What works in private public partnerships in education in Pakistan? What is their role and impact?
Primary school enrolments in Pakistan have improved significantly in the last few years and private schooling in particular has become very popular. There is a demand for private sector education as parents consider it as 'better' and not necessarily due to the lack of public schools. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) in education have stepped in to improve outreach and educational quality in Pakistan. Several types of such partnerships have been tried and are in place. Significant existing literature focuses on the 'success' of programmes that have involved subsidies to facilitate the creation of private schools, or pay private schools per student enrolled - who meets certain criteria. Success is recorded in terms of improved enrolment rates amongst boys and girls and better schooling inputs such as teachers, classrooms and blackboards. However, rigorous impact evaluations are few on whether they have improved learning outcomes and equitable access.
There is some evidence, though to a much lesser extent on vouchers. Vouchers in Pakistan were introduced later than subsidy programmes and the evidence on this is still emerging.
International evidence also supports a similar view that whilst PPPs might be useful in improving enrolment rates at the primary level - and to some extent have an impact on improving access to girls - the evidence on learning outcomes is mixed and very few impact evaluations have looked at these aspects.
Mahendra, S. Helpdesk Report: Public Private Partnerships in Education (Pakistan). Human Development Resource Centre, UK (2011) 8 pp.