Strengthening Voice and Accountability Programming in the Education Sector report is unique in terms of its approach, methodology and content. It is not an evaluation or assessment of education projects in Pakistan, but instead, a validation that the results attributed to these countrywide interventions are an outcome of rigorous implementation of Voice and Accountability (V&A) programming. The validation exercise included seven projects supported by Ilm Ideas and four by other donors.

The uniqueness of this report and its methodology stems from the distinctiveness of the Ilm Ideas projects, which strengthened investment in informed and sustained engagement of right-holders (citizens) with duty-bearers (elected and public officials) for improved education delivery. The Ilm Ideas-supported projects focused on education access, quality and governance, for Pakistani children between the ages of 5 and 16 years.

Central to this report has been the focus on application of V&A criteria, prescribed by Ilm Ideas, in diverse socio-political contexts of Pakistan where education governance is weak and failing the country on many critical development indicators. The country is off-track on the United Nation’s Education for All (EFA) objectives and the second Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of achieving universal primary education. As per the 2013 Annual Status of Education Report for Pakistan, approximately half of all Pakistani children between the ages of 5 and 16 years cannot read a sentence in their own language and 17% of these children cannot recognize numeric digits. Contributory factors for this situation include low spending in the education sector and lack of government attention to improving this sector’s governance against the backdrop of weak public demand and accountability.

This report is the result of six months of extensive desk and field research to inform its findings and recommendations for improvement of future V&A programming in the education sector specifically, and other areas of development interest generally. It is not a comment on the quality of any specific project and its interventions, but an effort to improve the V&A-related project cycle for sustainable results in terms of policy, legislative and administrative improvements through meaningful public engagement and governmental accountability.

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