We led the performance evaluation of the Punjab Education Sector Programme to assess improvements made and identify lessons for future programmes in education system performance.
In partnership with Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS) and Consortium for Development Policy Research (CDPR), we are leading the multi-year performance evaluation of DFID’s Punjab Education Sector Programme (PESP2).
Under the programme, DFID allocated £420.5 million to support the Government of Punjab to reform and transform delivery of education. The programme builds on DFID’s previous support to the Government of Punjab and complemented the UK-supported Punjab Education Reform Roadmap. PESP2 aims to achieve the impact of “more educated people in Punjab making a social and economic contribution” with the intended outcome to ensure that “more children are in school, staying longer and learning more".
PESP2 has provided a combination of Sector Budget Support (SBS), targeted financial support, and technical assistance (TA). Specific programme components have focused on support to public private partnerships through the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) programmes with low cost private schools, support for rehabilitation of school infrastructure, scholarship programmes, support to special and inclusive education, and for adolescent girls who are out of school.
The fact that the evaluation began more than four years into implementation of the programme limited the extent to which baseline information could be collected as a basis for comparison, or the design of programme components could be influenced in a way that improved evaluability.
The objectives of performance evaluation have been:
- To assess what progress has been made in improving the performance of education in Punjab over the period of the PESP2 programme (with a particular focus on gender, disability, social exclusion and poverty), and what factors explain the performance observed;
- To identify, measure (where possible) and explain, the contributions that the PESP2 programme has made to the progress achieved, including the contributions of the PESP2 components, individually and collectively;
- To identify lessons for future programmes and for enhanced improvements in Punjab’s education system performance; and
- To provide interim reports that may assist in course corrections during the remainder of programme implementation, as well as to inform the final evaluation report.
The evaluation is based on a conceptual framework derived from World Development Report 2018. This framework identifies four key school-level ingredients for learning: prepared learners, effective teaching, learning-focused inputs, and skilled management and governance. It incorporates accountability relationships and conditions for coherence and alignment around certain policy goals.
Two levels of Evaluation Questions (EQs) have been defined for performance evaluation:
Level One EQs relate to understanding the performance of the education system in Punjab over the period of the PESP2 programme, and the factors that have determined this performance.
Level Two EQs relate to understanding the contribution of the PESP2 project components to the progress tracked and analysed by the Level One EQs.
Outcomes and wider impacts
The findings from the first interim evaluation report in 2018, and the acceptance by DFID of the recommendations made, had a significant impact on the implementation of the remainder of the programme. In particular, they strongly influenced the approach and focus of technical assistance. Findings from the evaluation have also influenced DFID/FCDO’s thinking about future engagement on education in Punjab and Pakistan. To date there is less evidence of the evaluation influencing Government of Punjab decisions, though there was active engagement from a wide range of stakeholders in the education sector in Punjab in discussion of the evaluation results.
We would like to thank IDEAS team, CDPR team, and external consultants including Dr. Monazza Aslam, Usman Khan, Neelgoon Safdar, Maheen Zahra, and Fatima Aftab.