National basic education policy programme

Project description

Title: National basic education policy programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Pakistan
Lead executing agency: Capital Administration and Development Division (CA& DD)
Overall term: 2006 to 2015

Children in a primary school near Peshawar © GIZ


Pakistan’s economic indices have improved. However, the country is still ranked 136th of the 177 countries in the Human Development Index of UNDP. One of the main reasons for this is the weakness of the education sector, which has some of the lowest indicators of all the countries included in the “Education For All” development index. The low educational level is a hurdle to the country’s development. Nearly three-quarters of the population lives on less than two US-dollars per day.

As was reflected in the previous policies, earlier reforms of the education sector in Pakistan were not sufficient to tackle the challenges of the low qualitative and quantitative indicators. The Government of Pakistan developed its National Education Policy (NEP) 2009 to overcome some of the shortcomings that were not adequately addressed by its predecessor, NEP 1998 – 2010. The earlier policy had also done little to distinguish between responsibilities and procedures at the different administrative levels, from national to district. Unsurprisingly, it failed to produce the desired results, and the education sector remained poor in quality, access and equity of opportunities.

The problems turned into glaring challenges when Pakistan became a signatory to international commitments, such as the Millennium Declaration and the Education For All initiative. The NEP 2009 was developed after extensive consultations and an exhaustive review of the NEP 1998-2010. The new policy addresses the shortcomings through a holistic ‘sectoral’ approach, striving to improve educational outcomes by broadening the institutional framework, and enhancing governance and capacities.


Basic education for girls and boys is designed to meet the needs of everyday life, and it has been qualitatively improved.


The GIZ programme supports the federal government in developing and implementing its education policy objectives. Highest priority is given to implementing the National Education Policy through credible sector plans, and using a corresponding monitoring framework. The programme is helping to institutionalise a coordination mechanism to help federal and provincial government staff implement the principles of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, which was passed in 2010 to enhance democratic principles and decentralisation in the country. It is also helping policy makers to clarify roles and responsibilities within the overall context.

To improve learning outcomes, curricular reforms are being introduced and adapted to the needs of the respective provinces. A major practical aspect of this reform is the need to improve the textbooks used, so the project is also supporting the provinces in this process.

Results achieved so far

The National Education Policy 2009 was developed in a participatory and consultative process that involved all provinces and government areas. The Education Sector Plan (ESP) for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was developed with GIZ support, and this is currently being reviewed. Work has started on the preparation of ESPs based on the NEP 2009 in Punjab province, Islamabad Capital Territory, and FATA. As part of this process, existing capacities are assessed and plans are made for developing further capacities for implementation of the ESPs.

Efforts are ongoing to promote and institutionalise coordination between provinces, and a study was commissioned into the effects of the Eighteenth Amendment, in order to assess the challenges and implications of decentralisation. These were discussed with stakeholders form all the country’s provincial and area governments. Those governments have also benefited from technical assistance provided to encourage donor coordination and the harmonisation of development interventions.

The process of developing new competency- and standards-based curricula has been successfully completed, and revised curricula based on new learning methods now exist for 63 subjects (including all core subjects). GIZ provided technical assistance for this entire process and is now also helping with the introduction and use of the new curricula.

With the participation of the provinces, a draft Curriculum Implementation Framework (CIF) and related monitoring measures have been developed. The framework outlines the steps needed for the successful use of the curricula, and it defines the roles and responsibilities of the implementing partner organisations. The CIF will now be discussed with each province in light of the Eighteenth Amendment, in order to adapt the framework to the specific conditions in each province.