Technical Cooperation Services to the Khyber Pakh-tunkhwa Education Sector Plan Support Programme (KP-ESPSP)

Programme description

Title: Technical Cooperation Services to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan Support Programme (KP-ESPSP)
Commissioned by: European Union
Financier: European Union
Country: Pakistan
Lead executing agency: Elementary and Secondary Education Department (E&SED), Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (GoKP), PAKISTAN
Overall term: 2016 to 2018


Pakistan ranks 147th out of 188 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index as of 2016. It routinely spends less than 2 per cent of its GDP on education which seriously affects its ability to raise levels of human development across the country. These issues are especially severe in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Although access to school has improved in recent years, much remains to be done to provide good quality teaching and ensure better learning outcomes. 

Inequality, mainly manifested as poverty, rural/urban and gender disparities, is a se-rious obstacle to children completing primary school. Over a third of the school age population that should be in primary education is not (nearly 7 million children). Of these, some 60 per cent are girls. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lags behind much of the rest of Pakistan. School enrolment is lower than the national average, especially in rural areas. Moreover, barely half of the province’s population can read and write, and this is particularly evident among females. The same imbalance also applies to primary school completion rates, with twice as many boys finishing compared to girls.

The major challenges concern the quality of education. Poor teaching results in low levels of educational achievement. The consequence of this is huge youth unem-ployment with few opportunities for vocational and skills-related education and train-ing. Girls and women are largely relegated to the most vulnerable forms of employ-ment, as a result of poor completion of basic education, and cultural factors which restrict many of them to the home.

Children at government primary school in KPK

Despite political turmoil, terrorism and natural disasters, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (GoKP) is deeply committed to promoting education. In recent years, school enrolment in KP has improved, particularly for girls. Incentives such as grants for girls and free textbooks for all have also helped improve attendance and reten-tion. However, these gains are fragile and conditions often revert without sustained follow-up.

The challenge for the Government and its technical assistance partners is how to develop the capacity and capability of its officials to manage the delivery of educa-tion services efficiently and effectively.

And this is where the KP-ESPSP programme is focusing its efforts…

Workshop on Need Assessment with DCTE


The overall objective of the European Union funded Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Support Programme (KP-ESPSP) is to assist the GoKP in eradicating poverty, promoting sustainable and inclusive growth, and consolidating democracy. 

The specific purpose of the KP-ESPSP Programme is to work towards improving the quality of elementary and secondary education in KP as a result of carefully designed capacity development interventions which strengthen data management and use, and leadership and management of in-service teacher education.


Essentially, KP-ESPSP is addressing the capacity and capability needs of E&SED in two key areas:

  • Supply of good quality, relevant data that is presented by EMIS (Education Management Information System) in a way that enables decision makers and senior managers to harness this information for better decision-making, and
  • Leadership and management at the Provincial Institute for Teacher Education (PITE), specifically in-service teacher education programme planning, implementation and monitoring.

The programme is explicitly addressing key challenges in the system and is working with the E&SED to achieve positive impact. The research and development work conducted in the first six months of the programme identified the following ways in which the programme will add value:

  • Developing the capability of the EMIS cell to analyse and present data in a way that is useful for non-technical users
  • Developing quality standards for data management in the E&SED
  • Helping to stimulate demand for data in E&SED which will, in turn, strengthen decision-making
  • Enhancing the ability of PITE to plan, deliver and monitor training for teachers and principals
  • Developing quality standards for teacher educators – KP would be the first province in Pakistan to undertake such work, and
  • Identifying where PITE can improve the quality and impact of professional development activities.


  • Two innovative Needs Assessment research studies carried out: March – July 2017.
  • Needs Assessment findings used by the programme and government to de-sign a focused Capacity Development Strategy and a wide-ranging pro-gramme of training and mentoring for government officers.
  • Capacity Development Strategy implemented from December 2017 – May 2018. 80 workshops have been conducted addressing several identified needs for the two targeted departments (EMIS Cell and PITE).
  • Series of policy papers produced to feed into government planning: March – May 2018.
  • Policy Dialogue Seminar planned with government officials and GIZ repre-sentatives in the presence of the European Union for May 2018.
Science class at goverment primary school in Noshera District of KPK

Additional information