April 01, 2015

Salim Ahmed

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - Lahore: The School Assessment for School Improvement (SASI) has conducted a six-dimensional evaluation of over 130 medium to low-cost private schools (LCPS) across the country and found that most schools are in dire need of improvement for better operational and institutional governance. The SASI has recommended improvements in terms of Governance & Strategy, Teachers Performance, Students Performance, Classroom Observation, Parents Engagement and Financial Performance.

The SASI report, an initiative of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) supported by Ilm Ideas, DFID, was launched at a local hotel on Wednesday. The launch was participated in by the representatives of SASI partner schools, research think tanks and private schools associations from across the country.

Speaking at the launch, DFID Education Advisor Javed Ahmed Malik stressed that the Punjab government should encourage medium and low-cost private schools to increase enrolment to achieve the cause of Right To Education Act. He stressed that the SASI evaluation findings should be brought in the public discourse to improve the quality of education being imparted in private sector schools.

Mr Malik said the SASI as well as the Pakistan Alliance for Independent Schools (PAIS) should play an active role in the process of regulating the private sector schools as well as support the regulatory bodies to come up with feasible legislation.

Referring that almost 77 per cent private sector schools were charging fee from Rs500 to Rs1,000, the DFID Education Advisor said the Punjab government should replicate this model through the Punjab Education Foundation instead of continuing spending around Rs1,400 per child in middle and secondary public sector schools – without producing substantive results. “The SASI is offering a better financial and quality improvement model that needed to be followed by all stakeholders,” he said.

Educationist and columnist Javed Sheda said the SASI had conducted a worthwhile study for improvement in the imparting of education. He stressed that the SASI should regularly update its tools based on the advancements in the education sector and become a leading school assessment body in the country.

ITA Director Programmes Dr Baela Raza Jamil said the LCPS sector had multiplied across the country and taking care of offering education to the children of families belonging to lower income strata of the society. However, she said, the absence of a proper government monitoring and evaluation system in place, the challenge of educational inequity due to quality and access gaps was significant.

In order to fill this gap, she said, the SASI initiative had started assessing the critical needs, efficiency and effectiveness requirements of a particular school since 2012 and now offering options to address those issues.

Meanwhile, the PAIS organized a round-table conference that was participated in by 36 associations from across the country. SASI programme manager Maheen Qureshi, Punjab Private Schools Association president Dr Ilyas Wali and Starfish national director Anser Javed also spoke on the occasion.