PESHAWAR: Even as the provincial government points to their sweeping reforms in the education sector, performance reports by the education department have found that those effects have not had a uniform effect with some regions, including the capital Peshawar, among those responding poorly.
According to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department’s District Performance Evaluation System (DPES) November 2017 report, Kohistan is the worst performing district in the province with a score of 56.36 per cent.
Peshawar was the second worst with scores of 63.44 per cent. Shangla was third worst with scores of 64.52 per cent.
The elementary and secondary education department, with support from UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), had introduced DPES in September 2017 to calculate scores for district schools based on a set of educational indicators such as student learning outcomes through the fifth and tenth grade results, student attendance rate, progress on developmental projects in schools, increase in students enrollment, provision of textbooks to students, percentage of provision of stipends, delivery of furniture, optimal students teachers ratio and teachers attendance in schools.
Recent results found that of the 25 districts reviewed, 15 had improved their performance when compared to the first raking in December 2017.
Kohat and Swabi were the surprise leaders who had made improved their performance.
The province saw its enrolment rates increase from 3.4 per cent to five per cent, while teacher attendance rates improved by an average of two percentage points in the province with six of the districts recording a five per cent increase.
The report showed that there was a four per cent improvement in the number of schools which had basic facilities. In this category too, remote districts recorded the highest percentage of improvement with Torghar and Lakki at 16 per cent and Tank at 12 per cent. Peshawar too recorded 12 per cent improvement.
Many districts also recorded exceptional improvement in getting the Parent Teacher Councils off the ground with Mardan at 32 per cent, Charsadda 27 per cent, Hangu 21 per cent and Swabi 20 per cent.
The ranking showed that Lakki Marwat was the top performing district for a second consecutive time with an overall score of 77.23 per cent, followed by Swabi at 76.29 per cent, Lower Dir with 76.03 per cent, Malakand with 75.72 per cent and Bannu with 75.65 per cent.
Additional Secretary Suhail Khan, who supervised a committee formed by the E&SE and regularly reported to the Secretary E&SE Dr Fakhre Alam, explained that the main objective of the DPES was to assess district performance in line with the education plan and to introduce a reward mechanism for improving performance.
“Every month, the K-P E&SED ranks the districts and the best performing districts are rewarded while the worst performing districts are penalized,” he said.
While acknowledging that it was still early days for the system, with the E&SD completing only its second monthly evaluation of schools in the province, Suhail stressed that DPES was not only helping them to expedite progress on key indicators of the education sector plan but also in identifying areas where additional efforts were required.
“We are focusing on lowest performing districts and making sure their performance is improved and at the moment, 14 Districts have improved their performance compared to the first DPES results in December,” the additional secretary said.
He further hoped that these key performance indicators would help hold district education staff to account beyond what current mechanisms allow.
At a recent event in Peshawar for teachers, organised by the All Primary Teachers Association, Provincial Education Minister Atif Khan disclosed how some officers in the education department were involved in spreading propaganda against the department and creating hurdles in improving the situation at schools.
“There are some influential people in the education sector who do not want to improve the education system or allow any change in it and are quite busy in promoting their own politics,” the minister said.
Addressing the pending issue of teacher’s timescale promotions, Atif promised it would be resolved soon.
“Teachers promotion would be based on performance, and those who perform well, they would be rewarded,” the minister said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 21st, 2018.
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