Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan Support Programme

Programme description

Title: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan Support Programme (ESP)
Commissioned by: European Union
Financier: European Union
Country: Pakistan
Lead executing agency: Elementary and Secondary Education Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Overall term: 10 October 2016 – 9 May 2018



Pakistan ranks 136th out of 159 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index. Compared with the national average of 4%, it spends less than 2% of GDP on education. Although access to school has improved in recent years, much remains to be done. Inequality, mainly manifested as poverty and rural/urban and gender disparities, is a serious obstacle to universal primary education. Over a third of the school age population that should be in primary education is not (nearly 7 million children). Of these, some 60% are girls. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lags behind much of the rest of Pakistan. School enrolment here is lower than the national average, especially in rural areas. Moreover, barely half of the province’s population can read and write, with a marked disparity between males and females. The same imbalance also applies to primary school completion rates, with twice as many boys finishing in comparison to girls.

The major challenges concern the quality of education. Poor teaching results in low levels of educational achievement. The upshot: massive youth unemployment with few opportunities for vocational and skills-related education and training. Girls and women are largely relegated to the most vulnerable forms of employment while men outnumber women in paid employment

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Sector Plan (ESP) is a medium-term plan that aims to build human capacity while encouraging progress, peace and prosperity across the province. ESP’s principal objectives are to provide guidelines for the preparation of short-to-medium term plans and to serve as an M&E tool, e.g. when measuring the achievement of targets set in accordance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education For All (EFA). Published in late 2015, the ESP is due for updating. Amongst other things, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have now replaced the MDGs.

By means of the following 10 priorities, the KP ESP aims to increase the number of girls and boys enrolling in and successfully completing good quality primary and secondary education in the province:

  1. Improve access to education and make it more equitable
  2. Improve the quality of learning in schools
  3. Improve the curriculum, textbooks and learning materials
  4. Develop human resources
  5. Improve infrastructure
  6. Rehabilitate education in crisis situations
  7. Promote adult literacy and non-formal education
  8. Improve governance and management
  9. Foster partnerships and community involvement
  10. Promote partnerships with private schools through KP education foundations

Despite political turmoil, terrorism and natural disasters, the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (GoKP) is deeply committed to promoting education (percentage share of total government spending on education is around 50%). 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 retention, although things could revert quickly in many disadvantaged areas.


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.



Essentially, KP-ESP is about developing elementary and secondary education (ESED) capacity in two key areas:

Supply of good quality, relevant and carefully analysed data that is presented in a format that a) meets end user needs and b) enables department directors and senior managers to harness this information for decision and policy-making purposes, and

Leadership and management at the Provincial Institute for Teachers Education (PITE), specifically in-service teacher education programme planning, implementation and monitoring.

It is vital that the programme identifies areas that add value to other stakeholders’ work in this sector, e.g. by committing to regular and open communication with key partners such as Adam Smith International’s KESP2 programme and working under the guidance of the ESED and its Steering Committee.



The Inception Report was endorsed in March 2017. An institutional analysis and capacity needs assessment is currently ongoing both for PITE and EMIS. Based on the results, other activities will be rolled out in close cooperation with the KP Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as well as with the European Union and other relevant stakeholders.