has proved to be a cornerstone of our partnership with Pakistan in education by increasing the literacy rates across the country and improving the reading of so many Pakistani students,” said Koenen.

In 2013, the Library of Congress created the Literacy Awards to honour organizations working to promote literacy and reading in the United States and internationally. The project’s implementing partner, the International Relief Committee, will receive $50,000 from the Library of Congress for winning this.


Pakistan Reading Project’s strategy is threefold: improve learning environments for reading in the classroom, advance policies and systems for reading instruction and rally community-based support for reading. In doing so, the project intends to reach 1.3 million students in grades one and two with reading interventions, not to mention training more than 23,000 teachers in reading instruction and developing reading curricula for more than 100 collegiate teaching programs.

From scholarships and grants for students pursuing teaching degrees to mobile bus libraries that bring books directly to children and their communities, the Pakistan Reading Program aims to comprehensively integrate reading into the lives of Pakistani children. The holistic approach of incorporating reading into both the institutional and communal lives of Pakistanis ensures the sustainability of the project’s efforts. In this way, children in Pakistan will be developmentally prepared for educational challenges they will face throughout their lives and consequently better able to pursue their goals and break from the cycle of poverty.
Riaz Haq said…
Human Development Report 2020
The Next Frontier:
Human Development and the Anthropocene
Briefing note for countries on the 2020 Human Development Report

My reading: Deep in the report in table F they show the extreme income poverty of 3.9% in Pakistan, the lowest in South Asia region. Income poverty in India is 21.2% and Bangladesh 14.8%. The average for South Asia is 18.2%.

Pakistan’s HDI value for 2019 is 0.557— which put the country in the medium human development
category—positioning it at 154 out of 189 countries and territories.
Between 1990 and 2019, Pakistan’s HDI value increased from 0.402 to 0.557, an increase of 38.6 percent.
Table A reviews Pakistan’s progress in each of the HDI indicators. Between 1990 and 2019, Pakistan’s
life expectancy at birth increased by 7.2 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.9 years and
expected years of schooling increased by 3.7 years. Pakistan’s GNI per capita increased by about 64.1
percent between 1990 and 2019.


The 2010 Human Development Report introduced the MPI, which identifies multiple overlapping
deprivations suffered by individuals in 3 dimensions: health, education and standard of living. The health
and education dimensions are based on two indicators each, while standard of living is based on six
indicators. All the indicators needed to construct the MPI for a country are taken from the same
household survey. The indicators are weighted to create a deprivation score, and the deprivation scores
are computed for each individual in the survey. A deprivation score of 33.3 percent (one-third of the
weighted indicators) is used to distinguish between the poor and nonpoor. If the deprivation score is
33.3 percent or greater, the household (and everyone in it) is classified as multidimensionally poor.
Individuals with a deprivation score greater than or equal to 20 percent but less than 33.3 percent are
classified as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty. Finally, individuals with a deprivation score greater
than or equal to 50 percent live in severe multidimensional poverty.
Since 2018, HDRO and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative jointly produce and
publish the MPI estimates. The latest release from July 2020 covers 107 developing countries (countries
that lack survey data that allow for the calculation of the MPI are not included): ‘Charting pathways out
of multidimensional poverty: Achieving the SDGs’ (also available in French and Spanish). Definitions of
deprivations in each indicator, as well as methodology of the MPI are given in Technical note 5.
Continuing with the practice from the previous years, HDRO is making public the statistical programs
used in the calculation of the 2020 MPI for a large selection of countries (see
The most recent survey data that were publicly available for Pakistan’s MPI estimation refer to
2017/2018. In Pakistan, 38.3 percent of the population (81,352 thousand people) are multidimensionally
poor while an additional 12.9 percent are classified as vulnerable to multidimensional poverty (27,419
thousand people). The breadth of deprivation (intensity) in Pakistan, which is the average deprivation
score experienced by people in multidimensional poverty, is 51.7 percent. The MPI, which is the share
of the population that is multidimensionally poor, adjusted by the intensity of the deprivations, is 0.198.
Bangladesh and India have MPIs of 0.104 and 0.123, respectively.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s Ehsaas program

Welcome to the collision of Riyasat-e-Medina with 21st century public policy tools. In the largest cash transfer in Pakistan’s history, 15 million Pakistani households received Rs12,000 each during Covid-19 without a whiff of corruption. That’s around 100 million Pakistanis benefiting if you multiply by size of household (roughly half the country’s population). Beneficiaries were identified through data rather than political patronage (with opposition-run Sindh benefiting the most from a PTI government programme). This revolution will not be televised or tweeted because the beneficiaries of Ehsaas don’t have a voice in the public square. But this is a real revolution — a revolution for the people.


Welcome to the collision of Riyasat-e-Medina with 21st century public policy tools. In the largest cash transfer in Pakistan’s history, 15 million Pakistani households received Rs12,000 each during Covid-19 without a whiff of corruption. That’s around 100 million Pakistanis benefiting if you multiply by size of household (roughly half the country’s population). Beneficiaries were identified through data rather than political patronage (with opposition-run Sindh benefiting the most from a PTI government programme). This revolution will not be televised or tweeted because the beneficiaries of Ehsaas don’t have a voice in the public square. But this is a real revolution — a revolution for the people.
And this is only one slice of Ehsaas. Here’s some more flavour: two million underprivileged families with a disabled person will receive Rs2000 stipend a month; 80,000 interest-free loans are being given every month, over four years, half of them reserved for women, to help them start new businesses and graduate out of poverty; and 50,762 undergraduate scholarships have been given to deserving students so far, with the number expected to go up to 200,000 students over four years.
Additionally, let’s talk about an education conditional cash transfer programme that provides stipend to underprivileged families to encourage their children to go to school. Children of poorest families are provided conditional cash grants of Rs1,500 for boy child and Rs2,000 for girl child per quarter on fulfilment of 70% attendance in school. Payments are made biometrically to mothers of children.
Ehsaas Amdan is a programme through which assets are given to the deserving (60% women) to enable them to graduate out of poverty. For the purpose of this programme, assets include livestock (goats, cows, buffaloes and poultry), agricultural inputs, body of Chingchi rickshaws, and inputs for small retail outlets and small enterprises. Amdan is being implemented in 25 of the poorest districts across the four provinces of Pakistan. More than a million people will benefit from this four-year programme.
Riaz Haq said…
The project approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) includes Rs45 billion for new healthcare facilities, Rs7 billion for national health surveillance, Rs13 billion water sanitation, hygiene as well as interventions in less developed areas, said Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar.

Besides the healthcare project, the economic body also approved several projects regarding infrastructural and human development, education and water resources worth around Rs209 billion.

Focus on heath amid pandemic
Pakistan is investing in stronger health systems after the coronavirus pandemic unveiled the shortcomings of the country’s health system. The government’s focus is on strengthening the health system and engaging communities to protect people from future health threats. Pakistan government has also allocated $250 million initial funds for the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine and has announced to provide coronavirus vaccines free of charge to its citizens.

Universal health coverage
Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to improve healthcare spending and also announced universal health coverage for all citizens for the first time in Pakistan. The programme, first initiated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in 2020, would soon be extended to other provinces. Under the universal health insurance programme, each family would be entitled to medical treatment of up to Rs1 million ($6,000) a year at over 250 government and private hospitals across Pakistan.

“The development of the Universal Health Coverage benefit Package of Pakistan and its implementation will become the cornerstone of health reforms across Pakistan” believes PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan.


The government plans to establish 48 nutrition centres under its Ehsaas programme to overcome common health problems like stunting, underweight and overweight in children under five years of age, especially in under-developed and poor areas of the country.

Under this programme, nutrition/health services and conditional cash transfers will be made available to mothers and children. In the beginning, these centres will be set up in 13 districts.

This was decided at a meeting of the Ehsaas Na­­shonuma (nutrition) Steer­ing Committee presided over by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on So­­cial Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar here on Monday.

The meeting was informed that the programme was being implemented in partnership with the World Food Programme and provincial governments. The participants of the meeting discussed issues related to coordination between the parties which will implement the programme and how to effectively address the issue of undergrowth and malnutrition in the country.

The meeting was infor­med that it is a three-year programme which delivers conditional cash transfers to vulnerable pregnant women, mothers and children under five and provide them specialised nutritious food, immunisations and health-awareness sessions.

Representatives from the federal and provincial ministries, Foreign Commonwealth and Deve­lopment Office, Wor­­­­­ld Bank, World Food Pro­gramme, Wor­ld Health Orga­nisation, Asian Develo­p­ment Bank and Unicef atten­ded the meeting. Nutri­tion under the Ehsaas progra­mme aims to support multi-sectoral stra­tegies through poor-friendly programmes by targeting mothers and children.
Riaz Haq said…
Growing moringa to cure malnutrition in Sindh

Plant nursery managers in Sindh have started to understand the growing demand and importance of moringa (oleifera) tree, because of its nutritional and medicinal value.

Nursery managers collect moringa seeds from neighbourhood trees and also buy from the local markets. Hundreds of plants are readily available for sale at the nurseries to meet the rising demand from the locals.

Alisher Hajano, associated with the government's social forestry department, near the famous Mayani forest, Hyderabad said, “It is only recently that this tree got popularity at a larger scale.”

Each nursery at the highway grows as much as 10,000 to 50,000 plants of moringa for contributing to annual tree plantation drives. Many people mostly use leaves and pods as organic food.

Hajano receives a number of people from different areas demanding two-five kilogram of fresh leaves to cure some ailments. He doesn’t own mature trees himself, and procures the product from neighbouring villages.

Moringa leaves are dried by these people at room temperature, to later use for curing some diseases. “I know many entrepreneurs in the neighbouring villages, who sell moringa fresh and dried leaves, powder and roots, which they prepare at homes and farms. They also consume fresh and dried leaves, pods and roots themselves as an organic vegetable,” he said.

In the past, people preferred planting neem and other varieties of fruit trees at home and workplaces, but now they prefer moringa trees because of its various uses.

Moringa tree saplings are available at almost all private nurseries for Rs20-80 each, depending on size and health.

Various government and non-governmental organisations have taken initiatives to tackle malnutrition via community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM). However, very few long-term interventions have been noted that are linked to building the capacity of local communities, especially in the areas of cropping, plantations and livelihood mechanisms.

After realising the importance of moringa in eradicating malnutrition, many organisations have taken different steps to promote this magical tree on a larger scale, while also disbursing knowledge and awareness about its usage as food and for curing health problems.

A report of Sindh Agriculture University (SAU) Tandojam shows that they had initiated a project in Tharparkar district, to address the issue of malnutrition. The university had planted 5,000 moringa trees with 500 households, believing in its nutritious value for both humans and livestock.

Residents of Thar Desert, due to inherent structural poverty, poor socioeconomic indicators and limited livelihood options, suffer from chronic food insecurity. Moringa tree is considered the best substitute to provide necessary nutrition to children under five, and pregnant and lactating mothers.

The report said that 5,000 mature trees would be sufficient not only for the communities’ own consumption, but also for their livestock. Apart from this, parts of the tree could be used to treat various diseases.

Muhammad Siddiq, leading Rural Development Association (RDA) in Mithi, Tharparkar district claims to have planted 5,600 moringa saplings in different areas of the desert. Some plants cultivated in 2017, have now matured and people have access to fresh leaves and pods to use as vegetables.

“It is a fast growing tree and the desert area is suitable for its plantation. It has also been proved one of the best solutions to tackle malnutrition on a sustainable basis,” he said.

There are more species of moringa, but oleifera is said to be more effective with medicinal properties. The tree is highly rich in nutrients, which are required by children under the age of five and pregnant and lactating mothers.
Riaz Haq said…
1. More than 4.5 million children are enrolled in Sindh's schools
2. 133,000 teachers have been appointed for 49,103 schools
3. In 26,260 schools, facility for drinking water is not available

More than 10,000 government schools are nonfunctional in Sindh, the Reform and Support of the Sindh Education and Literacy Department has revealed in a report.

Titled "Profiting for Government Schools," the report shows data from 2018-19 and has been released after a gap of two years. According to the report, there are more than 4.5 million children enrolled in the province's schools.

The report says that 133,000 teachers have been appointed for 49,103 schools, out of which only 36,659 schools are functional.

In 26,260 schools, there is no facility for drinking water, while 19,469 are without washrooms' facility. The report further revealed that more than 31,000 schools do not have electricity.

Moreover, 21,00-plus schools do not have boundary walls, while over 47,000 schools are deprived of lab facilities, while as many as 36,000 do not have playgrounds.

It is pertinent to mention here that a chunk of schools, more than 47,000, do not have libraries in them — a necessary facility for students' grooming.

The report said that 2,812,000 male and 1,749,140 female students were enrolled in the schools.

As many as 2,91,9862 students are enrolled in primary, 185,047 in middle, 140,032 in elementary, 918,706 in secondary, and 397,493 in higher secondary schools.

Meanwhile, out of the total 49,103 school buildings in the province, 14,998 are considered to be in satisfactory conditions, 8,426 are weary, while 14,977 need repairs.


25.2pc of revenue to be spent on education, says Murad

While presenting Sindh’s education budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 on Wednesday, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that the budget of education sector, in a macro perspective, had been increased to Rs244.5 billion when compared with Rs212.4bn for 2019-20.

“Despite resource constraints we have allocated funds which is 25.2 per cent of our current revenue budget,” he said.

He said that education was one of the key priority areas for the government of Sindh. “We aim at improving access to equitable, inclusive and quality education for all to realise their fullest potential and contribute to the development of society and economy, thus creating a sense of nationhood, inculcating values of tolerance, social justice and democracy in students,” he said.

He explained that in order to manage education-related functions in an efficient manner, enhance the quality of education and provide better facilities at educational institutions, the department of education was divided into two departments — the school education and literacy department (SELD) and the college education department (CED) back in 2016.

Riaz Haq said…

#Pakistan PM #ImranKhan launches initiative to feed the hungry. Free meals will be provided through Ehsaas Food Trucks at designated delivery points to people in need, especially those at risk of or experiencing #hunger. #poverty #malnutrition #Covid19

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday formally launched ‘Ehsaas Koi Bhuka Na Soye’ (No One Sleeps Hungry) initiative at a ceremony held here.

Addressing the launching ceremony, the Prime Minister regretted that there were many areas in Pakistan where people go to bed hungry.

“Most people in Pakistan are on daily wages and when they don’t get their wages, they have to sleep empty stomach,” he added.

He said that the government is starting the programme in Islamabad at the moment but it would soon reach other cities as well. “One day, these vans would feed people in entire Pakistan.”

As per the programme, cooked meals will be provided through mobile trucks at designated delivery points to people in need especially those at risk of or experiencing hunger.

Initially, the Ehsaas Food Trucks are being operated in Islamabad and Rawalpindi and at later stage this programme will be further expanded to other parts of the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the programme is a step towards a welfare state, which always cares for its poor and deserving people.

He said he always feels happy to see that deserving people are given shelter and food with honour and dignity at various Panahgahs established across the country.

He also announced to launch a subsidy programme by June this year under which money will directly be transferred to the accounts of 30 million families.

He said it will enable the poor and deserving people to procure kitchen items.

It was his dream to extend the ‘Koi Bhuka Na Soye’ programme to the whole country and “Insha Allah we will do it”, he added.

Imran Khan said a large number of philanthropists in the country desired to participate in such programmes, and he believed that the success of pilot project in the twin cities would help win their trust to contribute towards its extension across Pakistan.

He also mentioned with pride the government’s health card scheme in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Gilgit Baltistan, under which each family was entitled for medical treatment worth Rs one million from any public or private hospital.

The prime minister, in a briefing on the occasion, was informed that after extensive deliberations on different avenues, the Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (PBM) initiated the Meals on Wheels programme to tackle the extended demands of Panahgaahs.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar said the programme was aimed at providing two time hygienic packed food – lunch and dinner – to the needy individuals through real time mobile kitchens in urban and rural areas of Islamabad. The project would be later scaled up to other areas of the country.

PBM Managing Director Aon Abbas, in his briefing, said at present two Ehsaas food trucks were serving free quality cooked food at various points across the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, including hospitals, bus stations and other public places with utmost dignity. The meals were cooked, stored and distributed from the truck kitchen.

As per estimates, each food truck would feed two meals to around 2,000 people daily, and would target those, who could not reach the Panahgaahs for food.

The programme had been designed in a public private partnership mode whereby the PBM would be responsible for the operations of food trucks and Saylani Welfare International Trust would be responsible for the provision of meals.

The Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal had already been working on the component of Panahgaahs to provide food and shelter to the extremely poor and needy.It had so far established 15 Panahgaahs in different provinces.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan to get $1.3 billion #WorldBank loan for social safety net (#EhsaasKafaalat), #infrastructure & governance. Projects include 35 small rainwater-fed #groundwater recharge #dams in #Sindh: #Karachi, Jamshoro, Thatta, Dadu, & Tharparkar. #water

Pakistan has reached an agreement with World Bank to work on seven projects worth $1.3 billion aimed at improving social protection, infrastructure, and governance, a statement from the Ministry of Economic Affairs said Friday.

Minister for Economic Affairs, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar witnessed the signing ceremony of seven project agreements at the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

"This financing will support the government’s initiatives in Social Protection, Disaster and Climate Risk Management, Improving Infrastructure for Resilience, Agriculture and Food Security, Human Capital Development and Governance Sectors," the statement said.

The agreement includes the Crisis-Resilient Social Protection Programme (CRISP) worth $600 million. The objective of the programme is to support the development of a more adaptive social protection system that will contribute to future crisis-resilience among poor and vulnerable households in the country.

"The programme is focused on the key initiatives being undertaken by Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) under the Ehaas Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programmes," the statement said.

The second project worth $200 million is the Locust Emergency and Food Security Project that will introduce a set of customised activities — such as conducting locust surveillance and controlling operations, rehabilitating livelihoods of affected rural communities and farmers — to effectively address the desert locust outbreak.

The third project worth $200 million is the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Capital Investment Project.

It aims to improve the availability, utilisation, and quality of primary healthcare services and elementary education services in four districts — Peshawar, Nowshera Haripur, and Swabi — of KP that have been hosting refugees.

The Sindh Resilience Project worth $200 Million — the fourth project — is to mitigate flood and drought risks in selected areas and strengthen Sindh’s capacity to manage natural disasters and public health emergencies.

"The project will support the establishment of the Sindh Emergency Service, including the development of six divisional headquarters operational facilities, provision of equipment, and training of personnel," it said.

It will also support the construction of 35 small rainwater-fed recharge dams in drought-prone regions of Sindh including Karachi, Jamshoro, Thatta, Dadu, and Nagarparker in Tharparkar districts.

The fifth project and sixth projects, Balochistan Livelihood and Entrepreneurship, and Balochistan Human Capital Investment Projects, worth $86 million aim to promote employment opportunities for rural communities; achieve sustainability of enterprises, and improve utilisation of quality health and education services in the province.

The final and seventh project, the Supporting Institutional Interventions for Management of Refugees Project, worth $50 million, aims to improve organisational and institutional capacity for managing refugees and host communities.

Secretary Ministry of Economic Affairs Noor Ahmed signed the financing agreements on behalf of the federal government, while representatives of Sindh, KP, and Balochistan signed their respective project agreements online.

World Bank's Country Director Najy Benhassine signed the agreements on behalf of the World Bank. The country director assured his institution's continuous financial and technical support to Pakistan in a bid to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country.
Riaz Haq said…
World Bank Supports Expansion of the Ehsass Social Protection Program in Pakistan to Increase Household Resilience to Economic Shocks

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $600 million in financing from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Crisis-Resilient Social Protection Program (CRISP) that will support Pakistan to expand Ehsaas, the national poverty alleviation program, to protect vulnerable households and increase resilience to economic shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of families across Pakistan face economic hardship, particularly those working in the informal sector, who have no savings or are not covered by existing social safety net programs,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “This investment supports Ehsaas in developing an adaptive social protection system that is more efficient and offers a new model for crisis-response and increasing household resilience to future shocks.”

CRISP will facilitate the gradual expansion of Ehsaas social protection programs to better reach informal workers through an innovative, hybrid approach that blends social assistance with promotion of increased savings that informal workers, particularly women, can depend on in the event of economic shocks. It will provide a platform through which the government can rapidly respond to support the most affected households during an economic crisis.

“In the event of a crisis, a more flexible and dynamic social protection system can significantly reduce the time needed to respond to peoples’ needs as well as supporting a faster recovery,” said Amjad Zafar Khan, Task Team Leader for the Crisis-Resilient Social Protection program.

CRISP will also improve the capacity of the social registry to maintain up-to-date accurate household data and exchange data among social programs, while providing greater beneficiary choice in the biometric payment systems. It will also help Pakistan address longer-term impacts on human capital caused by the pandemic, resulting from foregone health and medical services and a substantial loss of education due to prolonged absence from schools.

To help prevent losses in human capital accumulation, which is critical to long-term resilience, CRISP leverages two existing Ehsaas programs that provide conditional cash transfers (CCT) to eligible households. These include Waseela-e-Taleem, a CCT program linked to primary school attendance and Nashonuma, a nutrition-focused CCT program aimed at improving child and maternal health, which will benefit more than three million families across the country.

The World Bank in Pakistan

Pakistan has been a member of the World Bank since 1950. Since then, the World Bank has provided $40 billion in assistance. The World Bank’s program in Pakistan is governed by the Country Partnership Strategy for FY2015-2020 with four priority areas of engagement: energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery. The current portfolio has 57 projects and a total commitment of $13 billion.

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2021
Riaz Haq said…
#WorldBank recognizes #Pakistan's #EhsaasEmergencyCash among world's largest. Pakistan is among top 5 lower middle income nations by level of #social protection spending. #Mongolia (8% of #GDP), #Zimbabwe (5%), #Bolivia (3%), #Pakistan (1.2%), Others <1%

As per World Bank’s latest report titled Social Protection and Jobs Responses to COVID-19: A Real-Time Review of Country Measures, India’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) program with over 206 million individuals covered, is the largest Covid-related cash transfer scheme worldwide. Such program is followed by three cash transfer interventions all reaching over a hundred million people, namely the US first stimulus check (160 million), Japan’s one-off universal program reaching about (116.5), and Pakistan’s Ehsaas (100.9).

The report stated that Pakistan was also among the top 5 lower-middle-income countries by level of social protection spending. The highest level of spending in lower-middle-income countries is observed in Mongolia (8% of GDP), Zimbabwe (5%), Bolivia (3%), Pakistan (1.2%), and with a range of others spending 1% of GDP.

As per the report, Pakistan’s provincial governments also implemented supportive fiscal measures from the onset of the shock, including cash grants to low-income households, tax relief, and additional health spending (including a salary increase for healthcare workers).

The government of Punjab implemented a PKR 10 billion cash grants program. The government of Sindh's measures included a cash grant.

The Government of Pakistan allocated Rs. 203 Billion (USD 1.23bn) to deliver one-time emergency cash assistance to 15 million families at risk of extreme poverty. This represents nearly 109 million people. Each family receives Rs. 12,000 (USD 75) for immediate subsistence.

The Economic Coordination Committee approved Rs. 75 billion among 6.2 million daily-wage earners with cash assistance for the daily wagers working in the formal industrial sector and who had been laid off because of the COVID-19 outbreak. It was part of the PM’s Relief Package of Rs 200 billion.

As part of the supportive fiscal measures, the Government of Pakistan implemented additional health spending. The government of Sindh's measures included a cash grant and ration distribution program of PKR 1.5 billion for low-income households.

The report stated that a relief package worth PKR 1.2 trillion was announced by the federal government on March 24, which has been almost fully implemented. The economic package earmarked resources for accelerated procurement of wheat (PKR 280 billion), financial support to utility stores (PKR 50 billion), a reduction in regulated fuel prices (with a benefit for end-consumers estimated at PKR 70 billion), support for health and food supplies (PKR 15 billion), electricity bill payments relief (PKR 110 billion.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in April last year approved the deferment of monthly and quarterly fuel adjustments in the electricity bills for power consumers for the next three months (till June 2020) under the government relief package. 06 April 2020 Power Division has reportedly prepared power tariff freezing for three months aimed at minimizing the financial burden on the Coronavirus-hit consumers, estimated financial impact of which will be Rs 381 billion, stated the report.

Riaz Haq said…
Is Covid-19 a turning point in social protection?

A number of social protection interventions, monetary interventions such as a cut in policy rate by the central bank, and flexible credit facilities were introduced by the government. Most notably, it introduced the Ehsaas Emergency Cash (EEC) programme, covering 5 million existing Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries and new temporary beneficiaries who were either uncovered or ineligible before the pandemic. Identified through an SMS campaign, many of the new beneficiaries are daily labourers and informal workers whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the corona-induced economic downturn. An immediate cash relief of Rs.12,000 was extended by the government to these families. Moreover, the Prime Minister launched a web-portal soliciting applications from those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and committed the Prime Minister’s Covid Pandemic Relief Fund to those qualifying for aid. These funds are being disbursed through the EEC programme.

When analysing the shock responsive social protection pathways, the following points are important to consider. Pakistan already has a social safety net in place which targets the poorest quintile of the population. Therefore, it might have been ideal to expand on the already existing cash transfer programmes. In that instance, a lot of people, including daily wage labourers, who have been adversely impacted by this pandemic crisis but weren’t part of any existing social safety net might have missed out. Hence, it was imperative to reach out to people who were not part of such safety nets, but desperately needed support.

In such a scenario, one option was to give out a one-time universal payment, such as in developed countries, but that means some of the money would have gone out to the undeserving people as well. Keeping in view the limited resources, this wasn’t a viable option and the approach of targeted support was better suited. Hence, the EEC programme that leveraged on the existing Ehsaas infrastructure was launched and it has effectively targeted the vulnerable segment of the society.

Fortunately, over the past decade, Pakistan has developed asocial safety net structure which provided a foundation to expand upon and deliver shock responsive aid efficiently in form of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. However, this piggyback model through which the existing systems of Ehsaas are being utilised is a short-term intervention. Though helpful, it doesn’t cover broader aspects of social protection such as enabling the poor to graduate out of poverty. This will be a critical factor in offsetting the adverse impact of the pandemic in the long run.

A strong sustainable social protection system guides the beneficiaries towards self-sufficiency and enables them to earn their own livelihoods, addressing inequality as a result, ensuring social inclusion and empowering the vulnerable. During the pandemic cinduced joblessness, it is essential that the social protection framework sprioritise the vulnerable, provide access to health services, support people in adopting necessary prevention measures, ensure income security, protect human capabilities and livelihoods, scale up and strengthen already existing social protection programmes and its delivery capacities and design crisis response measures with a view to strengthen social protection systems in the long term.

Pakistan highly values its relations with EU: COAS Bajwa
The Ehsaas programme has done well but the harsh reality is that there is a need to improve the existing social protection mechanism, build state capabilities, make shock responsive social protection a permanent feature and transition to a broader comprehensive scale of welfare for a better, inclusive and sustainable future. Hopefully, the Covid-19 pandemic would turn out to be a turning point in the social protection domain in Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
In Pakistan we are developing a Covid-19 legacy to end poverty and drive health for all

The pandemic shines a bright light on inequity and we now have a window of opportunity to help people bounce back along with the economy


While our immediate focus is to bring down the current number of cases, we are also preparing for future shocks and are further investing in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of a welfare state that works for everyone in Pakistan and tackles the foundational inequities that the virus exploited.

Many lessons have been learned from this pandemic, both in terms of what works and where we need to improve – lessons that are relevant for both social protection and health systems. The first lesson is the importance of “building systems”.

We were able to deliver the emergency cash program because of preexisting digital capabilities that Ehsaas, Pakistan’s groundbreaking poverty alleviation initiative, had already created. These digital capabilities, which included a biometric cash distribution system, were quickly adapted alongside an SMS based request platform and data analytics.

A recent report by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth found that the Ehsaas emergency cash transfer program, which distributed US$1.2 billion to 15 million families, was pivotal in preventing a catastrophic explosion in poverty during the pandemic.

Similarly, systems established by the Covid-19 National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) delivered results due to data driven decision making and coordination. Pakistan’s polio infrastructure was heavily utilised during the Covid-19 pandemic to track the virus, break chains of transmission and ultimately save lives.

For the vaccine rollout, existing systems of immunisation and its cold chain were augmented. The second lesson is the importance of reaching the most breaking the chains of poverty to achieve sustainable prosperity.

Since Ehsaas was established in 2019, the Prime Minister has maintained its focus on reaching the most marginalised communities, with the understanding that as well as being the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do.

We have seen from other health and development programs that this is not always an easy task. Yet while noting the success and critical role of the polio programme in the current pandemic, Pakistan is yet to eliminate polio.

This is primarily due to inability to reach some children and this is especially true of the Pashtun community, in certain parts of the country. We can’t accept this for polio, health services or social protection.

The philosophy behind Ehsaas’ efforts is to ensure that everyone can access quality health and nutrition services, that our children get a good education which opens their horizons for the future and a strong social safety net so that when needed the most disadvantaged groups have something to fall back on it.

Third, innovations are only as good as the capacity to scale. In the wake of the pandemic, we have fast-tracked our work on building the social protection registry; we are expanding our social protections operations and are opening ‘one-window centres’ for Ehsaas so that those accessing the benefits can do it all in one go.

Hiring and training people to deliver Ehsaas services was key to being able to scale up quickly and effectively and responding to the acute economic challenges that ordinary people faced. And the same goes for strengthening our own health systems to end this pandemic and prepare for future ones.

The Government of Pakistan is working to strengthen our own domestic vaccine manufacturing. Nationally and internationally, we’re working with public and private stakeholders to encourage the sharing of licensing, technology and know how and waiving intellectual property through the duration of the pandemic.
Riaz Haq said…
In Pakistan we are developing a Covid-19 legacy to end poverty and drive health for all
The pandemic shines a bright light on inequity and we now have a window of opportunity to help people bounce back along with the economy

by Sania Nishtar

Developing a Covid-19 Legacy to End Poverty and Drive Health for All As Prime Minister Imran Khan and I travelled to Larkana, a city in the Sindh province of Pakistan to meet with the people effected by the pandemic, we met with a street vendor called Arshaq who broke down as he received the Rs.12,000 Ehsaas emergency cash – Pakistan’s flagship welfare state system.

He told us that he intended to invest about a fifth of the money to rent a pushcart and buy bananas to sell. He was confident that he’d make enough money for his family to live off. With tears in his eyes he went on to say he would buy food rations with the rest of the money as his daughters had not eaten properly for weeks.

It was deeply humbling and reflects the hardship millions of people have gone through over the last 18 months of the pandemic. The latest increase in cases of Covid-19 appear to be dropping and vaccines, which are key to us and the world getting through the acute stage of this pandemic, continue to be rolled out across Pakistan, the country is finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.


For the vaccine rollout, existing systems of immunisation and its cold chain were augmented. The second lesson is the importance of reaching the most breaking the chains of poverty to achieve sustainable prosperity.

Since Ehsaas was established in 2019, the Prime Minister has maintained its focus on reaching the most marginalised communities, with the understanding that as well as being the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do.

We have seen from other health and development programs that this is not always an easy task. Yet while noting the success and critical role of the polio programme in the current pandemic, Pakistan is yet to eliminate polio.

This is primarily due to inability to reach some children and this is especially true of the Pashtun community, in certain parts of the country. We can’t accept this for polio, health services or social protection.

The philosophy behind Ehsaas’ efforts is to ensure that everyone can access quality health and nutrition services, that our children get a good education which opens their horizons for the future and a strong social safety net so that when needed the most disadvantaged groups have something to fall back on it.

Third, innovations are only as good as the capacity to scale. In the wake of the pandemic, we have fast-tracked our work on building the social protection registry; we are expanding our social protections operations and are opening ‘one-window centres’ for Ehsaas so that those accessing the benefits can do it all in one go.

Hiring and training people to deliver Ehsaas services was key to being able to scale up quickly and effectively and responding to the acute economic challenges that ordinary people faced. And the same goes for strengthening our own health systems to end this pandemic and prepare for future ones.

The Government of Pakistan is working to strengthen our own domestic vaccine manufacturing. Nationally and internationally, we’re working with public and private stakeholders to encourage the sharing of licensing, technology and know how and waiving intellectual property through the duration of the pandemic.

Pandemic proofing our systems is smart economics when you consider the trillions lost over the last 18 months. None of this would have happened without the steadfast leadership of the Prime Minister, Imran Khan.

Embarking on the most ambitious anti-poverty drive in Pakistan prior to the pandemic was challenging but it was also critical to leverage key resources to help us tackle the acute need while laying the groundwork for a long-term recovery.

Riaz Haq said…
Sehat Sahulat Programme: SLIC Pakistan’s role

Sehat Sahulat Programme is one of the key milestones of the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa towards social welfare reforms with an objective to improve access to quality medical services in a swift and dignified manner without any financial obligations. It is the first-ever initiative aimed at providing free of cost indoor healthcare services to the entire population of the province in private and public sector hospitals.

The federal government, in collaboration with the Punjab government, is also implementing the Sehat Sahulat Programme covering the entire population of AJK, FATA, Tharparkar, Sahiwal and D G Khan Division. At the same time, the below poverty population of Islamabad, GB and the rest of Punjab is covered under the Federal Scheme.

At present, the State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan manages both programmes making it the largest micro-health insurance provider in the country, covering more than 100 million members in the designated areas. State Life offers healthcare services in more than 90 districts of Pakistan, with its extensive network of more than 500 hospitals across Pakistan.

The organisation is responsible for enrolment of families, empanelment of hospitals, treatment rate negotiations, in-patient care provision, complaint redressal, hospital claims processing, fraud control, risk and financial management of the programmes.

As part of the implementation process, SLIC has stationed its own staff Health Facilitators at each panel hospital while District Medical Officers conduct regular rounds to observe the quality medical practices. Different IT enhancements, including real-time information and mobile application, were introduced to improve customer experience, cost efficiency and ease of delivery of services. State Life has, therefore, a significant role in the successful implementation of health insurance programmes.

Over the course of five years, State Life has developed strong technical capacity, ground network, IT and human resource development to ensure effective implementation of programmes. More than 1.1 million patients are treated under the health programmes with more than 97% satisfaction rate as per 3rd party, i.e., NADRA’s assessment. The maximum amount of ground-work completed by State Life makes those programmes successful.

It is pertinent to mention that the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa carried out an open tendering process in 2020 among leading private and public sector insurance companies to implement the Sehat Sahulat Programme. The shortlisted organisations include i) State Life Insurance Corporation; ii) A joint consortium of Askari Insurance, Jubilee Life, Jubilee General, AXA, Takaful Pakistan and System International; and iii) A joint consortium of United Insurance, SPI Insurance & Association of Development of Public Health.

State Life was awarded the contract for the implementation of SSP as a result of its highest technical score depicting the solid technical knowledge, historical experience, strong liquidity and financial strength of the corporation. Besides technical weightage, State Life has also quoted the lowest premium in comparison with other insurance companies. All the other insurance programmes procured by State Life have resulted from a similar open bidding process. As such, the perception of direct awarding of the Sehat Sahulat Programme to State Life is incorrect.

The organisation is in competition with other private sector insurers for UHI in Punjab, GB and ICT. The programme is expected to implement in phases, whereas State Life has already covered the entire DG Khan and Sahiwal divisions.

Riaz Haq said…
Exploring willingness to pay for health insurance and preferences for a benefits package from the perspective of women from low-income households of Karachi, Pakistan

Achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and reduction in out of pocket (OOP) expenditures on health, is a critical target of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In low-middle income countries, micro-health insurance (MHI) schemes have emerged as a useful financing tool for laying grounds for Universal Health Coverage. The aim of this study was to provide evidence for designing a feasible health insurance scheme targeted at urban poor, by exploring preferences for an insurance benefits package and co-payments among women from low-income households in Karachi, Pakistan.

Respondents reporting expenditure on OPD and hospitalization in the last 2 weeks were 93.4 and 11.9% respectively. The highest median expenditure was incurred on medicines. Out of the proposed benefits package, a majority (53%) of the study participants opted for the comprehensive benefits package that provided coverage for emergency care, hospitalization, OPD consultation, diagnostic tests and transportation. For the co-payment plan, 38.9% participants preferred no co-payments that is 100% insurance coverage of medicines followed by hospitalization (25.9%). Nearly half of the respondents (49.4%) chose outpatient consultation for 50% co-payment. A majority of the participants (65.3%) agreed to 100% co-payment for the transportation cost.

Health insurance schemes can be introduced in urban areas, against collection of micro-payments, to prevent low-income households from facing financial catastrophe. A comprehensive benefits package covering emergency care, hospitalization, OPD consultation, diagnostic tests and transportation, is the most preferred among low-income beneficiaries.
Riaz Haq said…
Govt To Provide Loan To Deserving People Under Kamyab Pakistan Programme: Tarin

:Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin Wednesday said the government would provide loan to deserving people to set up their business or purchase house through transparent process.

Talking to a private news channel, he said under Kamyab Pakistan Programme, low-cost housing scheme would be launched for lower income groups enabling them to own their houses.

Tarin said the data of deserving beneficiaries was available with department concerned in that regard.

The minister further said the incumbent government was providing loan on easy conditions and Kamyab Pakistan Programme beneficiaries could easily access to agriculture and business loans at zero-mark up without collateral.

He said the government under visionary leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan had strengthened and stabled the national economy through prudent economic policies.


Kamyab Pakistan Program to bring 3 million families out of poverty: Shaukat Tarin

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has said that beneficiaries of Kamyab Pakistan Program would enjoy easy access to agricultural and business loans at zero-mark up without collateral.

He was talking to Prime Minister s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar in Islamabad.

The Finance Minister said Kamyab Pakistan Program will provide low-cost housing scheme for lower income groups enabling them to own their houses.

He said the program will bring at least three million families out of the vicious cycle of poverty in the next three to five years.
Riaz Haq said…
PM #ImranKhan: Kisan Card will 'transform' farming in #Pakistan. #Technology will eliminate bribes and let #farmers get #agriculture loans and have direct access to agriculture #subsidies for #seeds, #pesticides & #fertilizer.

The premier said that the subsidy on DAP (diammonium phosphate), which was previously Rs500, would also be increased to Rs1,000 under the Kisan Card.

"Subsidies will also be available for seeds and pesticides," said the prime minister, adding that loans to farmers would also be provided through the card and preparations for this were already under way.


The premier said that during the PTI government's tenure, farmers had gained an additional Rs1,100 billion due to the prices they received for produce such as sugarcane, wheat and corn.

"Pakistan's poverty is concentrated in rural areas," he said, adding that the additional money that farmers would gain would help to improve their standard of living. He said that reducing poverty had been the "real purpose" of the PTI government since day one, adding that it was now "moving towards that target".

The prime minister also mentioned other measures the government was taking to improve the agricultural sector and pointed out the Rs300bn transformation package.

"Water is a very big problem. If farmers face water shortages then their produce is affected," he said, adding that two big dams were being made after 50 years to address this issue and Rs220bn from the transformation package was set aside for the fortification and lining of canals. Additional small scale water projects were also being carried out, he said.

He also stated that due to his efforts, agriculture had been brought under the scope of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to benefit from Beijing's agricultural technology and seed development. Pakistan's own research institutions on seed development would also be revamped, the premier said.

The prime minister also stated that a lot of agricultural produce that was imported, would now be grown in Pakistan, adding that the country's favourable climate and temperature provided the necessary conditions to increase crop yield.

"Our farmers are still using old methods," lamented the premier and stated that extension services were being privatised. A trained professional per Union Council would be responsible for visiting farmers on a motorcycle in the area and informing them about new agricultural techniques.

"There is great need for this because we need [to adopt] new [agricultural] practices," said the prime minister, adding that Pakistan's agriculture was subsistence level so "we will train them (farmers) through extension services to increase their productivity."

He also pointed out initiatives to develop Pakistan's livestock and said Pakistan still imported milk due to low productivity. Thus, Rs40bn have been set aside to import semen so livestock breeds could be improved, said the premier.

"You will see that change will come in one to two years and because of that, milk production will increase three-fold," he said, adding that improving the breed of livestock will not only allow Pakistan to provide cheap milk but also export cheese and milk.

"We can earn $25bn just from cheese and milk exports in the next three years."

Prime Minister Imran Khan lamented the losses that vegetables and fruits suffered at 50 per cent and 20pc for grains. "So we have decided to develop storage for them and food processing plants," he announced, adding that billions of rupees were lost due to 20pc of wheat being lost and fruits and vegetables could otherwise be provided much cheaper.

Among other measures he mentioned were doubling of loans for farmers, local production of fertilisers, doubling cereal production as well as improving local production of medicinal plants, corn and developing the fishery sector such as prawns.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #infant mortality rate (#IMR) has declined from 278 deaths per 1000 live births in 1950 to 58 deaths per 1000 live births in 2020.

Chart and table of the Pakistan infant mortality rate from 1950 to 2021. United Nations projections are also included through the year 2100.
The current infant mortality rate for Pakistan in 2021 is 57.998 deaths per 1000 live births, a 1.88% decline from 2020.
The infant mortality rate for Pakistan in 2020 was 59.109 deaths per 1000 live births, a 1.84% decline from 2019.
The infant mortality rate for Pakistan in 2019 was 60.219 deaths per 1000 live births, a 1.81% decline from 2018.
The infant mortality rate for Pakistan in 2018 was 61.330 deaths per 1000 live births, a 2.16% decline from 2017.
Riaz Haq said…
At the time of the first census in 1950, the overall literacy rate was 20% in India and 14% in Pakistan, according to UNESCO. As of 2012, India has achieved 75% literacy rate while Pakistan is at 58%. Pakistan Youth (15-24 years) literacy rate is 79.1% for males and 61.5% for females. Each new generation of Pakistanis is more literate than its predecessors:

Over 55 years 30% literate

45-55 years 40%

35-45 years 50%

25-35 years 60%

15-25 years 70%
Riaz Haq said…
Muzammil Aslam on Ehsaas, Sehat, Kisan cards in Pakistan

وزیر اعظم نے احساس پروگرام شروع کیا ، مفت ہیلتھ انشورنس دی اور کاشتکار کو کسان کارڈ دیا جس سے عام آدمی کی زندگی بہتر ہوگی : مزمل اسلم
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan to launch 911 #emergency helpline PEHEL (Pakistan Emergency HELpline) across the country.

Different emergency numbers will be merged into one hotline

Islamabad: The Pakistan government is set to launch an all-in-one emergency helpline 911 to swiftly respond to call for help across the country.

Different emergency numbers will be merged into one hotline called Pakistan Emergency Helpline (PEHEL). The idea is to launch a service similar to the 911 helpline in the United States.

The project is being implemented by the National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) and the Digital Pakistan initiative of the IT ministry. NTC, which is responsible for providing secure and reliable telecommunication services to government organizations, is spearheading the initiative to help the citizens in distress. The software applications are being developed by NTC and the National Information Technology Board (NITB).

The dedicated emergency response number can be dialled to avail different services including police, ambulance, and other rescue and support so that the citizens will not have to go through different helplines during emergencies.

The decision was taken in the wake of the horrific rape incident at Lahore-Sialkot Motorway in September 2020 in which the victim failed to get any help through the motorway helpline. The incident prompted Prime Minister Imran Khan to launch a dedicated hotline to prevent such crimes and offer citizens immediate help during the emergency situation.

Khan had asked the PM Delivery Unit (PMDU) to complete work on the emergency helpline by December 2020. However, the launch of the pilot project in Islamabad is expected to take another two months. The testing of the service has been completed. The operations would initially begin at Safe City Islamabad.

The PEHEL 911 service would offer a “unified and one-window access to all emergency services” in Pakistan, according to IT Minister Syed Aminul Haq. The IT ministry will provide technical support and infrastructure and the interior ministry will ensure the smooth....
Riaz Haq said…
PM Imran Khan launches Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP).
Under the programme, the government will provide Rs1.4 trillion micro loans to 3.7 million households across the country.
Kamyab Pakistan Programme has been designed to transform the lives of the marginalised segments of the society.

Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday launched ambitious Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP) worth Rs1400 billion in Islamabad to facilitate the vulnerable segments of the society.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of Kamyab Pakistan Programme in the federal capital, PM Imran Khan said that the project should have been launched 74 years ago.

The prime minister termed the KPP a landmark initiative and said that it will bring improvement in the living standards of the common man.

“Our system is made to facilitate the elite class,” the prime minister said, adding that the state of Madina was a role model for him.

Terming the Madina state the world’s most successful model, PM Imran said that people become prosperous after a welfare state was established in Madina.

Lashing out at the previous governments, the prime minister said the flawed policies of the past left far behind our marginalized segments of the society.

“Inequality is the basis of the downfall of any society,” PM Imran added. He maintained that no government worked on the uniform syllabus in the country.

Referring to China’s progress, the prime minister said that Beijing took measures to facilitate the vulnerable segments of the society and became a developed country within 35 years.

PM Imran, while talking about petrol prices, said, “In Pakistan, prices of petroleum products are less as compared to other countries of the region.”

“We have also tried to absorb the maximum pressure of international increase in the prices of commodities. There has been 100% increase in the prices of petroleum products over the last few months but we only increased their prices by 22%,” said the prime minister.

He maintained that his government reduced sales tax and levy on petrol to facilitate the masses.

It is pertinent to mention here that under the flagship programme, the government will provide Rs1.4 trillion micro-loans to 3.7 million households across the country.

The KPP will be rolled out in phases. During the first phase, the loans will be provided to the deserving families in Gilgit-Baltistan, AJK, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the underprivileged areas of Punjab and Sindh.

In line with the vision of the prime minister to empower the masses, the government has taken multiple initiatives, which are targeted towards poverty alleviation, employment generation and provision of affordable housing for the people.

The KPP initiative has been designed to transform the lives of the marginalised segments of society. The programme shall disburse microcredit amounting to Rs1,400 billion for the poorest of the poor, providing them with much needed financial support to improve their livelihood. Financing under the KPP shall only be extended to families with a cumulative average monthly income of up to Rs50,000 per month.

This is the first programme of its kind in Pakistan’s history wherein the banks are being connected to the lowest income segment through micro-finance institutions. KPP, a brainchild of Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, is based on the concept of financial empowerment i.e. creating opportunities to improve the financial health of people with limited access to resources.

The finance minister stated that the government is firmly committed not to provide fish to the poor people but teach them how to catch one for a sustainable living arrangement under the umbrella of KPP. The whole paradigm of KPP will change the lives of the underprivileged people in Pakistan over the years. The programme is based on the most innovative financing structure in recent times.

Riaz Haq said…
PM Imran Khan launches Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP).
Under the programme, the government will provide Rs1.4 trillion micro loans to 3.7 million households across the country.
Kamyab Pakistan Programme has been designed to transform the lives of the marginalised segments of the society.

What is Kamyab Pakistan Programme?
KPP has five components namely (i) Kamyab Kissan (ii) Kamyab Karobar (iii) Naya Pakistan low-cost housing (iv) Kamyab Hunarmand and (v) Sehatmand Pakistan.

Under the first 3 components, micro-loans shall be disbursed amongst eligible persons registered with Ehsaas Data, scientifically collected through National Socio-economic Registry (NSER).

The last two components of KPP will be integrated with the government’s existing initiatives. Kamyab Hunarmand is designed to integrate with the government’s ongoing skill development programme for imparting educational and vocational training to our talented youth.

The KPP also includes a user-friendly portal called Kamyab Pakistan Information System (KPIS). The portal will be integrated with Ehsaas and Nadra databases for verification of beneficiaries’ eligibility to facilitate the executing agencies (i.e. MfP’s) for finalising the financing modalities in a most efficient and seamless manner.

KPP will complement the efforts of the government to counter inflation by enabling the masses to improve their livelihood.

KPP is a true dispensation of a responsible state to uplift its poor and vulnerable segments with a key focus on a “bottom-up approach” for achieving all-inclusive and sustainable economic growth as envisaged by the prime minister.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan PM unveils country’s ‘biggest ever’ welfare programme
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled $709m package of subsidies for low-income households struggling with food price inflation.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled a $709m package of food subsidies to ease the financial burden on low-income households as the prices of essentials continue to soar in the South Asian country.

Addressing the nation on Wednesday evening, Khan described the benefits package as “Pakistan’s biggest ever welfare programme”.

“This package is of Rs 120 billion ($709.2m), which the federal and provincial governments are giving jointly,” he said. “In this, we are [targeting] the three most important food items, ghee, flour and pulses.”

Under the plan, some 20 million qualifying low-income households will be entitled to a 30 percent discount on the purchase of the three items. The federal and provincial governments will make up the difference to retailers in the form of subsidy payments.

The subsidies will last for six months, Khan said, and are aimed at the poorest households, as classified by the government-run Ehsaas welfare programme.

Pakistani households have been dealing with spiralling consumer price inflation (CPI) in recent months, with October’s CPI clocking in at 9.2 percent compared with a year earlier.

Food inflation for core commodities has been particularly high, with the price of ghee increasing by 43 percent, flour by 12.97 percent and certain pulses by 17.62 percent over the last year, according to data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The coronavirus pandemic hit the country’s economy hard, with economic growth slowing to 0.53 percent in 2020, according to the World Bank.

Prices for food, energy and other essential goods have skyrocketed around the world this year as countries cast off COVID-19 restrictions, triggering supply shortages and bottlenecks.

World food prices rose for a third straight month in October, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization said on Thursday, hitting a new 10 year high. Last month’s increase was driven by vegetable oils and cereals.

Khan blamed Pakistan’s inflation on international commodity prices, including petrol, claiming that his government had done a better job than others to absorb global price increases.

“What can we do about this? The inflation that is coming from outside. Let Allah make it so that we have all these things in our country, then we can reduce prices, but [not for things being imported],” he said.

Pakistan, which relies heavily on imports of essentials as well as other goods, has also been hit hard by a devaluation of its currency this year.

The Pakistani rupee has lost 13.1 percent of its value against the US dollar since May.

Khan’s government has expanded welfare spending during the pandemic to address unemployment and poverty, disbursing 179 billion rupees ($1.06bn) in grants to low-income families this year, according to government data.

Consumer Price Inflation, however, appears set to continue to increase, with Khan warning in his speech on Wednesday that the government would likely have to raise petroleum and diesel prices, in response to global oil price increases.
Riaz Haq said…
What are the key findings of the Multidimensional Poverty Index 2021?
Key findings at the global level
The report mentions that there are 1.3 billion multidimensionally poor people globally.

The top five countries with the largest number of people living in multidimensional poverty are India (381 million), Nigeria (93 million), Pakistan (83 million), Ethiopia (77 million) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (56million).

Women and Children: Almost two-thirds of global multidimensionally poor people – 836 million- live in households in which no female member has completed at least six years of schooling. These people live mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa (363 million) and South Asia (350 million).

The report also found that half of global multidimensionally poor people are children.

Women-led houses: One in six multidimensionally poor people across 108 countries live in female-headed households.

Key findings related to India
The report mentions that, in India, five out of six multidimensionally poor people are from lower tribes or castes.

The Scheduled Tribe group accounts for 9.4% of the population and is the poorest, with 65 million of the 129 million people living in multidimensional poverty. They account for about one-sixth of all people living in multidimensional poverty in India.

Following the Scheduled Tribe group is the Scheduled Caste group with 33.3 percent – 94 million of 283 million people living in multidimensional poverty.

The report further said that 27.2 percent of the Other Backward Class group– 160 million of 588 million people — live in multidimensional poverty.

Overall, five out of six multidimensionally poor people in India live in households whose head is from a Scheduled Tribe, a Scheduled Caste or Other Backward Class.

In India, close to 12 percent of the Multidimensional poor population — 162 million people — live in female-headed households.

About the Multidimensional Poverty Index
The report is developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 2010 for UNDP’s Human Development Reports.
Riaz Haq said…
ASER Report Findings:

These poor living conditions (in urban slums) are also reflected in the delivery of education. Around 20 percent of the urban slums surveyed did not have a government school. The majority of children living in the surveyed urban slums were enrolled in private schools (59 percent) that include madrassahs (eight percent) and non-formal education providers (one percent) and the remaining children (41 percent) were enrolled in government schools. Enrolment is higher in the 5-10 age bracket, while one in three children of 16-year-old is out of school.

There are also inter-district variations. Government school enrolment is higher in Lahore (59 percent) while private school enrolment is higher in Korangi, Karachi (again 59 percent). In terms of madrassah enrolment, it varies between two and three percent in Lahore, Malir, and Korangi, and it is 24 percent in Karachi-West where one in four children is studying in a madrassah.

Girls relatively fall behind in terms of enrolment. With regard to evaluating learning outcomes, children studying in urban slums lag behind the ASER assessment in 2019 in these very same districts conducted as part of the ASER survey. However, urban slums of these four districts are being assessed systematically for the first time in this pilot study.

According to the report, “In 2019, learning outcomes (5-16 year old) gathered in the same four districts revealed Urdu/Sindhi story reading at 46 percent, while in 2021 the four district katchi abadis, story reading in Urdu/Sindhi is 35 percent. For two-digit division in 2019, 41 percent children were competent, while in katchi abadis in 2021, it is 26 percent; in 2019, 46 percent children could read sentences in English, but in katchi abadis in 2021, 37 percent children can read English sentences. The challenges can be interrogated by gender, institution, mother tongue, psychosocial well-being etc.”

Despite challenges, girls performed relatively better in numeracy and literacy in urban slums. Similarly, children studying in private schools showed relatively better results than those studying in government schools. It is again something that has already been highlighted by me in an article ‘Private education’ (October 31) published on these pages. Madrassah students’ educational outcomes were extremely poor. Only 7.4 percent could read a story in Urdu/Sindhi, 10 percent could read sentences in English, and 4.4 percent of more than 400 madrassah students (5-16 years old) who were assessed as part of the pilot study could solve division problems.

The other important factors are learning in the mother tongue, household wealth, parents’ – particularly mother’s – education, technology availability and usage that are positively correlated with higher learning outcomes of children. The report also states that psychosocial well-being is important, and as someone who has always believed and practised in never ever giving up and always having a good fight with a positive frame of mind no matter how difficult and arduous circumstances might be at some point in one’s life, one sees the wisdom in including this variable in the report while assessing children’s well-being.

Another positive finding of the report is that technology and internet usage is prevalent in the majority of houses in urban slums. Roughly 80 percent of the households have mobile phones – 63 percent even have smartphones – and 21 percent have laptops/computers. In total, one-third of the participating households (33 percent) stated that they use the internet. This shows that there is tremendous potential for web-based technology-oriented learning and livelihoods solutions.

Riaz Haq said…
In Pakistan’s remote areas, midwives ensure care beyond safe birth

During the pandemic, 24-year-old Seema moved to Koohi Goth, an urban slum on the outskirts of Pakistan’s largest city, to be closer to her parents.

She had three daughters, the youngest of whom died as a newborn because of the lack of neonatal services in her former neighbourhood of Karachi City, a few miles from the Rehri Goth, coupled with limited prenatal care to address pregnancy complications.

Now she is pregnant again, but this time, she started visiting the midwifery-led care unit at the Koohi Goth Hospital, where she receives regular checkups for free.

A need to improve care

Reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health indicators remain poor in Pakistan. Early childbearing and lack of awareness put women at life-threatening risks. In remote areas, health facilities are scarce and births are mostly attended by unskilled midwives, further exacerbating the risk of maternal and child mortality. According to the 2019 Pakistan Maternal Mortality Survey, the maternal mortality rate is 186 deaths per 100,000 live births. (The number is higher in rural areas versus urban areas.)

As other hospitals shut down given COVID-19 restrictions, Koohi Goth Hospital’s doors stayed open to a rising number of visitors. Every day, almost 500 women visit the facility’s outpatient department and on average, five babies are safely delivered. “Hundreds of women visit the facility every day. I sometimes feel tired but these women need us,” says Noor, the facility’s senior midwife whose patients include Seema. “When we help them, we forget our pain.”

The midwives here come from the most underserved communities across Pakistan, including Sindh, Gligit-Balistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. UNFPA provides refresher training as well as Internet-based courses to enhance and expand their skills. UNFPA then works with local governments to deploy them to remote areas to staff Basic Health Units, the main way people access primary health care.

UNFPA is also working with Pakistan National Forum for Women’s Health, a pioneer in midwifery services and obstetric fistula prevention and treatment, to establish three more midwifery-led care units within hospitals in Sindh province. Midwives in these units handle low-risk pregnancies, provide family planning counselling and conduct antenatal and postnatal check-ups, referring more complicated cases to obstetricians/gynaecologists.

**Counselling for contraceptives **

Neelum is a midwife at Keti Bandar, a remote fishermen village at the old harbour in Thatta district, 150 kilometres away from Karachi. Family planning counselling, information and services “are essential and lifesaving, considering the high fertility trends in the coastal communities and short birth spacing, which many times leads to pregnancy complications,” she said.

When patients tell the midwives that their husbands and mothers-in-law pressure them not to use contraception, the midwives invite the husbands to learn about the consequences of repeated pregnancies. “Now, the use of long-acting reversible contraceptives is increasing,” said Neelum, who also makes house calls. “We are also introducing male contraceptives in the communities.”

There is a huge need to develop a cadre of midwives to ensure that women in remote communities receive care and services. UNFPA, with the support of Johnson & Johnson and other partners, is working with federal and provincial health authorities to raise the level of midwifery education and services in Pakistan.

Seema, who gave birth at 17 to her first daughter at home, said, “My mother-in-law prays for my life because a mother’s life is important for little children.”
Riaz Haq said…

Javed Hassan
Superb initiative of school meals program for 23000 students of 100 Public primary schools of Islamabad by Fed Min of Education under
. The program will help in ensuring significant reduction in dropouts and improved learning .


“The ‘School Meal Program’ improved the attendance, health, and retention of students in schools where the program has already been initiated,” the (Punjab) minister said.

He said that the schools under this program have seen a 33 percent increase in attendance, and a 77 percent improvement in students’ health, and their BMI levels.
Riaz Haq said…
Modest progress on SDGs
Khaleeq Kiani

Pakistan’s first Sustainable Develop­ment Goals (SDGs) Status Report (2021) is out and the country’s overall progress on SDGs is modest.

“Overall, Pakistan’s SDGs (composite) index score has increased from 53.11 in 2015 to 63.49 in 2020 i.e. 19.5 per cent up from the baseline of 2015,” according to Dr Shabnam Sarfraz, member of Social Sector and Devolution of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives.

In summary, the status report finds a considerable decline in extreme poverty, improvement in access to energy, increased industrial activities, reduction in maternal mortality, improvement in undernourishment, food insecurity, wash and housing, and climate action.

There are many areas identified by the report that need urgent collective attention such as education, children out of school, the proportion of youth not in education, employment and training, provision of decent work environment, implementation of climatic adaptation etc.

Since 2015, the Government of Pakistan has not published a consolidated report that presents the country’s progress on SDGs indicators viz-a-viz their baseline values. The report captures the existing data availability gap and compares the baseline 2014-2015 with values of the most recent available data on 133 SDG indicators.

The report says that Pakistan’s progress on SDG-1 — poverty reduction has been steady. Poverty has been on the decline between the period 2014-15 and 2018-19 with 9.3 million people lifted out of poverty away from the national poverty line. Similarly, Pakistan witnessed a significant decline in the proportion of the population affected by disasters.

In a drive towards zero hunger as espoused by SDG-2, undernourishment declined by 4.2pc from 20.2pc to 16pc from 2015 to 2019. Also, a moderate achievement was made through the reduction of stunting by 7pc and wasting by 4pc during 2013-18 among children under five years of age.

Improvements are seen in health outcomes for mothers by reducing anaemia among pregnant women by 16.5pc in seven years during 2011-18. There was a one per cent decrease in the agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture, from 39pc to 38pc, over four years during 2015-2019.

On good health and well-being under SDG-3, Pakistan has shown reasonable progress by improving most of the basic health indicators. The number of mothers dying during pregnancy and live births reduced by 32.6pc during 2007-2019. Births attended by skilled health personnel increased by 10pc in five years during 2013-18. National vaccination coverage improved by 11.5pc in five years between 2013 and 2018.

Concerning education achievements (SDG-4), the country’s progress has been dismal. The primary completion rate has stagnated at 67pc in five years during 2015-20. Similarly, the gender gap (SDG-5) of 9pc between the primary completion rate of males and females has also persisted in this period. The lower secondary completion rate has marginally increased from 50pc to 59pc during 2015-20. The national literacy rate stagnated at 60pc in five years during 2015-20, which is alarming and worrying.

More girls were enrolled in schools improving the gender parity in net enrolment at primary, middle and Matric levels during 2015-19. Large deficiencies and disparities persist in the provision of basic services to schools across the country.

Access to clean water and sanitation has also shown improvements at the national and provincial levels over time under SDG-6. Improved source of drinking water is available to 94pc of the country’s population. Access to drinking water in Balochistan has increased by 17pc in 5 years during 2015-20. The population having access to unshared toilets and handwashing facilities is 68pc and 54pc respectively, as per Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM) 2019-20.

Riaz Haq said…
Modest progress on SDGs
Khaleeq Kiani

Pakistan’s first Sustainable Develop­ment Goals (SDGs) Status Report (2021) is out and the country’s overall progress on SDGs is modest.

On SDG-7, Pakistan’s commitment to the environment is shown by an increase in the share of renewable energy by more than four times between 2015 to 2019. The reliance on clean fuel (cooking) increased to 47pc in the period during 2018-19, from 41.3pc in 2014-15 at the national level. An increase of 3pc was recorded in 2019- 20 with 96pc of the population having access to electricity as compared to 93pc in 2014-15.

On SDG-8 ensuring decent work and economic growth, the economy experienced a slowdown with an annual growth rate of real GDP per capita declining to -3.36pc in the fiscal year 2019-20 from 2.04pc in 2014-15. Similarly, almost one-third of the total youth (30pc) in the age group (15-24 years) was not obtaining education, employment or training at the national level over the four year period of 2015-19 (SDGs indicator 8.6.1). Within the country, the highest instance of this category of youth was in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 38pc. The children aged 10-14 years engaged in work slightly reduced by over 2pc to 6.47pc from 8.64pc during 2015-19, at the national level.

Some progress was made on the SDG-9: industry, innovation and infrastructure targets. With the availability of new data from PSLM the baseline value is established with 88pc of the rural population living within two kilometres of an all-season road. The proportion of small-scale industries in total industry value added increased to 10.50pc in 2019-20 from 8.40pc in 2014-15, despite the overall negative effects of Covid-19 in 2019-20. The proportion of the mobile phone-owning population increased by 1pc in two years, from 45pc to 46pc between 2018-20.

A slight dent was made by the reduction of income inequality by 2pc in 2016-2019 for SDG-10. A small decline of 7pc in the proportion of the urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing also occurred during 2014-2018 from 45pc to 38pc for SDG-11. Pakistan remains committed to addressing the problem of hazardous waste and to compliance with the Basel Convention as required under SDG-12 concerning sustainable consumption and production. Regarding SDG-13 on climate action, greenhouse gas emissions were 375.03 million tonnes in 2016, a 2.5pc increase from 2015.

Relating to the SDG-14: Life below Water, Pakistan has maintained the proportion of fish stocks at 30pc within biologically sustainable levels for the five years between 2015-20. Despite the growing population and rapid urbanisation pressures, Pakistan’s forest area as a proportion of total land remained unchanged at around 5pc in five years between 2015-2020 which is one of the targets of SDG-15: Life on Land.

On SDG-16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; in terms of counting the uncounted, birth registration of children under 5 years showed an improvement by 8.2pc in five years between 2013-18. Under SDG-17 developing partnerships for achieving SDGs showed significant improvement in its journey towards digital transformation as the fixed internet broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased by 20pc in three years during 2017-20.

Riaz Haq said…
Sindh to Finally Get #Rescue 1122 After Almost Two Decades. #PPP gov't in #Sindh has procured 288 new #ambulances and a loan of $70 million from the #WorldBank to launch the service. #Punjab launched it in 2004 in #Musharraf era. #Pakistan #emergency

After noticing its effectiveness in Punjab, the Sindh government has decided to launch the Rescue 1122 emergency response service. The Punjab government launched this service in 2004, giving it an 18-year-headstart over Sindh.

According to a media report, the government has procured 288 new ambulances and a loan of $70 million from the World Bank to launch the service.

Sources say that authorities will deliver new ambulances to the health department soon. They added that Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) will begin work on the mobilization of Rescue 1122 next week.

Sources further stated that the ambulance service will work under Aman Foundation, while the fire brigade will operate under the Local Government and Community Development (LG&CD) department of Sindh.

The government will set up Rescue 1122’s regional offices in all divisional headquarters and will continue to use PDMA’s machinery and staff to diffuse emergency situations.

Rescue 1122 will have five offices in Karachi. Also, the Sindh government will likely integrate the service with 10,000 cameras at 2,000 locations across the mega-city as a part of its latest Safe City project.
Riaz Haq said…
‘Pakistan SDGs Status Report 2021’ presents Pakistan’s progress on the SDGs using national and provincial data. The first of its kind, the status report, published by the Federal SDGs Support Unit at the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives, Pakistan, highlights the country’s progress on SDG indicators vis-à-vis their 2014-2015 baseline values. The report presents data on 133 SDG indicators with their corresponding latest values. Overall, the report assesses Pakistan’s progress on the SDGs as “modest.”

Pakistan remains committed to addressing the problem of hazardous waste and achieving compliance with the Basel Convention as required under SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production). However, Pakistan’s contribution to SDG 13 (climate action) is minimal. The country has adopted and implemented national disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies in line with the Sendai Framework on DRR, with the 2020 index score of 0.8, an improvement on 2018 when it was 0.4. However, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions grew by 375.03 million tons in 2016, a 2.5% increase from 2015.

With respect to SDG 14 (life below water), Pakistan maintained the proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels at 30% between 2015 and 2020. Despite the growing population and rapid urbanization, Pakistan’s forest area as a proportion of total land – one of the targets of SDG 15 (life on land) – remained unchanged, at around 5% from 2015-2020.

Regarding SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), birth registration of children under five showed an improvement of 8.2% from 2013-2018. Pakistan is showing significant improvement on SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals) on its journey towards digital transformation. Fixed internet broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased by 20% in the three years from 2017-2020.

Pakistan’s 2021 SDG status report visualizes the country’s progress through a nationally computed index by the SDGs Section and Federal SDGs Unit of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives. Pakistan’s SDG index was developed on the basis of national data sources collated from authentic and reliable sources.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s generational shift
By Dr Ayesha RazzaqueMay 22, 2022

In this generation only 18.7 per cent of rural women are without an education, down from 75.5 per cent from their mothers’ generation. Nearly 50 per cent have an education ranging from a primary to secondary education, up from just 20 per cent in the previous generation. A stunning 22.9 per cent have a higher secondary or above education, up from an almost nothing 0.3 per cent in their previous generation.


Last year saw the publication of ‘Womansplaining – Navigating Activism, Politics and Modernity in Pakistan,’ a book edited by Federal Minister Sherry Rehman to which I was able to contribute a chapter. It connected education with women’s rights and argued that indigenous movements like the Aurat March should focus on education as a core part of their agenda.

Detractors of Pakistan’s women’s rights movement have been taking potshots at it by claiming that the issues it raises are not the issues of ‘real’ (read: rural) women. Put aside for a minute the fact that Pakistan’s rural population now accounts for 62 per cent, down from 72 per cent in 1980, and is on a steady decline. While the numbers may differ, and women’s power to negotiate may differ, rural and urban women share basic challenges and better education can yield similar opportunities and improvements in life circumstances.

Indigenous progressive and women’s rights movements have adopted the cause of education as an agenda item but should make it front and center, specifically K-12 education for girls in rural areas. New data further substantiates that connection with numbers. Education up to the higher secondary level, just the education that rural schools offer today, is the enabler that brings increased women’s labour force participation, delayed first marriage, lower rates of consanguinity, increased income, increased spousal income, and is a contributing factor to greater freedom of movement and communication – all positives.

Studies exploring the relationships between levels of education and life circumstances around the world are plentiful and capture the situation at a point and place in time. The Learning and Educational Achievements in Pakistan Schools (LEAPS) programme is qualitatively different because it already spans a period of almost two decades. The LEAPS programme has been tracking lower- and middle-income households in 120 randomly selected villages across three districts in rural Punjab since 2003. It has been revisiting them since then, most recently for the sixth time in 2018, roughly once every three years. That makes it one of the largest and longest panels of households in lower- and middle-income countries. This study is also unique as it looks at return on investment in education beyond an individual’s income and looks into the possible spillover into life circumstances and quality-of-life which is especially interesting for those interested in women empowerment and feminist movements.

In this latest round it surveyed 2006 women now aged 20-30. All these women were from the same 120 birth villages and have been tracked to their marital homes within or outside the village if they have married, migrated or moved for any other reason. Preliminary descriptive results of the long-running LEAPS study tell interesting stories. The headline finding of LEAPS investigators is that Pakistan is in the midst of a ‘generational shift’ where, for the first time in its education history, we have a ‘critical mass of moderately educated women’.


Existing plans, at least in the domain of education, remain unguided by some of the very excellent evidence that is available. Meanwhile, the Planning Commission is organizing a ‘Turnaround Pakistan’ conference perhaps as early as May 28 to conduct national consultations. Whether a hurriedly thrown together conference can change the way business is done remains to be seen.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Labor Force Survey (LFS) 2020-21

Literacy rate goes up (62.4%, 62.8%) more in case of males (73.0%, 73.4%) than females
(51.5%, 51.9%). Area-wise rates suggest increase in rural (53.7%, 54.0%) and in urban
(76.1%, 77.3%). Male-female disparity seems to be narrowing down with the time span.
Literacy rate goes up in all provinces: KP (52.4%, 55.1%), Sindh (61.6%, 61.8%), Balochistan
(53.9%, 54.5%) and in Punjab (66.1%, 66.3%) during the comparative periods


an average monthly wages of overall paid employees is of Rs.24028
per month while the median monthly wages is Rs. 18000 per month. . However, gender
disparities were obvious in the mean monthly wages gap between males and females of Rs.
4526 in favour of males. Based on median monthly wages, the gap, still in favour of males, is
Rs. 6,900. The above table also shows that irrespective of occupation both mean and median
monthly wages of males are higher than those of females

4.20 Major Industry Divisions: Occupational Safety and Health
Mainly, the sufferers belong to agriculture (29.3%), construction (19.7%), manufacturing
(19.1%), wholesale & retail trade (13.7%) and transport/storage & communication (10.2%).
Female injuries in agriculture sectors are more than twice (61.7%) than that of male injuries
(26.3%). In manufacturing, female injuries (24.7%) and Community, social and personal services
(8.9%) are more than male injuries (18.6%) and (6.5%) respectively. Contrarily, males are
more vulnerable in the remaining groups. Comparative risk profiles run down for major
industries grouping while gain stream for manufacturing, transport, storage & communication
and community, social & personnel services.
Riaz Haq said…
World Bank approves $258m to support healthcare in Pakistan

The World Bank has approved $258 million to strengthen primary health care systems and accelerate national efforts towards universal health coverage in Pakistan, a press release issued by the international financial institution said on Wednesday.

The National Health Support Programme "complements ongoing investments in human capital and builds on health reforms that aim to improve quality and equitable access to healthcare services, especially in communities lagging behind national and regional-level health outcomes".

It identified three areas of focus for healthcare reforms under the initiative: healthcare coverage and quality of essential services, governance and accountability and healthcare financing.

Elaborating on these areas, the statement said the programme focused on healthcare coverage and quality of essential services to ensure availability of adequate staffing, supplies and medicines and to enhance patient referral systems for expediting emergency and higher-level care.

Similarly, the focus on governance and accountability was intended to strengthen oversight and management of primary healthcare services through real-time monitoring of available supplies and essential medicines.

The statement further explained that initiatives in this area included setting up a central information platform for provincial authorities to assess gaps in service delivery across public and private healthcare facilities.

Moreover, the focus on healthcare financing was to improve the financial management of primary healthcare centres for better expenditure tracking and budget forecasting to sustain quality healthcare services and delivery.

"The programme will benefit all communities through improvements to provincial primary healthcare systems, particularly [those] in approximately 20 districts that suffer from having the least access to health and nutrition services," the press release read.

According to the press release, the NHSP is co-financed by the International Development Association ($258 million) and two grants ($82 million) from the Global Financing Facility (GEF) for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF), including a $40 million grant for protecting essential health services amid multiple global crises.

“The partnership between the GFF and the government of Pakistan focuses on building sustainable health systems while ensuring that all women, children and adolescents, especially in the most vulnerable communities can access the services they need amid multiple crises,” the statement quoted Monique Vledder, head of secretariat at GFF as saying.

"By investing in primary health care, strengthening the health workforce and equipping community health centres to both respond to emergencies and deliver quality services, Pakistan can drive a more equitable and resilient recovery,” she added.

World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine explained that “by strengthening provincial health systems, this programme is foundational to building the country’s human capital and improving health and nutrition outcomes for its citizens".

“Pakistan continues to make strides in health reforms toward ensuring access to primary healthcare services, especially for children and women during pregnancy and childbirth,” he said.

Hnin Hnin Pyne, task team leader for the programme, said: “NHSP creates a national forum for the federal and provincial governments to exchange lessons and collaborate on achieving sustainable health financing and high quality and coverage of essential services. It also helps strengthen engagement between public and private facilities and better coordination among development partners on future investments in health.”

Riaz Haq said…
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Riaz Haq said…
Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)

Country Name Per 100K Live Births
India 145.00
Timor-Leste 142.00
Pakistan 140.00


Pakistan Maternal Mortality Rate 2000-2022

Maternal mortality ratio is the number of women who die from pregnancy-related causes while pregnant or within 42 days of pregnancy termination per 100,000 live births. The data are estimated with a regression model using information on the proportion of maternal deaths among non-AIDS deaths in women ages 15-49, fertility, birth attendants, and GDP.
Pakistan maternal mortality rate for 2017 was 140.00, a 2.1% decline from 2016.
Pakistan maternal mortality rate for 2016 was 143.00, a 7.14% decline from 2015.
Pakistan maternal mortality rate for 2015 was 154.00, a 4.35% decline from 2014.
Pakistan maternal mortality rate for 2014 was 161.00, a 3.01% decline from 2013.
Riaz Haq said…
Senator Dr Sania Nishtar
Pakistan's first ever end-to-end digital targeted subsidies program #Ehsaas Rashan Riayat (implementation of which was underway) has been closed down, which means 20 million eligible families will not have access to 30% monthly subsidy on 3 grocery items.

Ehsaas Rashan Riayat was also meant to provide an ecosystem where cash recipients of Ehsaas benefits could potentially transition into digital payment practices, thus eliminating pilferage and interplay of extractive middlemen.

The underlying digital ecosystem that was set up as part of this programme was agile and had immense potential to be scaled even further. Initially, we used a demand-based model in which people had to SMS a request. The next model was based on pre-qualification of all the eligible beta families, developing pools of CNICs and corresponding registered SIMS for each eligible beta family, allowing any family member to visit their nearest merchant with their phone and CNIC to avail of the subsidy, without the need to register or wait weeks for verification. Just before I left office, I convened a steering committee meeting to approve detailed modalities of the new registration model.

If the programme is continued, its infrastructure could also be utilized to expand the range of subsidized commodities. Other household food essentials – beyond wheat, pulses, and cooking oil – could be added with minor backend changes in the program’s infrastructure. The monthly subsidy amount can be increased. The plan was to use the system beyond groceries, for subsidies on fuel and outpatient healthcare assistance, which is not covered by health insurance.

Our country faces economically challenging times, where drastic measures will be needed to address the far-reaching effects of the rising fiscal deficit. Ehsaas Rashan Riayat provides an opportunity for the government to take the lead in exercising fiscal prudence and to phase out untargeted subsidies, in favour of targeted support to households that need it most while at the same time address corruption.

The government must reconsider its decision and continue the operation and expansion of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat in the public interest.
Riaz Haq said…
India, Pakistan tackle backslide in child immunizations

While India and Pakistan topped the list of countries that saw the greatest increase in children not receiving a first dose of DTP between 2019 and 2020, they were also quick to bounce back.

Pakistan now figures among countries that successfully fought back declines to return to pre-pandemic levels of coverage "thanks to high-level government commitment and significant catch-up immunization efforts", UNICEF/WHO said.

In India, progress towards reducing the number of zero-dose children was impacted by the pandemic and the number of children who did not receive the first dose of the DTP vaccine was estimated to have increased to three million in 2020, up from 1.4 million in 2019, according to Mainak Chatterjee, health specialist at UNICEF India.

"Despite having the largest birth cohort in the world, India was able to prevent a further backslide through special drives such as the Intensified Mission Indradhanush, which enabled the country to bring down zero-dose to 2.7 million in 2021," Chatterjee told SciDev.Net.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan managed to bounce back to its overall #child #vaccination rates in spite of disruptions due to the #COVID #pandemic. #health #immunization

“Pakistan can”: How one country repaired its routine immunisation safety net
As the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, Pakistan’s routine immunisation programme took a heavy hit. But while many countries continued to struggle to make up lost ground in 2021, Pakistan bounced back to pre-pandemic levels of protection. VaccinesWork spoke to country health leaders to find out what went right.

New data confirms what public health officials hoped was true: in 2021, Pakistan’s children were very nearly as well-protected against preventable diseases as they had been in 2019. That may not sound like a landmark triumph, but it is – and here’s why.

Like in most countries, routine immunisation in Pakistan suffered a gut-punch – if not quite a knockout blow – when the pandemic landed in early 2020. Mario Jimenez, who has worked on Gavi’s Pakistan programme since 2019, says, “The lockdowns started, and that led to the immediate stop of outreach activities, and a subsequent accumulation of children that were not being reached with routine immunisation.”

Even once the lockdowns lifted, recalls Dr Faisal Sultan, former Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, fear of infection continued to inhibit contact between people and the health system. And even making it to the clinic didn’t always mean a child would get their jab: Pakistan struggled with periodic vaccine stock-outs as shipping and air travel stumbled to a halt globally.

“It really pushed the country and ourselves to reflect about how we can adapt to the situation, and what can be done to recover some of the losses that were taking place,” says Jimenez. These were urgent conversations: the real-world danger signalled by those losses was plain to everyone involved.

Pakistan has a massive birth cohort – more than 16,000 children are born each day. “In a matter of days,” Jimenez says, “we could have a very large number of unprotected unvaccinated children.” With the vaccine levee crumbling, every small disease outbreak risked becoming an epidemic flash-flood.

From July 2020, the health system kicked into high gear, beefing up outreach, and finding novel means to trace unvaccinated “zero-dose” children. Life-saving gains were made.

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REPORT 2021/2022

World set back by 5 years on development indices
India falls from 132 to 131 mainly on back of 2.5 years reduction in life expectancy
BD forges ahead from 140 to 129
Pakistan falls from 154 to 161- in low HDI category now

Riaz Haq said…
The headline multidimensional poverty (MPI) figures for Pakistan (0.198) are worse than for Bangladesh (0.104) and India (0.069). This is primarily due to the education deficit in Pakistan. UNDP's report titled "Unpacking Deprivation Bundle" shows that an average Pakistani still enjoys a better "standard of living" than his/her counterparts in Bangladesh and India. Below is an excerpt from it:

"The analysis first looks at the most common deprivation profiles across 111 developing countries (figure 1). The most common profile, affecting 3.9 percent of poor people, includes deprivations in exactly four indicators: nutrition, cooking fuel, sanitation and housing.7 More than 45.5 million poor people are deprived in only these four indicators.8 Of those people, 34.4 million live in India, 2.1 million in Bangladesh and 1.9 million in Pakistan—making this a predominantly South Asian profile "

Also note in this UNDP report that the income poverty (people living on $1.90 or less per day) in Pakistan is 3.6% while it is 22.5% in India and 14.3% in Bangladesh.

Living standards (Cooking fuel Sanitation Drinking water Electricity Housing Assets) of the poor in Pakistan (31.1%) are better than in Bangladesh (45.1%) and India (38.5%).

Pakistan fares worse in terms of education (41.3%) indicators relative to Bangladesh (37.6%) and India (28.2%).

In terms of health, Pakistan ( 27.6%) fares better than India (32.2%) but worse than Bangladesh (17.3%).

In terms of population vulnerable to poverty, Pakistan (12.9%) does better than Bangladesh (18.2%) and India (18.7%)
Riaz Haq said…

Ahmed Jamal Pirzada
Doesn't look good for Pak: the human capital index has stayed flat since 2005. While "avg years of schooling" has increased from 4 years in 2000 to 6 years in 2015 (Barro-Lee dataset), the quality has not improved. Worse, the gap with regional countries has increased since 80s.
Riaz Haq said…
The HDI is a summary measure for assessing long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living. Pakistan's HDI value for 2021 is 0.544— which put the country in the Low human development category—positioning it at 161 out of 191 countries and territories.

Between 1990 and 2021, Pakistan's HDI value changed from 0.400 to 0.544, an change of 36.0 percent.

Between 1990 and 2021, Pakistan's life expectancy at birth changed by 6.0 years, mean years of schooling changed by 2.2 years and expected years of schooling changed by 4.0 years. Pakistan's GNI per capita changed by about 62.7 percent between 1990 and 2021.


Pakistan has dropped seven places in the Human Development Index, ranking 161 out of 192 countries in the 2021-2022 HDI, according to the UNDP report released on Thursday.

In the previous year, Pakistan had stood at 154 out of 189 countries.

As per the report, Pakistan’s life expectancy at birth is 66.1 years and expected years of schooling are 8. The country’s gross per capita national income is $4,624. The report has identified that different climate shocks are affecting world order, pushing back the growth that was achieved in the past few years. While doing so, it has categorised the floods in Pakistan as “an example of the climate shocks seen around the world.”

Switzerland leads the way on the latest HDI while Norway and Iceland enjoy second and third positions. Among the nine South Asian countries -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka -- only Pakistan and Afghanistan (180th position) are in the low human development category.

Bhutan (127), Bangladesh (129), India (132) and Nepal (143) are in the medium human development category. And crisis-riddled Sri Lanka has managed to improve its position by 9 points, reaching the 73rd position on the index, finding itself in the high human development category. Iran is three positions behind at 76; the next is Maldives at the 90th position.

The report, titled ‘Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World’ has found out that around 90 per cent of countries have seen “reversals in human development” in the year of the survey, pointing to a world stuck in a never-ending cycle of crisis after crisis, causing global disruptions. Per the report, the two major factors responsible for these disruptions were the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

The Human Development Index is a measure of countries’ standard of living, health and education. This is the first time in the last 30 years that human development in a majority of countries has gone in reverse for two consecutive years.

This has pushed human development to its 2016 levels, a huge blow to the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were meant to be completed by 2030. For the year 2021, the UN had projected an HDI value of 0.75 -- the actual value has come out to be 0.732.

The report adds that the world is in a “new uncertainty complex”. Such uncertainty is created by the two years of Covid-19 which saw a series of the lethal waves of the virus.

Even though the world took quick steps to defeat the virus, the report notes, and developed vaccines to counter the threats, unequal distribution of the vaccines has created more problems in a number of low-income countries.

The pandemic-induced lockdowns and school closures also took a toll on people’s mental wellbeing across the world. The report has found out that mental distress among male minority groups in the UK saw the largest increase, and men from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan were the most affected by the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Riaz Haq said…
Ansa Javed Khan1, Sajjad Ahmad Jan2, Jawad Rahim Afridi3*, Arshia Hashmi4, Muhammad Azeem Ahmed5 1Assistant Director, P&D, Bacha Khan University, Charsadda, Pakistan; 2Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan; 3*Lecturer, Department of Economics, Sarhad University of Science & IT, Peshawar, Pakistan; 4Assistant Professor, The University of Faisalabad, Department of Management Studies, Faisalabad, Pakistan; 5Associate Professor, Barani Institute of Sciences, Pakistan.
Email: 1*,, 3*,,
Article History: Received on 19th June 2021, Revised on 26th June 2021, Published on 29th June 2021

Access to Education and Intergenerational Economic Mobility
The following table 1 shows the change in educational status which has taken place between the parents and children’s generations for the overall sample as well as for the sub-groups (Majority and Minority Tribes). The absolute numbers (outside parentheses) and the percentage (within parentheses) in different cells of the table show the people who are illiterate or at different levels of education. The table on one hand shows the intergenerational mobility of people up and down the education ladder and on the other hand reveals the wide and persistent educational gap between the majority and minority tribes. The table shows that 26 % of the respondents in the kids’ generation do not have any education versus 46 % in the parents’ generation. The results affirm the government’s claims and the common perception that, on average, more people have become literate through time and therefore the people in the children’s generation are more likely to be educated than their parent's generation. Further, the college and university graduates in the children’s generation outnumber the school graduates while school graduates outnumber the higher two educational categories in the parents’ generation as most of the students in past used to drop out at both primary or high school levels and couldn’t manage to get into a college or university for higher studies.

The aggregate results for the whole sample are actually driven by the majority tribes as it shows identical trends from the parents’ generation to the children’s generation in all educational. The majority tribe has succeeded in decreasing the number of illiterates from 33% in the parents’ generation to 11% in the children’s generation. College and university graduates (total of 60%) outnumber the school graduates and the illiterate (total of 40%) in the children’s generation as compared to the parents’ generation in the majority tribe where the former is 26% and the latter is 73%. This indicates a visible upward movement of the educational ladder by the members of the majority tribe. The situation of education and literacy in the minority tribe is deplorable if the comparison is either made on basis of children’s and parents’ generations or if the educational attainment levels of the minority and majority tribes are compared. The illiterates outnumber all the other educational categories as in sharp contrast to the educational attainment levels of the majority tribe. The data further reveals that no or only a negligible improvement in the educational status of the people belonging to the minority tribe has taken place between the children’s and parents’ generations. This affirms our presumption that in the North-Western parts of Pakistan, the tribal affiliation of a person determines his or her access to education. The ease of access to education then further transforms into economic mobility or immobility of the people.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Demographic Survey 2020

The latest figures showed that although the overall life expectancy has dropped, it rose among men from 64.3 to 64.5. For women, it fell from 66.5 to 65.5 but was still higher than for men.

Life expectancy also increased for the 1-4 age group to 71.3, including 70.6 for males and 72 for females.

The infant mortality rate has fallen to 56 deaths per 1,000 live births. It was 60 in PSLM 2018-19, and 62 in PDHS 2017-18.

While the general fertility rate was 124, the age-specific data shows the rate was highest in the 25-29 age group at 215, followed by 176 in the 20-24 age group, 164 in the 30-34 age group, and 94 in the 35-39 age group.

This last age group (35-39) also saw the most significant jump when compared with the PDHS figure of 79.

The general fertility rate was also quite higher in rural areas (138) compared to urban areas (102).

The PDS shows that the country’s population has reached from 207.6m in 2017 to 220.42m now, including 111.69m men and 108.73m women. Most people continue to live in rural areas (139.41m) compared to urban areas (81m).
Riaz Haq said…
TFR Fertility Trend in Pakistan:

1990 2017 2100
6.1 3.4 1.3
South Asia
6.1 3.4 1.3
3.1 2.4 1.7
Riaz Haq said…
Bilal I Gilani
Continuing with looking at the brighter side of our development

Burden of disease has declined from 70,086 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)32 lost per 100,000
people in 1990 to 42,059 in 2019 due to decreases in CDs and improvements in maternal and
child health;
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Lancet Study: Non-infectious diseases cause early death in Pakistan

Pakistan has considerable control over infectious diseases but now struggles against cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer as causes of early deaths, according to a new study published Thursday.

The Lancet Global Health, a prestigious British-based medical journal, reported that five non-communicable diseases — ischaemic heart disease, stroke, congenital defects, cirrhosis, and chronic kidney disease — were among the 10 leading causes of early deaths in the impoverished Islamic nation.

However, the journal said some of Pakistan’s work has resulted in an increase in life expectancy from 61.1 years to 65.9 over the past three decades. The change is due, it said, “to the reduction in communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases.” That’s still 7.6 years lower than the global average life expectancy, which increased over 30 years by 8% in women and 7% in men.

The study says “despite periods of political and economic turbulence since 1990, Pakistan has made positive strides in improving overall health outcomes at the population level and continues to seek innovative solutions to challenging health and health policy problems.”

The study, which was based on Pakistan’s health data from 1990 to 2019, has warned that non-communicable diseases will be the leading causes of death in Pakistan by 2040.

It said Pakistan will also continue to face infectious diseases.

“Pakistan urgently needs a single national nutrition policy, especially as climate change and the increased severity of drought, flood, and pestilence threatens food security,” said Dr. Zainab Samad, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Aga Khan University, one of the authors of the report.

“What these findings tell us is that Pakistan’s baseline before being hit by extreme flooding was already at some of the lowest levels around the globe,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad, Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at IHME. “Pakistan is in critical need of a more equitable investment in its health system and policy interventions to save lives and improve people’s health.”

The study said with a population approaching 225 million, “Pakistan is prone to the calamitous effects of climate change and natural disasters, including the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and catastrophic floods in 2010 and 2022, all of which have impacted major health policies and reform.”

It said the country’s major health challenges were compounded by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and last summer’s devastating flooding that killed 1,739 people and affected 33 million.

Researchers ask Pakistan to “address the burden of infectious disease and curb rising rates of non-communicable diseases.” Such priorities, they wrote, will help Pakistan move toward universal health coverage.”

The journal, considered one of the most prestigious scientific publications in the world, reported on Pakistan’s fragile healthcare system with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine. The study was a collaboration with a Karachi-based prestigious Aga Khan University and Pakistan’s health ministry.

The study also mentioned increasing pollution as one of the leading contributors to the overall disease burden in recent years. Pakistan’s cultural capital of Lahore was in the grip of smog on Thursday, causing respiratory diseases and infection in the eyes. Usually in winter, a thick cloud of smog envelops Lahore, which in 2021 earned it the title of the world’s most polluted city.
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Library thrives in Pakistan’s ‘wild west’ gun market town
‘Men look beautiful with jewel of knowledge, beauty lies not in arms but in education’

DARRA ADAMKHEL, Pakistan: When the din of Pakistan’s most notorious weapons market becomes overwhelming, arms dealer Mohammad Jahanzeb slinks away from his stall, past colleagues test-firing machine guns, to read in the hush of the local library.

“It’s my hobby, my favourite hobby, so sometimes I sneak off,” the 28-year-old told AFP after showing off his inventory of vintage rifles, forged assault weapons and a menacing array of burnished flick-knives.

“I’ve always wished that we would have a library here, and my wish has come true.”

The town of Darra Adamkhel is part of the deeply conservative tribal belt where decades of militancy and drug-running in the surrounding mountains earned it a reputation as a “wild west” waypoint between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It has long been known for its black market bazaars stocked with forged American rifles, replica revolvers and rip-off AK-47s.

But a short walk away a town library is thriving by offering titles including Virginia Woolf’s classic “Mrs Dalloway”, instalments in the teenage vampire romance series “Twilight”, and “Life, Speeches and Letters” by Abraham Lincoln.

“Initially we were discouraged. People asked, ‘What is the use of books in a place like Darra Adamkhel? Who would ever read here?’” recalled 36-year-old founder Raj Mohammad.

“We now have more than 500 members.”

Tribal transformation
Literacy rates in the tribal areas, which were semi-autonomous until 2018 when they merged with the neighbouring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, are among the lowest in Pakistan as a result of poverty, patriarchal values, inter-clan conflicts and a lack of schools.

But attitudes are slowing changing, believes soft-spoken 33-year-old volunteer librarian Shafiullah Afridi: “Especially among the younger generation who are now interested in education instead of weapons.”

“When people see young people in their neighbourhood becoming doctors and engineers, others also start sending their children to school,” said Afridi, who has curated a ledger of 4,000 titles in three languages - English, Urdu and Pashto.

Despite the background noise of gunsmiths testing weapons and hammering bullets into dusty patches of earth nearby, the atmosphere is genteel as readers sip endless rounds of green tea while they muse over texts.

However, Afridi struggles to strictly enforce a “no weapons allowed” policy during his shift.

One young arms dealer saunters up to the pristinely painted salmon-coloured library, leaving his AK-47 at the door but keeping his sidearm strapped on his waist, and joins a gaggle of bookworms browsing the shelves.

Alongside tattered Tom Clancy, Stephen King and Michael Crichton paperbacks, there are more weighty tomes detailing the history of Pakistan and India and guides for civil service entrance exams, as well as a wide selection of Islamic teachings.

‘Education not arms’
Libraries are rare in Pakistan’s rural areas, and the few that exist in urban centres are often poorly stocked and infrequently used.

In Darra Adamkhel, it began as a solitary reading room in 2018 stocked with Mohammad’s personal collection, above one of the hundreds of gun shops in the central bazaar.

“You could say we planted the library on a pile of weapons,” said Mohammad - a prominent local academic, poet and teacher hailing from a long line of gunsmiths.
Riaz Haq said…
Library thrives in Pakistan’s ‘wild west’ gun market town
‘Men look beautiful with jewel of knowledge, beauty lies not in arms but in education’

Mohammad paid 2,500 rupees ($11) for the monthly rent, but bibliophiles struggled to concentrate amidst the whirring of lathes and hammering of metal as bootleg armourers plied their trade downstairs.

The project swiftly outgrew the confines of a single room and was shifted a year later to a purpose-built single-storey building funded by the local community on donated land.

“There was once a time when our young men adorned themselves with weapons like a kind of jewellery,” said Irfanullah Khan, 65, patriarch of the family who gifted the plot.

“But men look beautiful with the jewel of knowledge, beauty lies not in arms but in education,” said Khan, who also donates his time alongside his son Afridi.

For the general public a library card costs Rs150 rupees ($0.66) a year, while students enjoy a discount rate of 100 rupees ($0.44), and youngsters flit in and out of the library even during school breaks.

One in 10 members are female - a figure remarkably high for the tribal areas - though once they reach their teenage years and are sequestered in the home male family members collect books on their behalf.

Nevertheless, on their mid-morning break schoolgirls Manahil Jahangir, nine, and Hareem Saeed, five, join the men towering over them as they pore over books.

“My mother’s dream is for me to become a doctor,” Saeed says shyly. “If I study here I can make her dream come true.”

Riaz Haq said…
Bearing gifts: the camels bringing books to Pakistan’s poorest children
The mobile library services are an education lifeline for students in Balochistan, where schools have closed during the pandemic

Sharatoon had wanted to continue her studies, but she had to leave school and her beloved books when she got married aged 15.

Now 27, Sharatoon is happy reading again, as every Friday a camel visits her small town, his saddle panniers full of books.

She has four children, the eldest is 11, the youngest 18 months, and she reads to them all, as well as to other children in the town.

Every week, when Roshan the camel comes to her home in Mand, about 12 miles from the border with Iran, in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, Sharatoon exchanges the books she borrowed for new ones.

“When the camel came to our area for the first time, the kids were very happy and excited. Schools have long been closed in our area due to Covid and we do not have any libraries, so this was welcomed by all the kids,” says Sharatoon, who uses only one name.

Balochistan is Pakistan’s most impoverished province, blighted by a separatist insurgency for the past two decades. With a 24% female literacy rate, one of the lowest in the world, compared with a male literacy rate of 56%, it also has the highest percentage of children out of school in the country.

Roshan visits four villages, staying in each at the home of a “mobiliser” such as Sharatoon, where all the district children aged four to 16 can come to read, borrow and exchange books with one another.

“Parents and kids are excited. It is giving hope to many that they can read, and the staff members also work on mobilisation so more outreach can be done,” says Fazul Bashir, a coordinator for the library.

When Covid closed the schools across Balochistan, two women in Mand – Zubaida Jalal, a federal minister in the Pakistan government, and her sister Rahima Jalal, headteacher of a local high school – came up with the idea of a camel.

“Actually, the idea of using camels comes from Mongolia and Ethiopia,” says Rahima. “It suits our desolate, distant and rough terrains. We have received an enormous response that we were not expecting.”

The trial of the camel library has gone well and it is about to begin its next three months of rounds.

Sharatoon says: “Kids are eagerly waiting; they want to read books and keep asking me [about it]. There should be more science-related books so our kids can learn by experimentation.”

The Jalal sisters say there has been a lot of interest in the scheme from other areas, and they have just started a library in the city district of Gwadar, Balochistan, with a camel called Chirag.

Anas Syed Mohammad is a 10-year-old 4th-grade student in the town of Abdul Rahim Bazar, about 30 miles from the city of Gwadar.

Since the camel library started visiting three weeks ago, Mohammad has read a different book each time. “I loved reading Khazane Ki Talaash (In Search of Treasure). I discuss these books with my friends,” he says.
Riaz Haq said…
Bearing gifts: the camels bringing books to Pakistan’s poorest children
The mobile library services are an education lifeline for students in Balochistan, where schools have closed during the pandemic

Chirag visits five towns each week accompanied by his handler and Ismail Yaqoob, a volunteer and teacher. One day, when Yaqoob went to work in his school instead of the village, he got a call on his mobile from one of the children.

“He asked me why I had not come along with the camel. They were waiting for books,” says Yaqoob. “Children are so interested in reading and in their studies, but sadly the state does not invest in education.”

Jawad Ali, 10, who has ambitions to be a teacher, has also started borrowing books from the camel library. He says: “I am learning new things from these books and reading stories, understanding photo stories. But I want to read more books. The books are written in my native language – Balochi – but in English and Urdu as well. We want more books – and libraries and schools, too.”
Riaz Haq said…
Monthly December 2022

The government has decided to include
transgenders in the Benazir Kafalat
programme for the first time to mobilize
this marginalized community, so that the
maximum number of transgender
persons could benefit from this policy.
PPAF through its 24 Partner
Organizations has disbursed 41,369
interest free loans amounting to Rs 1.70
billion during the month of November,
2022. Since inception of interest free loan
component, a total of 2,142,190 interest
free loans amounting to Rs 78.54 billion
have been disbursed to the borrowers.
During January-November 2022 Bureau
of Emigration and Overseas Employment
has registered 762,767 emigrants and
71055 emigrants during November, 2022
for overseas employment in different

According to WHO, cases of malaria,
cholera, acute watery diarrheal diseases,
and dengue fever are declining in most of
the flood-affected districts. Overall,
malaria cases have reduced to around
50,000 from over 100,000 confirmed
cases in early October. Malaria cases
have declined by 25% in Balochistan, 58%
in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and 67% in
Sindh provinces. However, high malaria
and cholera cases are still being reported
in some pocket districts in Sindh and
Balochistan where standing water
remains. In November 2022, around 70
suspected cases of Diphtheria were
reported from the flood-affected
provinces of KP, Sindh, and Punjab.
There are about 1.6 million children with
Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) across
all the flood-affected districts who need
treatment with Ready to Use Therapeutic
Food (RUTF). About 400,000 of these
children are in the 34 Government High
Priority Districts (GHPD). Bridging the
nutrition budget gap for an aggressive
sector-wide response is therefore very
critical. (OCHA, Flood situation report on
Pakistan, December, 06, 2022).
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Monthly December 2022

Real Sector:
For Rabi season 2022-23, wheat crop
has been sown on an area of 20.77
million acres . The input situation is 1
expected to remain favorable due to
incentives announced in Kissan Package
2022 that will boost agriculture
productivity. The better input situation is
expected to increase crops production in
Rabi season. According to IRSA the
irrigation water supply recorded at 6.32
MAF for November 2022 against the last
year's supply of 5.50 MAF, increased by
0.82 MAF.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded
at 23.8 percent on a YoY basis in
November 2022 as compared to 26.6
percent in the previous month
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69% Pakistanis feel that their children will have a better life than them in a global Gallup International survey in 64 countries

Figure in India is 43%

The most positive country among those surveyed is Nigeria (90% minus 6%) and the most negative is Slovenia a (14% minus 53%). Among the prominent countries where GIA could poll, expectations for their children’s future are highest in Nigeria is followed by Russia (52% minus 10%), Mexico (48% minus 30%), the USA (43% minus 31%) and India (43% minus 33%).

When combining the two questions, another perspective is added. For instance, Moldova shows a total of 86 (45% saying that their live is worse life than the one of their parents plus 41% expecting a worse life of today’s children), followed in this negative ranking by North Macedonia (82: 35% negative assessments plus 47% negative predictions), Afghanistan (81), Syria and Italy (78), etc.

Most of the countries are still positive on both questions, but if one looks for instance for countries with both above 50% positive answers, Nigeria stands out with 171 (81% positive for today plus 90% positive for tomorrow), followed by Kosovo (162), the United Arab Emirates (150), Ghana (141), Pakistan (134), etc.

Findings are proved, confirming that developing parts of the world share more hope. National and political peculiarities leave their footprint but in general is seems that the closer the war and troubles are, the worse are the answers on both issues – as expected.


Every second citizen (51%) of the world believes that their life is better than that of their parents. The other half of the people asked is equally divided between those who assess a worse life (23%) and those who find it the same (23%). 3% could not answer. Satisfaction with the living standard is a key factor for people to believe that they have a better life than their parents. But in some rich regions like Europe this is not so valid.

Expectations for the life of today’s children are predominantly good as well but lower than the comparison of own life to the life of the previous generation – 44% are expecting a better life for today’s children in comparison to our lives, 28% expecting a worse life, 20% expecting about the same and 8% not responding. Aged people are less sure about the better future of the next generation. More money unsurprisingly seems to result in more confidence in the future on a personal level, but on a national level countries that experience or used to experience difficulties are the ones to believe stronger in better future for the next generation. Unsurprisingly again.
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Pakistan launches ‘School on Wheels’ project to improve education in rural areas

8 mobile classrooms will provide primary-level education and offer libraries and meals

Islamabad: Pakistan government launched the ‘School on Wheels’ project to being education to the doorstep of children whose parents are unable to send them to school.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif launched the initiative on Tuesday and expressed hopes that the initiative would increase the literacy rate in Pakistan, particularly in rural areas. During the inauguration of mobile schools, PM Sharif said that the project aims to offer equal educational opportunities to children in rural areas who lacked the availability of modern educational facilities.

The prime minister also interacted with the schoolchildren at the launch ceremony. He urged the kids to utilise mobile libraries and hoped that it would promote a reading culture among the children. Education Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain briefed the prime minister on various features of the project. He said that in addition to mobile libraries, the project would also provide meals to the students enrolled in mobile classrooms, fostering a culture of reading and nourishment.

Eight mobile school buses
The bright-coloured buses were decorated with balloons and the windows were painted with alphabets and cartoons. The inside of the mobile classrooms is bright and clean, its interior filled with images of alphabets, numbers, days of the week, and pictures of fruit and animals. On the first day, children were seen sitting on colorful chairs inside the bus as a teacher used the interactive whiteboard for teaching.

Initially, the mobile school project consists of eight buses that will provide primary-level education to the children of Islamabad and nearby areas. Each bus is equipped with computers, desks, whiteboards, and LCDs. The government plans to increase the number of buses and expand the project to the rest of the country.

The ‘school on wheels’ project aims to bring education to the doorstep of disadvantaged children to give them a chance to learn. Several similar mobile school projects have been earlier introduced in Pakistan by public and private organisations.
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The PIDE report further states that by breaking down the data further, it was discovered that approximately 1 in 4 (23.45 percent) children between the ages of 5–16 in Pakistan had never attended school whereas about 7 percent had enrolled and dropped out.

Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children where an estimated 22.8 million children between 5 to 16 years of age are not attending school representing 44pc of the total population in this age group.

The proportion of children out-of-school between the ages 5-16 stood at a whopping 30pc nationwide in 2018-19, with Balochistan, the worst performing province, where 59pc approximately 2 out of 3 children are deprived of basic education, followed by Sindh with 42pc percent out of school Children, revealed in a recent research report of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) titled ‘Primary School Literacy: A Case Study Of The Educate A Child Initiative.’ In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the merged areas there are 31pc out of school children, the report added.

Pakistan is facing a serious challenge to ensure all children, particularly the most disadvantaged, attend, stay and learn in school. While enrolment and retention rates are improving, progress has been slow on improving educational indicators in Pakistan. According the report nearly 10.7 million boys and 8.6 million girls are enrolled at the primary level which drops to 3.6 million boys and 2.8 million girls at the lower secondary level.

The report states that according to the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM)’s survey conducted during 2018-19, approximately 51 percent of the population of Pakistan has successfully completed their primary level education which rose 2pc from 2013-14. Balochistan was the worst performing province in this regard, with figures actually declining from 33pc in 2013-14 to 31 percent in 2018-19–the COVID-19 pandemic has likely caused further damage.

Punjab, on the other hand, was the best performing province with a completion rate of just 57pc, approximately 3 out of 5. Assuming that education and literacy are public goods, these statistics indicate a looming crisis for Pakistan which has not managed to formulate a comprehensive strategy or framework around which children may become literate and empower themselves economically.

PIDE report says 59pc children in Balochistan deprived of basic education

The PIDE report further states that by breaking down the data further, it was discovered that approximately 1 in 4 (23.45 percent) children between the ages of 5–16 in Pakistan had never attended school whereas about 7 percent had enrolled and dropped out.

The situation in Balochistan and Sindh was the worst. In the former, about half of children in the same age bracket had never attended school (54.25pc) and in the latter, the figure stood at 35.44pc.

The report mentioned that alongside enrolment, there was a grave need to address the shortcomings of the system in place responsible for supporting and overseeing public schools.

These institutions have historically struggled to address problems such as teacher absenteeism, low enrolment, high dropout, and poor physical conditions. The reason for this is a lack of resources and underdeveloped monitoring/governance mechanisms—along with the absence of any substantial coordination mechanisms.

According to the PIDE’s report there is a need for the establishment of local, grassroots level entities that could act as intermediaries between targeted populations and the governing agencies.
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Primary School Literacy: A Case Study of the Educate a Child Initiative
Abbas Moosvi, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad.

According to the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement survey of 2018-19, approximately 51 percent of the population of Pakistan has successfully completed their primary level education – a figure that rose 2 percent from 2013-14. Balochistan was the worst performing province in this regard, with figures actually declining from 33 percent in 2013-14 to 31 percent in 2018-19—and the COVID-19 pandemic has likely caused further damage. Punjab, on the other hand, was the best performing, with a completion rate of just 57 percent—approximately 3 out of 5. Assuming that education and literacy are public goods, these statistics indicate a looming crisis for Pakistan: which has not managed to formulate a comprehensive strategy or framework around which children may become literate and empower themselves economically.

The proportion of children out-of-school between the ages 5-16 stood at a whopping 30 percent nationwide in 2018-19. In Balochistan, the worst performing province, the figure stood at 59 percent during the same period: approximately 3 out of 2 children deprived of basic education. In Sindh, the rate was 42 percent—alarming for the province generating the highest tax revenues in the country, largely from the economic capital: Karachi.

Breaking down the data further, it was discovered that approximately 1 in 4 (23.45 percent) children between the ages of 5–16 in Pakistan had never attended school—whereas about 7 percent had enrolled and dropped out. The situation in Balochistan and Sindh was the worst. In the former, about half of children in the same age bracket had never attended school (54.25 percent) and in the latter the figure stood at 35.44 percent.
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How Maqsad’s Mobile Education Can Help More Pakistani Students Learn

Maqsad aims to make education more accessible to 100 million Pakistani students through a learning platform delivered via a mobile app. The platform offers teaching and testing, and can respond to queries. It seeks to disrupt the country’s out-of-school education sector, which largely consists of expensive tuition services that most families can’t afford.


Growing up in Pakistan, high-school friends Rooshan Aziz and Taha Ahmed, the founders of edtech start-up Maqsad, were very conscious of their good fortune. Aziz struggled with dyslexia but his parents were able to afford after-school academic support that enabled him to complete his education. Ahmed, meanwhile, benefited from a series of academic scholarships that gave him a headstart in life.

Fast forward to the Covid-19 pandemic, Aziz and Ahmed were both working in London, and watched with horror as Pakistan tried to move to online learning, but found itself unable to scale up a technology platform capable of supporting large numbers of students. The crisis acted as an impetus to launch Maqsad, which is today announcing a $2.8 million funding round as it reaches 1 million users only six months after its launch.


“Maqsad offers an exceptional after-school learning experience for students at a fraction of the cost of existing alternatives,” Ahmed explains. “Our focus on student problems is at the core of our mission, and we’ve collected feedback from over 20,000 students and teachers across Pakistan to ensure learning outcomes are being achieved.”

Certainly, the company has grown remarkably quickly. Since its launch last year, the Maqsad app has been downloaded more than 1 million times and is consistently ranked as the number one education app in Pakistan on the Google Play Store. The app provides access to high-quality content developed by experienced teachers, but also uses artificial intelligence tools to offer personalised learning.

Aimed initially at students aged 15 to 19 – often preparing for board or university entrance exams – the platform aims to have real impact in a market where student-teacher ratios, at 44:1, are among the highest in the world. Maqsad – the name is the Urdu word for “purpose” – offers a freemium model, enabling students to access a range of features and services at little or no cost. Over time, it plans to offer more content aimed at younger students.

From an investment perspective, the business offers exposure to an education market that is worth $37 billion in Pakistan. While other technology-enabled providers are also targeting the market – including Abwaab and Nearpeer – Maqsad regards its primary competitors as the providers of physical tuition centres. These are unaffordable for many students, it points out, or simply inaccessible for those who do not live in urban locations where such centres are located.
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PM launches ‘Teleschool Pakistan’ for free online education

Teleschool Pakistan is a mobile application developed by the Ministry of Federal Education to provide free online education to students of all grades.

Addressing the ceremony, the prime minister observed that teachers’ training in the country was not up to the mark which was unfortunate and cited his experience in Punjab province.

He said that he had directed for steps to improve the quality of about 40 training centres in the province during his tenure as the chief minister.


Secretary for Federal Education and Professional Training Waseem Ajmal presented an overview of the initiative.

He said digital contents would be created and made available on different medium. A total of six digital channels were being launched for different ages.

He said after the Covid pandemic, 6,000 quality videos were prepared.

Teachers would also be properly trained under the professional development initiative, he added.

Under the initiative, 150 chrome books were being distributed among the students while another 6,000 chrome books would be distributed soon, he added.

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Purpose driven life: How top London school graduates quit lucrative jobs to provide millions of Pakistani students a lifeline | Pakistan – Gulf News

Islamabad: As the once-in-a-century pandemic brought unprecedented changes to the world of education, two Pakistani entrepreneurs, Rooshan Aziz and Taha Ahmed, found their purpose and built an edtech (educational technology) platform called Maqsad, which is the Urdu word for “purpose”.

Ahmed and Aziz, graduates of the London School of Economics, left their jobs in strategy consulting and investment banking in London and returned to Karachi to pursue their shared aspiration of making a meaningful impact back in Pakistan.

Being aware of the challenges of the Pakistani education system, the two childhood friends seized the opportunity during the pandemic disruption and founded Maqsad in 2021 with a mission to provide a lifeline for millions of students and allow them to access educational resources from their homes.

Within the last six months, the Maqsad app reached 1 million, has answered 4 million queries, and continues to be ranked as the top education app in Pakistan on the Google app store. But that is only the beginning. Maqsad aims to make education more accessible to 100 million Pakistani students through its mobile-only learning platform.

Features of learning platform
“Maqsad is a very comprehensive learning platform that does three things for students: Explain concepts, test knowledge and answer queries,” the co-founder Rooshan Aziz explained to Gulf News. The app provides comprehensive after-school academic content in both English and Urdu.

It offers teaching, testing, and query resolution for grades 9-12 students, focusing on the content of local educational boards - Sindh, Punjab, and Federal boards currently but aims to expand its reach to more boards and grades in the future.

The app’s query-solving technology and interactive testing provide a valuable solution for students who lack access to quality instructors. With the app’s enhanced assessment feature, students can confidently self-evaluate, resulting in a consistent month-on-month growth of 150 per cent in the number of questions attempted by students, Aziz shared.

Personalised after-school academic support
The mobile app is emerging as a potential solution to help reduce reliance on private tuition in Pakistan. Many students, including those studying in private schools, often turn to private tuition to provide individualised attention and support to help them keep up with the curriculum.

The Maqsad co-founders understand these challenges very well. Aziz struggled with dyslexia (learning disability) and largely depended on after-school academic support to complete his education. When he grew up, Aziz realised that this support was largely out of reach for the majority of students in Pakistan. Ahmed, who comes from a middle-class background, recalled that his family dedicated over half of the family’s income towards education, and securing scholarships helped alter the course of his life.

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Purpose driven life: How top London school graduates quit lucrative jobs to provide millions of Pakistani students a lifeline | Pakistan – Gulf News

“Maqsad serves as a substitute for offline tuition, which may be inaccessible or unaffordable for many families. This is a major concern for girls who face accessibility issues due to limited public transport infrastructure and reliance on other family members,” said the Maqsad co-founder Ahmed. Another goal of the platform is to address Pakistan’s unequal education landscape, where poor education standards prevail for a large number of students, he says.

‘Game-changer’ for students
Maqsad app has been hailed as a “game-changer” for students who struggle to receive personalised support due to the country’s highest student-teacher ratios in the world with only 1 teacher for every 44 students. Ahmed emphasises that “focus on student problems is at the core of our mission, and we have collected feedback from over 20,000 students and teachers across Pakistan to ensure learning outcomes are being achieved”.

The app has been particularly beneficial for female students allowing them to receive the support they need to excel academically. A ninth-grade female student, who recently scored an impressive 73 out of 75 in Maths, attributed her success to the personalised support at Maqsad available free of cost.

Medical student Nimra Khan (student’s name changed upon request) said she used the app to prepare for college admission test and was able to join her dream university “thanks to high-quality services by Maqsad, which were provided for free, unlike other learning applications that charged significant amounts of money.” The app provides free access to the majority of the lessons but there are also paid options for advanced content at a fraction of the price of comparable alternatives.

Many teachers are also reportedly using the app as a source of knowledge and to offer after-school support who don’t have direct access to the app or Internet.

Maqsad secures $2.8 million in seed funding
The leading edtech, Maqsad, recently raised $2.8 million in a seed funding round led by Speedinvest, one of Europe’s largest seed investors, and returning investor Indus Valley Capital. Philip Specht, a partner at Speedinvest, said the firm invested because of Maqsad’s “potential to disrupt the education ecosystem and touch the lives of millions of students”. They believe that Maqsad is “on track to be one of the most successful businesses in Pakistan.

Indus Valley Capital, a Pakistan-focused early-stage venture capital fund, has increased its investment in Maqsad due to its compelling vision for education in Pakistan. This investment has raised Maqsad’s total capital to $4.9 million, solidifying its position as the best-funded edtech platform in Pakistan.

Future goals
The Maqsad team will use funding “to invest in more content for younger classes and cutting-edge technologies to make learning more personalised” and introduce AI-based solutions to enhance the platform’s capabilities and expand the subject offerings. “We are laser-focused on delivering a personalised learning experience at scale and have a number of exciting AI-based initiatives in the pipeline,” he said.

The edtech startup is also exploring potential partnerships with schools and is currently running a pilot with one of the largest school networks in the country. Sharing the long-term vision, Aziz said Maqsad aims to transform the country’s education ecosystem with content and technology solutions that are not limited by constraints such as financial issues or unavailability of teachers in rural regions.
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Education Technology in Pakistan | EdTech Hub

EdTech Hub develops and delivers evidence in EdTech. We work in partnership with researchers and stakeholders in-country to find specific, effective solutions to education challenges.

Since 2020, EdTech Hub has been assisting many players in Pakistan’s education sector. Because the education sector in Pakistan is very decentralised, EdTech Hub’s work requires close collaboration with the Government at the federal and provincial levels, as well as local partners, EdTech entrepreneurs and policy think tanks.

More specifically, EdTech Hub works with the Pakistani Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MoFEPT), the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), the FCDO, World Bank, and UNICEF to achieve large-scale impact.
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A mobile library reaching children in remote villages of Pakistan
The camel library is a unique project to improve access to literacy

There is something special about the library in Tharparkar, one of the most deprived areas of the southeastern province of Sindh in Pakistan.

This mobile library was started almost two years ago in the village of Dhano Dodandal in the district of Tharparkar. It involves loading books onto a camel, which is then taken from village to village. Recently, the project has expanded to the another village, Sokliyo.

Mehdi Raza, who supervises this project in the area of Nagarparkar, says that Dr Asghar Naqvi of Karachi put him in touch with the educational NGO Alif Laila – who provided the team with books for children.

The camel library facilitates learning for children from village to village, without the need for hefty investment. Children not only read the books themselves but also take them to the adults in their homes, which furthers spreads awareness.

Children in the small village school look forward to the two days of the week when books are brought to them by the camel library.

Teacher Badal tells Independent Urdu he is happy that his students can access books in this novel way – and that the library is a helpful resource in their learning.

Pana Bhai, who is fond of reading, says she comes with the children of her village as soon as the camel library arrives.

Mehdi Raza explains that this service was started with just a single camel, but in the future it is hoped the project will be able expand further using more camels.
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Camelback counters trek wilderness for Pakistan (first digital) census

“We even have to live for days out in the mountains among the people we're counting," says census supervisor.

Plodding over the horizon of Balochistan, camel-riding officials spy on a far-flung cluster of rough wooden homes and start tallying its tribespeople as the national census gets underway.

Beyond the reach of roads, power lines and TV signals in central Balochistan, this arid settlement of five reed huts has no name and hosts barely 15 nomads — three families herding goats and sheep.

“We ride for hours,” said local census supervisor Faraz Ahmad. “We even have to live for days out in the mountains among the people we’re counting.”

In cities and towns, teams wend their way from door to door on motorbikes. But in rural Balochistan, the tarmac gives way to craggy trails that then dissolve altogether in a wilderness of khaki rockland.

A fleet of gurning camels is the only option to get the job done.

“It takes a while to convince them to share their details,” census taker Mohammad Junaid Marri told AFP in Kohlu district, 210 kilometres east of Quetta and one hour by camel from the nearest discernible road.

“In some cases, it’s kind of funny. Since every census team has a security escort, sometimes people run away,” the 30-year-old said after his garlanded camel Bhoora bowed to let him slide off its hump and start peppering families with questions.

Between five and 10 per cent of Kohlu residents live in areas so inaccessible that camels are the only practical transport, estimates 34-year-old Ahmad.

They are rented for 1,000 rupees a day and the price includes a cameleer — a man trudging ahead to lead the bristly beasts on a leash.

In a nation divided along ethnic lines, enumerating citizens — 207 million at last count and an estimated 220m today — is a politically charged act that can alter claims to power and scant state resources.

The data will also be used to outline constituencies in future elections. Balochistan — Pakistan’s largest and least populous province — is rich in natural resources but poor by all other measures.

A separatist insurgency has long simmered in the region, fuelled by the grievance that Islamabad has failed to share the spoils of wealth extracted from Balochistan.

As Marri and Ahmad approach the hamlet on one camel — trailed by another carrying a guard wielding a weathered machine gun — they are eyed by a teenager through a pair of binoculars as children in traditional red floral dresses gather around.

“There’s a lack of awareness among people about the census — they don’t understand the benefits and downsides,” said Ahmad. “They don’t trust us and fear we may cheat them.”

Elsewhere, police guarding census teams in the nation’s remote and restive northwest have been killed by the Taliban.

Despite the decidedly low-tech mode of transport, this is the first time Pakistan’s census will be compiled digitally — on tablets rather than reams of paper. Nonetheless, the old grievances remain.

“What benefits will we get from the census?” asked Mir Khan, 53, in another nearby speck of a settlement at the foot of mountains.

“We will get nothing. The influential people snatch everything the government wants to distribute to the poor.”

“We have never seen any support from the government,” grumbles his cousin Pando Khan, 58. “We see people when they’re campaigning for us to vote for them, and later they never return.”

However, after swapping their personal details with families according to local tribal customs, Ahmad and Marri convince them to answer 25 questions to give them a clearer picture of present-day Pakistan.

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Pakistan: Technology boosts education reform in remote areas

Education in Pakistan’s Balochistan and Sindh provinces has been hampered by natural disasters, poor infrastructure and remoteness, and further exacerbated by political, economic and security problems.
From WhatsApp groups to biometric fingerprint systems, innovative technology has helped with building and restoring schools and improving teacher retention in these remote regions.
Since 2014, GPE’s support has led to 53,000 previously out-of-school children enrolled in school in Balochistan, and the tracking of educational data in all 29 districts in Sindh.

Supported by a US$34 million GPE grant, the government of Balochistan set up digital profiles to record land transfers and follow school construction, supporting the completion of schools and allowing education officials to track progress.

Large-scale surveys gathered geospatial data, an innovative and cost-effective way to identify abandoned buildings that could be transformed into schools.

Balochistan also established criteria for the selection of school sites, ensuring no other school existed within a 1.5 km radius and that locations enabled at least 20 out-of-school children to attend. This resulted in schools being built in remote areas with the most need.

Since 2015, 700 schools with new or renovated buildings have been completed and more than 100 girls’ primary schools upgraded to secondary. With GPE support, education authorities began to track real-time data in 14,000 schools, including teacher attendance and enrollment.

This has helped with the allocation of funding to locations with the greatest need. Android apps also record the physical infrastructure of schools, providing timely information on the functionality of toilets, drinking water and electricity.

School monitoring using technology
Both provinces use tech solutions to support management and ensure accountability in the education system. In Balochistan, apps keep track of teacher attendance, recording when teachers are within a certain geo-radius of the school; they work offline in more remote areas, uploading information when there is network access.

Through a US$66 million GPE grant, the Sindh province used tech tools to ensure teachers were deployed to the areas where they were most needed. Fingerprint-based biometric and photograph systems supported by GPS coordinates are also able to track teaching hours.

Greater incentive and validation for teachers
In a significant boost to quality learning, GPE supported the recruitment and training of qualified teachers, with emphasis placed on hiring female teachers to increase girls’ enrollment. Since 2015, 1,200 teachers have been recruited in Balochistan after passing the national testing service exam.

Better teaching and consistently open schools have helped increase student enrollment, with over 56,000 more girls enrolling in public elementary, primary and middle schools in Sindh.

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In Pakistan, Quality Education Requires A Different Approach—and More Investment

Our recent Human Capital Review highlights that quality education for all children in Pakistan will require a different approach and substantial financial efforts, estimated to be 5.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Low public spending on education, combined with limited effectiveness at producing positive student outcomes, such as universal school enrollments and effective learning, limits Pakistan’s citizens from more actively participating in economic and social activities and contributing to productivity and economic growth. The challenges –notably the large number of out-of-school children and high learning poverty–seem complex the costs of addressing them unsurmountable. Nevertheless, there are actions Pakistan can take to change this trajectory.

Pakistan’s education sector faces critical challenges, which are believed to have been deepened by COVID-19 and the 2022 Floods. These catastrophes have only added to the world’s second-highest population of out-of-school children, which was at 20.3 million before them. Even before the pandemic, Pakistan had 75% Learning Poverty, which means that prior to the floods it started with already a very high percentage of 10-year-olds that cannot read and understand a simple age-appropriate text. The most vulnerable are disproportionately affected by the sector’s challenges. For example, learning poverty is highest for the poorest, and the most impoverished children – mainly in rural areas – are more likely to be out of school.

A different approach would require using available information to better target education programs in order to maximize the impact of limited resources.

For example, conversations and analyses tend to group all out-of-school children into a single category. This severely limits the effectiveness of policy actions to reduce out-of-school children. Understanding the different characteristics of out-of-school children will help, and here are some of them:

The majority are girls. Before the pandemic, 37 percent of girls and 27 percent of boys aged 5–16 were not in school.
They are more likely to live in rural areas. About 35 percent—or 15 million-- rural children aged 5 to 16 were out of school, compared with 20 percent –or 4.4 million--of urban children. This gap has remained constant over the past two decades.
They tend to be older. More children are out after primary school. During the 2018/19 school year, 40 percent of secondary school-age children were out of school (40 compared to 25 percent of middle school-age children and 23 percent of primary school–age children.
The number and share of out-of-school children drastically differs across provinces. About 53 percent of all out-of-school children live in Punjab and 23 percent in Sindh. That is almost 14 million. However, Balochistan and Sindh show the country's highest provincial rates of out-of-school children.
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In Pakistan, Quality Education Requires A Different Approach—and More Investment

A different approach not only targets out-of-school children more effectively, but also calls for a relentless focus on learning in everything the education sector does. The statistics in Pakistan are telling: 65 percent of students still need to achieve a minimum proficiency level in reading by the end of primary education (Learning Poverty Brief).

There are several barriers to learning. Research points to outdated teaching practices, lack of quality and availability of pedagogical material, difficulty transitioning from languages spoken at home to the language used in schools, and teacher shortages. In addition, poverty, undernutrition, lack of school readiness, and distance to school make learning more challenging for students.

A different approach and implementing programs for impact would require at least three elements. First, it requires policies and solutions tailored to the characteristics of distinct groups of out-of-school children to maximize impact. For example, bringing children who are in the 13-16 age range and who have never been in school to regular school does not answer their needs. Alternatively, providing these children with literacy, numeracy, and life skills would support their needs in life.

Second, it requires focusing on what works. There is plenty of evidence from Pakistan and elsewhere that highlight the policy options and programs that are the most cost-effective to increase enrollment and learning, but prioritizing which ones to implement is critical. Third, it will require increasing the efficiency and level of public expenditure, this can be achieved by targeting funding every year to where education outcomes are the lowest.

There are several tested and impactful approaches that Pakistan has used successfully and that can deliver results at a reasonable cost. These can be scaled to expand educational services for children in Pakistan.

A few examples here can have a real impact. First, public-private partnerships have worked in Punjab. They can be expanded to cover more children in other levels of the system, particularly middle school, but be better regulated. Second, public and community schools can be revamped and improved, ensuring teachers are present – including consideration of double shifts when appropriate in the public sector. Third, multigrade classrooms should take true multigrade approaches in terms of funding, planning, and pedagogical execution. Making multigrade more effective is necessary to make rural education affordable and impactful. Several countries have done it successfully, including Pakistan, in the past.

Finally, the Human Capital Review provides a back-of-the-envelope estimate of how much Pakistan would require to keep all children in school – with gains in quality: 5.4 percent of GDP. This is assuming increases in efficiency in the public sector of 20 percent, for example, by using more targeted programs, investing in cost-efficient programs, and minimizing the use of high-cost, low-impact programs such as laptop distribution with no underlying pedagogical strategy.

An increase in expenditure is necessary from the low base of 2.5 percent of GDP Pakistan currently spends on education. Expanding levels of education should go in parallel with a serious effort to increase the efficiency of public expenditure in access, quality, and equity. Just bringing children to school is not enough. They must learn the skills to contribute to their own lives, families, communities, and country.

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India expects all primary & lower-secondary school kids to be educated by 2030: UNESCO report

The report indicates that these numbers are significantly higher than 2015. That year, 36.5 per cent and 38.8 per cent of students achieved minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics at the end of primary education. However, this number is expected to grow to 90 per cent and 85 per cent in 2025.

Lower secondary levels of mathematics proficiency, at 12.3 per cent in 2015, were lower than Bangladesh (31 per cent), Nepal (53.8 per cent), Pakistan (68 per cent) and Sri Lanka (50.6 per cent). But for India, the number is expected to grow over six times to 75 per cent by 2030.
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Global Social Mobility Index 2020 | World Economic Forum

The Global Social
Mobility Report 2020
Equality, Opportunity
and a New Economic

The World Economic Forum’s Global Social Mobility Index provides a new, holistic assessment of 82 global economies according to their performance on five key dimensions of social mobility distributed over 10 pillars: 1. Health; 2. Education (access, quality and equity, lifelong learning); 3. Technology; 4. Work (opportunities, wages, conditions); 5. Protection and Institutions (social protection and inclusive institutions). Economies with greater social mobility provide more equally shared opportunities—namely, an equal and meritocratic footing irrespective of socio-economic background, geographic location, gender or origin. There is a direct and linear relationship between a country’s income inequality and its social mobility score on the index. Low social mobility entrenches historical inequalities and higher income inequalities fuel lower social mobility. Enhancing social mobility can convert this vicious cycle into a virtuous one and has positive benefits on broader economic growth. The Global Social Mobility Index equips policy-makers with a tool to identify areas for improving social mobility and promoting equally shared opportunities for the entirety of their citizens, regardless of their development stage. The index is supplemented by a deep dive into the situation in the United States, through innovative metrics developed in partnership between the World Economic Forum and three private sector companies which hold unique data sets and provide new insights into the distribution of advantages and disadvantages across the population.

62 Tunisia 51.7
63 Panama 51.4
64 Turkey 51.3
65 Colombia 50.3
66 Peru 49.9
67 Indonesia 49.3 68
El Salvador 47.4
69 Paraguay 46.8
70 Ghana 45.5
71 Egypt 44.8
72 Lao PDR 43.8
74 Morocco 43.7
73 Honduras 43.5
75 Guatemala 43.5
76 India 42.7
77 South Africa 41.4
78 Bangladesh 40.2
79 Pakistan 36.7
81 Cameroon 36.0
80 Senegal 36.0
82 Côte d'Ivoire 34.5
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No School Stands Alone
How market dynamics affect the performance of public and private schools

Jishnu Das

In the United States, 9 percent of K–12 students attend private schools, but in low- and middle-income countries, private schools account for 20 percent of all primary enrollment and are rapidly gaining ground. In Pakistan, the number of private schools rose to more than 70,000 by 2015, up from 3,000 in 1982; by 2015, these schools educated 34 percent of Pakistani children enrolled in primary schools. In contrast to private schools in the United States, Pakistan’s are highly affordable, and the majority are secular.

This growth in private schooling comes at a unique moment in global education: low-income countries have managed to substantially increase enrollments at all levels of schooling, but they have yet to improve what children learn. For instance, the unprecedented speed at which primary (and now secondary and college) enrollment has risen in low-income countries dwarfs the historical experience of today’s rich countries. Yet, in countries such as India and Pakistan, when children are tested at the end of 3rd grade, one-third of them cannot subtract two-digit numbers, less than a sixth can read a simple sentence in English, and less than half can read a simple sentence in the vernacular language, Urdu. Across low-income countries, test scores are so low that the situation has been dubbed a global learning crisis by organizations such as the World Bank and UNESCO.

The growth in private schools, coming at the same time as the shift in focus from enrollment to learning, has polarized the education community in low- and middle-income countries. Some people favor heavily regulating or even shutting down private schools, based on the belief that they provide substandard education to children of parents who are unable to assess the quality of schools; others believe that private schools should be encouraged and indeed subsidized through the public purse because they provide a valuable option in places with failing public schools. Missing from this debate is a detailed empirical picture of what the growth of private schools means for education markets more broadly. How does the rise in private schooling affect demand for schools in both the private and public sectors, and how do schools respond to any changing demand? Does more competition increase quality? Should governments maintain their focus on improving the quality of public schools, alleviate constraints on private alternatives—or perhaps do both?

Learning from the LEAPS Project

Research from the Learning and Education Achievement in Pakistan Schools project, or LEAPS, sheds light on these questions and holds implications for public policy in Pakistan and around the globe. To understand how the growth of private schools was transforming the education landscape in low-income countries, in 2003 I teamed up with Tahir Andrabi of Pomona College and Asim Ijaz Khwaja of Harvard University to launch the LEAPS project, a study of all the schools in 112 villages in the province of Punjab. The province has more than 100,000 schools, of which 60,000 were private in 2015. (By comparison, the state of California, with the largest public-education system in the United States, has about 10,000 public schools.) The villages in the LEAPS project were selected from those that had at least one private school in 2003; these villages are larger and somewhat wealthier than the average village in Punjab, which in turn has the lowest poverty rate of all Pakistani provinces. At the time the project began, about 60 percent to 70 percent of the province’s rural population lived in villages with at least one private school. Between 2003 and 2011, the LEAPS team tracked more than 800 schools in these villages, interviewed more than 1,000 principals and 2,000 teachers, and tested more than 70,000 children to gauge their foundational skills in literacy and numeracy.
Riaz Haq said…

Jishnu Das

The high concentration of private and public schools in Punjab Province has transformed education markets there. Figure 1 shows a village in the LEAPS sample. It took me (and two young children) 15 minutes to traverse the village, yet it has five private and two public schools. Data gathered by the LEAPS team show that in 2003, the average fee for private schools in rural Punjab was equivalent to about $1.50 a month, or less than the price of a cup of tea every day. The number of schools in the village portrayed here is typical of the sample—in fact, the average LEAPS village in 2003 had 678 households and 8.2 schools, of which 3 were private.

The proliferation of private schools in Punjab has enabled such considerable school choice that, once we account for urban areas, some 90 percent of children in the province now live in neighborhoods and villages like the one illustrated in Figure 1. Such “schooling markets” are not just a Pakistani or South Asian phenomenon. Schooling environments in Latin America and parts of Sub-Saharan Africa also offer extensive variety for local families.

One question widely examined by education researchers is whether children in private schools learn more than those in public schools. Is there a private-school “premium” that can be measured in terms of test results or other metrics? One impediment to answering that question is that children enrolled in private schools are not randomly drawn from the local population, and researchers often cannot convincingly correct for this selection problem. In my view, though, a larger obstacle is that the concept of an “average” private-school premium is elusive when families can choose from multiple public and private schools and the quality of schools differs vastly within both sectors. Comparing a high-performing public school to a low-performing private school will yield a very different result than comparing a high-performing private school to a low-performing public school.

The LEAPS research team looked at this question in a study published in 2023. We defined school value-added as the gain in test scores in Urdu, math, and English that a randomly selected child would experience when enrolled in a specific school. The team found that the value-added variation among schools was so large that, compounded over the primary school years, the average difference between the best- and the worst-performing school in the same village was comparable to the difference in test scores between low- and high-income countries.

Figure 2 shows what this variation implies for estimates of private-school effectiveness. Each vertical line in the figure represents one of the 112 LEAPS villages. Schools in each village are arranged on the line according to their school value-added, with public schools indicated by red triangles and private schools by black dots. The red band tracks the average quality of public schools in the villages, from weakest to strongest, and the gray band shows the average quality of private schools in the villages. The private schools are, on average, more successful in raising test scores than their public-sector counterparts. As is clear, however, every village has private and public schools of varying quality, and the measure of any “private-school premium” depends entirely on which specific schools are being compared. In fact, the study shows that the causal impact of private schooling on annual test scores can range from –0.08 to +0.39 standard deviations. The low end of this range represents the average loss across all villages when children move from the best-performing public school to the worst-performing private school in the same village. The upper end represents the average gain across all villages when children move from the worst-performing public school to the best-performing private school, again within the same village.
Riaz Haq said…

Jishnu Das

Parents’ Choices

The relevant question, then, is not whether private schools are more effective. The questions are: How well are parents equipped to discern quality in a school—public or private—and choose the best one for their children? And can policy decisions affect these choices?

As to the first question, the team found that parents choosing private schools appear to recognize and reward high quality. Consequently, in the LEAPS villages, private schools with higher value-added are able to charge higher fees and see their market share increase over time. In contrast, parents choosing public schools either have a harder time gauging the school’s value-added or are less quality-sensitive in their choices. This is particularly concerning in the case of students enrolled in very poorly performing public schools where after five years of schooling they may not be able to read simple words or add two single-digit numbers.

Given that parents who opt for public schools appear to be less sensitive to quality, one reform instrument often supported by policymakers is the school voucher, whereby public money follows the child to the family’s school of choice. The idea is that making private schools “free” for families will allow children to leave poorly performing public schools in favor of higher-quality private schools. This strategy assumes that parents, when choosing among schools, place significant weight on the cost of the school, manifest in its fees. What’s more, one may reasonably expect that such “fee sensitivity” will be higher in low-income countries and among low-income families. Yet a 2022 analysis of the LEAPS villages showed that a 10 percent decline in private-school fees increased private-school enrollment by 2.7 percent for girls and 1 percent for boys. From these data we estimated that even a subsidy that made private schools totally free would decrease public-school enrollment by only 12.7 and 5.3 percentage points for girls and boys, respectively. This implies that most of the subsidy, rather than going to children who are leaving public schools, would be captured by children who would have enrolled in private schools even without the tuition aid. Further, most of the children induced to change schools under the policy may come from high- rather than low-performing public schools, limiting any test-score gains one might expect.

One alternative to trying to move children out of poorly performing public schools is to focus on improving those schools. A LEAPS experiment that my co-authors and I published in 2023 evaluated a program that allocated grants to public schools in villages randomly chosen from the LEAPS sample. We found that, four years after the program started, test scores were 0.2 standard deviations higher in public schools in villages that received funds than in public schools in villages that did not. In addition, we observed an “education multiplier” effect: test scores were also 0.2 standard deviations higher in private schools located in grant-receiving villages. This effect echoes an economic phenomenon that often occurs in industry—that is, when low-quality firms improve, higher-quality firms tend to increase their quality even further to protect their market share. In the LEAPS villages, the private schools that improved were those that faced greater competition, either by being physically closer to a public school or by being located in a village where public schools were of relatively high quality at the start of the program. The same was true of private schools in villages where the grants to the public schools were larger.

Riaz Haq said…

Jishnu Das

The education multiplier effect increases the cost-effectiveness of the grant program by 85 percent, putting it among the top ranks of education interventions in low-income countries that have been subject to formal evaluation. But beyond that, accounting for private-school responses also changed the optimal targeting of the policy. For instance, our analysis shows that if policymakers consider test-score increases in public schools only, a policy that divides resources equally across villages also maximizes test-score gains; there is apparently no trade-off between equity and effectiveness. Once private-school responses are considered, however, equal division of resources exacerbates existing inequalities in learning among villages. This implies that a government that values equity should distribute more resources to villages with poorly performing public schools.

Implications for Policymaking

With 90 percent of Pakistani children living in neighborhoods with multiple public and private schools, the days when government could formulate policies that affected only public schools are long gone. The same is true of many other low-income countries where parents also have significant school choice, ranging from Chile to India. Every policy will have an impact on both public and private schools, even if a policy only targets public schools. Policymakers can choose to ignore these additional effects, but to do so is to miscalculate the policy’s full impact. Our studies are still too premature to help factor parental and private-school responses into the design of policy. A key insight from the LEAPS research is that there is significant variation among schools in terms of performance and among parents in terms of their preferences for quality. A policy to improve public schools can lead to an education multiplier effect in one context but cause private schools to exit in another. A broad understanding of the dynamics of education markets, such as parents placing a very heavy weight on physical distance to school in their choices, can shed some light on this variation. Yet the data requirements to make detailed predictions about how policies will play out in specific settings may be too onerous, at least for now.

How then to proceed? Three broad principles are emerging from the LEAPS project.

First, there is little evidence that parents choosing to send their children to private schools in low-income countries are being fooled or hoodwinked into receiving a substandard education. On the contrary, the parents choosing private schools seem to be more informed and better able to reward school quality. The bigger problem is the substantial population of children enrolled in very low-performing public schools, even when there are better public schools nearby. Unfortunately, policies that seek to move children from public to private schools by means of vouchers may end up spending a lot of money on children who were already going to private schools. What’s more, the test-score gains from such policies may be limited if most of the children who do switch from a public to a private school come from higher-performing public schools. Indeed, a 2022 study by Mauricio Romero and Abhijeet Singh showed that both of these dynamics play out in India’s Right to Education Act, which established one of the world’s largest voucher schemes. Subsidizing private schools in a way that consistently improves test scores by moving children out of low-performing public schools remains an elusive goal.
Riaz Haq said…

Jishnu Das

If we cannot move children out of low-performing public schools, the alternative is to improve those schools. The second principle, then, is that governments should maintain a focus on improving the quality of public schools. Results of the first generation of efforts to do so in low-income countries were mixed at best, but studies of newer reform efforts that emphasize improved pedagogy, incentives, teacher recruitment and training, and school grants are all showing positive results. A 2021 study by Alex Eble and colleagues, for instance, showed dramatic improvements in test scores in The Gambia with an intervention that used a variety of strategies: hiring teachers on temporary contracts, making changes in pedagogy, monitoring teachers, and giving them regular feedback. Again, the benefits of these policies may extend beyond the public schools they target. In schooling markets, the education multiplier effect will create positive knock-on effects for private schools.

Third, leaders should consider an entirely different class of policies. These are policies that do not privilege either the public or private sector but acknowledge that both parents and schools face constraints and that alleviating these constraints can lead to significant improvements in both sectors, regardless of the preferences of parents or the cost structures of schools.

Studies by the LEAPS team present two examples of such policies. In the first, the team provided parents and schools with information on the performance of all schools in a village—public and private—through school “report cards.” We found that this intervention improved test scores in both public and private schools and decreased private-school fees. The policy, in this case, pays for itself and has been recognized as a global “great buy” by a team of education experts.

As a second example, in 2020 the LEAPS team provided grants to private schools, but in some villages, we gave the grant money to a single school and in others to all private schools in the village. We found that in the first scenario, the school used the money to upgrade infrastructure and expand enrollment but with no resulting improvement in test scores. However, when all the private schools in a village received a grant, schools expanded enrollment and increased student test scores. These schools anticipated that simultaneous capacity improvements by all the private schools would lead to a price war, driving profits to zero, so they focused largely on test-score improvements to maintain profit margins. In both scenarios, the combination of boosted enrollment and higher fees increased the schools’ profits. These increases were large enough that, had the schools taken the money in the form of loans, they would have been able to repay them at interest rates of 20 to 25 percent or more. Finally, the schools improved even though the grant terms did not explicitly require them to—showing that the market generated the incentives for improvement without additional monitoring and testing by external parties, which in Pakistan has proven to be both costly and difficult.

These interventions leverage the fact that many children in Pakistan and around the globe now live in neighborhoods with multiple public and private schools. In these environments, progress relies on alleviating broader constraints in the education market rather than focusing on specific schools or school types. Moving beyond “public versus private,” we now need policies that support schooling markets, not schools—the entire ecosystem, not just one species.

Jishnu Das is a distinguished professor of public policy at the McCourt School of Public Policy and the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Policy Research in New Delhi, India.
Riaz Haq said…
Chinese companies help in improving social sector

Islamabad: Chinese companies have enhanced their role in social development of Pakistan, while addressing the country’s economic and development issues. The companies are an integral part of CPEC. They are the torch bearer of this flagship project of BRI. They are not only helping Pakistan overcome its infrastructure problems but also investing in social development, skills, and environmental protection in Pakistan. All Chinese companies are investing in social development, but only a few have been selected for discussion, a report carried by Gwadar Pro. The Chinese companies not only helped to create thousands of jobs but also invested in building the capacity of hundreds of engineers and staff members.

According to available data, Huaneng Shandong Rui Group, which built the Sahiwal coal power invested in 622 employees for building their capacity and sharpen their skills. Further segregation of data shows that 245 engineers were trained following the need for required skills at plants. Port Qasim also contributed to building the capacity of engineers and staff members. Data shows that 2,600 employees benefited from the capacity-building and skill development opportunities offered by the Port Qasim plant. It trained 600 engineers and 2,000 general staff members.

It is a huge number, especially in the engineering category. It will help Pakistan; as Pakistan has a shortage of qualified and trained engineers. These companies also assisted Pakistan during floods and COVID-19. Second, the Chinese Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) is another Chines company, which is investing in social development. The major contribution of COPHC is in the sectors of education, waste management, environmental protection, and the provision of food.

Riaz Haq said…
Bilal I Gilani
Literacy rate by age

Alhamdulilah the younger generation is significantly more literate than older generation

Our literacy rate ( which is calculated on 15+ age group) is going to rise slowly as it has older cohorts in large numbers

Literacy is not end all but it's a start

(Bar graph shows literacy rate is 75% for 10-14 age group, 73% for 15-19 and 69% for 20-24....going down to 51% for 40-44 and 34% for 60-64 age group)

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