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USAID agreement: Strategic objective grant agreement between US, Pakistan for education sector refor

ARTICLE (November 18 2002) : Purpose: The purpose of this Strategic Objective Grant Agreement (the “Agreement”) is to set out the understanding of the parties named above (the “Parties”) about the Strategic Objective described below.

Strategic Objective and Results: Section 2.1. Strategic Objective. The Strategic Objective (the “Objective”) is to provide the knowledge, training, and infrastructure necessary to help officials and citizens develop high quality education programs for girls and boys throughout Pakistan.

Section 2.2. Results. In order to achieve that Objective, the Parties agree to work together to achieve the following Results:

Strengthen Education Sector Policy and Planning: Assist the Grantee and its provinces to strengthen the national and local capacity to use experiences gained in Pakistan and other countries to improve education sector reform policies and plan and implement better primary education programs for poverty reduction.

This effort would involve helping the GOP to improve the content and implementation of government policies and planning for primary education (with particular emphasis on expanding access to education for girls), as well as early childhood education for the very young and literacy for adults (especially women) and out-of-school youth.

Improve Teacher Training and Curriculum and the ability to deliver quality education: Provide teacher training, professional development and curriculum materials to improve the quality of public sector basic education.

Improve Education Administration: Train key education administrators (e.g., principals, local education officials) to improve policy and planning implementation and successful adoption of higher education standards and curriculum.

Expand Public-Private Partnerships to Improve Access and Delivery of Education Services: Encourage and support public-private partnerships that: (a) enhance resources available for education and literacy programs; (b) strengthen community involvement in primary education and adult and youth literacy programs; (c) expand access to education for girls; (d) improve education quality; and (e) facilitate development of skills needed for a developing economy and society. Specific activities could include:

— work with communities to ensure that the physical infrastructure needed to encourage girl attendance exists in the primary school.

— work with the National Education Foundation (NEF) and the four provincial education foundations to strengthen these institutions to expand and improve the delivery of private sector support for public schools.

— help set up an internship program that would link secondary schools with nearby businesses, industries and government offices, and provide students with valuable technical and vocational skills.

Contributions of the Parties:

Section 3.1. USAID Contribution:

(a) The Grant. To help achieve the Objective set forth in this Agreement, USAID, pursuant to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, hereby grants to the Grantee under the terms of the Agreement not to exceed Ten million United States (“U.S.”) Dollars ($10,000,000) (the “Grant”).

(b) Total Estimated USAID Contribution. USAID's total estimated contribution to

achievement of the Objective will be U.S. $100,000,000, which will be provided in increments. Subsequent increments will be subject to the availability of funds to USAID for this purpose and the mutual agreement of the Parties, at the time of each subsequent increment, to proceed.

(c) If at any time USAID determines that its contribution under Section 3.1(a) exceeds the amount which reasonably can be committed for achieving the Objective or Results or activities during the current or next U.S. fiscal year, USAID may, upon written notice to the Grantee, adjust the excess amount, thereby reducing the amount of the Grant as set forth in Section 3.1(a). Actions taken pursuant to this subsection will not revise USAID's total estimated contribution set forth in Section 3.1(b).

Section 3.2. Grantee Contribution:

(a) The Grantee agrees to provide or cause to be provided all funds, in addition to those provided by USAID and any other donor identified in Annex 1, and all other resources required to complete, on or before the Completion Date, all activities necessary to achieve the Results.

(b) The Grantee's contribution will not be less than the equivalent of U.S. $ 1,000,000,000 plus in-kind contributions. The Grantee will report at least annually in a format to be agreed upon with USAID on its cash and “in-kind” contributions.

Completion Date:

(a) The Completion Date, which is September 30, 2006 or such other date as the Parties may agree to in writing, is the date by which the Parties estimate that all the activities necessary to achieve the Objective and Results will be completed.

(b) Except as USAID may otherwise agree to in writing, USAID will not issue or approve documentation which would authorise disbursement of the Grant for services performed or goods furnished after the Completion Date.

(c) Requests for disbursement, accompanied by necessary supporting documentation prescribed in Implementation Letters, are to be received by USAID no later than nine (9) months following the Completion Date, or such other period as USAID agrees to in writing before or after such period.

After such period USAID, at any time or times, may give notice in writing to the Grantee and reduce the amount of the Grant by all or any part thereof for which requests for disbursement, accompanied by necessary supporting documentation prescribed in Implementation Letters, were not received before the expiration of such period.

Conditions Precedent to Disbursement:

Section 5.1. First Disbursement. Prior to the first disbursement under the Grant, or to the issuance by USAID of documentation pursuant to which disbursement will be made, the Grantee will, except as the Parties may otherwise agree in writing, furnish to USAID in form and substance satisfactory to USAID:

(a) An opinion of counsel acceptable to USAID that this Agreement has been duly

authorised or ratified by, and executed on behalf of the Grantee, and that it constitutes a valid and legally binding obligation of the Grantee in accordance with all of its terms; and

(b) A statement in the name of the person holding or acting in the office of the Grantee specified in Section 7.2, and of any additional representatives, together with a specimen signature of each person specified in such statement.

Section 5.2. Notification. USAID will promptly notify the Grantee when USAID has determined that a condition precedent has been met.

Section 5.3. Terminal Dates for Conditions Precedent. The terminal date for meeting the conditions precedent specified in Section 5.1 is ninety (90) days from the date of this Agreement or such later date as USAID may agree to in writing before or after the above terminal date. If the conditions precedent in Section 5.1 have not been met by the above terminal date, USAID, at any time, may terminate this Agreement by written notice to the Grantee.

Annex I, Amplified Description:

I. Introduction:

This annex describes the activities to be undertaken and the results to be achieved with the funds obligated under this Agreement. Nothing in this Annex 1 shall be construed as amending any of the definitions or terms of the Agreement.

II. Background

Education Situation in Pakistan: There are approximately 18 million children between the ages of five and nine in Pakistan. This is the target group for primary education. Of these children, about 11.8 million actually get enrolled in school, and of these, approximately 6 million will complete the fifth grade. Factoring in teacher and student absences, on any given day fewer than half of the school eligible children are in school. With an annual population growth rate of 2.6 percent, this age group is expanding each year, putting additional pressure on the Government of Pakistan's education system.

Pakistan today has about 184,000 primary schools. This number includes about 121,000 government schools, an estimated 25,000 mosque schools, and 38,000 private and non-formal community based schools. Approximately 75 percent of the enrolled children attend Government schools. There are also over 10,000 Madrassahs in which the Government of Pakistan (GOP) intends to introduce core subjects at the primary, middle and secondary levels.

Indicators for literacy, enrolment and retention demonstrate the dire need for systemic reform. Nation-wide, the average literacy rate is 50.5 percent . However, this figure masks the wide gap between male (63 percent) and female (38 percent) literacy estimates.

Male children attend an average of 3.8 years of school while female children receive an average of only 1.3 years of schooling, further underlining the gender disparity in the Pakistan education system. Approximately 22 percent of boys and 50 percent of girls never even enter school, and of those who do, 44 percent of the boys and 56 percent of the girls drop out before the fifth grade. Only 29 percent of children who enter school make it to the secondary school level.

This problem with the country's education system stems from a variety of factors: poor teacher training; little in-service teacher training; hiring teachers through patronage; teacher absenteeism; rote memorisation of the existing curricula; and limited access (especially for girls and women).

The GOP recognises that the public education system has failed to meet the country's needs.

This failure stems from issues of both access and quality. While the GOP and donors have made substantial investments to build schools, access is not uniform and the overall quality of education remains very poor. Teachers are poorly qualified, frequently hired through political patronage, and receive little to no in-service training. Pakistan has embarked upon an ambitious national reform agenda, underpinned by the poverty reduction and human development strategy. The education sector reforms are embedded in this national strategy.

Poverty Reduction and Human Development Strategy: The Pakistan Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) covers the period 2001-2004 (likely to be extended to 2005), and is set within a framework to empower the poor through five drivers:

(1) Foster growth through economic reforms, stabilisation, tax reforms, public works programs, and privatisation;

(2) Physical asset creation for the poor, through land, housing and access to credit;

(3) Development of safety nets such as Zakat, food support, indigenous philanthropy, and social protection programs;

(4) Social asset creation for the poor through social sector reforms in education, health, nutrition, population, water supply and sanitation; and

(5) Governance, through devolution of power, Civil Service reform, access to justice and police reforms.

The Government of Pakistan's Devolution Plan: The GOP has embarked on a promising and exciting process of reform, sparked by the comprehensive Plan for Devolution and Decentralisation which formally took effect on August 14, 2001. It is one of the most dramatic, ambitious, peaceful, and democratic reforms attempted in any country in recent years, and particularly in a nation as large and complex as Pakistan. Inherent in it are wholesale alterations in expectations and responsibilities, and philosophical, attitudinal and practical changes in the ways levels of the GOP carry out their duties and how governments relate to the populace, and vice versa.

Under the devolution plan, large portions of authority and responsibility are now delegated to lower, more invigorated levels of government. Pakistan's four provinces, the Islamabad Capital Territory, the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas and Azad Jammu and Kashmir will be affected by this devolution process.

The district and sub-district levels of government will have greatly enhanced administrative and fiscal responsibilities in agriculture, education, health and the other sectors of development. Each of the country's districts have a specific section/department for literacy, to reinforce the fact that a higher literacy level is one of the highest national priorities. Within the districts are tehsils and union councils.

The union councils represent the smallest local government unit, and will have committees responsible for overseeing the implementation of programs in education, health, agriculture, public works and other areas.

III. The Government of Pakistan's Education Reform Strategy:

The GOP's Education Sector Reform plan dated December 2001 outlines three goals for the country's education sector: promote quality education, enabling all citizens to reach maximum potential; produce responsible, enlightened and skilled citizens; and integrate Pakistan into the global framework of human-centred economic development. The reform plan for 2001 – 2005 outlines seven principal objectives. These are:

1. Increase the national average literacy rate from 47 percent to 62 percent. This means that

13.5 million people aged ten and older must become literate in the next four years.

2. Provide “education for all.” Quality universal primary education for all to increase

participation in primary/elementary education, increase completion rates and reduce the gender disparity. Specific targets include:

ْ Increase gross participation in elementary school from 89 percent to 100 percent by 2004.

ْ Reduce gender disparity in education by 10 percent annually.

ْ Improve primary school completion rate from 50 percent to 70 percent by 2004.

3. Improve the quality of education through curriculum reform, teacher education and training,

and reform of the exam and assessment process.

4. Improve technical and vocational education at the secondary and post secondary levels.

The objective is to impart education together with skills so that the matriculates and diploma holders may be absorbed by local industry and service companies.

5. Strengthen the higher education system in Pakistan. The target is to increase access to

higher education opportunities by ten percent annually, and double enrolment (from 100,000 to 200,000) in universities within the next four years.

6. Mainstream the madrassahs into Pakistan's general education system. Plans include: (a)

activating the Pakistan Madrassah Education Board; (b) expanding the curriculum used by

the madrassahs to encompass modern courses in science, math, economics, English,

Pakistan Studies, and computer education, (c) training madrassah teachers to teach these

subjects; and (d) certifying qualified madrassahs to provide general education subjects and

qualify for equivalence of their degrees/certificates by the Pakistan Madrassah Education

Board.

7. Expand public-private partnerships in education in order to increase access to quality

education at all levels and to meet the demand for education. Specific targets are to encourage the private sector and NGO community to support at least 16,000 under-utilised schools and to introduce at least 10,000 new information technology courses by 2004.

IV. USAID Education Program:

USAID has developed a plan for a $100 million, five-year education program. This program will support five of the seven objectives outlined in the GOP's Education Sector Reform Strategy. The goal of this program is to provide the knowledge, training, and infrastructure necessary to help officials and citizens develop high quality education programs for girls and boys throughout Pakistan.

In the initial phase, activities will be carried out in the Balochistan and Sindh Provinces, and in the national capital area.

Balochistan and Sindh provinces are being targeted based on consultations with other donors working in Pakistan and with senior GOP education officials. These two Provinces have traditionally received the least attention from the GOP and from donors. Some teacher training, capacity building for local governance in education, and public private partnerships activities will also be undertaken through a country wide approach. Planned activities build on past successful USAID, other donor and civil society programs, both in Pakistan and other parts of the world, and will focus on the following objectives:

Strengthen Education Sector Policy and Planning: Assist the GOP and provinces to strengthen the national and local capacity to use experiences gained in Pakistan and other countries to improve education sector policies and plan and implement better primary education programs.

This effort would involve helping the GOP to improve the content and implementation of government policies and planning for primary education (with particular emphasis on expanding access to education for girls) as well as literacy for adults (especially women) and out-of-school youth.

2. Improve the Capacity of Teachers and Education Administrators: Provide training to

school teachers and administrators to improve the quality of both public and private sector education. Specific targets include training 43,000 primary school teachers, especially female teachers, through existing teacher training institutes and other mechanisms.

Train key administrators (e.g., principals, local education officials) to improve policy and planning implementation and successful adoption of higher education standards and curriculum. Specific targets are to train 4,500 local education officials and 5,200 school principals to assume their new responsibilities resulting from decentralisation.

3. Improve Youth and Adult Literacy: Most federal and provincial educators in Pakistan

admit that past literacy campaigns have failed. Under the devolution plan, literacy offices will be established in each of Pakistan's districts. USAID recognises the complexity of the literacy issues, and all indications are that literacy alone, and in and of itself, will not work well in Pakistan. Based on conversations with Pakistani provincial and federal officials, USAID believes it can make a contribution to improvements in literacy in two areas: (1) strengthening the managerial and administrative capacity of the National Literacy Cell of the Ministry of Education and some of the selected new district literacy offices; and (2) analysing and testing the use of technology for distance education focused on literacy training. USAID could also consider limited use of appropriate technology to link some of the federal and provincial literacy offices.

4. Expand Public-Private Partnerships to Improve Access and Delivery of Education

Services: USAID will build upon its past experiences working with NGOs in Pakistan to

encourage and support public-private partnerships that: (a) enhance resources available for education and literacy programs; (b) strengthen community involvement in primary education and adult and youth literacy programs; (c) expand access to education for girls; (d) improve education quality; and (e) facilitate development of skills needed for a developing economy and society. Specific activities could take several forms. For example, organising parent/teacher associations to work with communities to ensure that the physical infrastructure needed to encourage girls to attend school exists in the primary school.

Another example would be to work with the National Education Foundation (NEF) and the four provincial education foundations. Strengthening these institutions could significantly expand and improve the delivery of private sector support for public schools.

V. Strategic Objective and Intermediate Results:

As stated in the Agreement to which this Annex 1 is attached, the strategic objective of this assistance is to provide the knowledge, training and infrastructure necessary to help officials and citizens develop high quality education programs for girls and boys throughout Pakistan. This strategic objective can be achieved by focusing on four intermediate results:

(1) Increased provincial and district level participation in education sector planning and policy-reform. The Parties will strive to develop mechanisms to solicit feedback on best practices and lessons learned from all levels in the education hierarchy, from the tehsils to the districts, provinces and federal Ministry when devising and updating education sector plans and policies. The Parties will likewise use these mechanisms to “field test” new curriculum approaches.

(2) Increased entry and in-service training for teachers and school administrators. The Parties will develop the capacity of existing teacher training institutes to train tens of thousands more primary school teachers, particularly female teachers. The Parties will also enhance training opportunities for several thousand school principals and local school administrators on policy and planning implementation, and new higher education standards and curriculum. Local resource centres will also be established or enhanced to ensure “in-service” training for veteran teachers and administrators.

(3) Increased literacy among adults and out-of-school youth. The Parties will develop new mechanisms to promote and teach literacy to adults and out-of-school youth. Resources may be directed towards strengthening the capacity of the provincial and district-level literacy offices, and seeking their views about how best to increase literacy locally. New distance learning technologies offer another modality for bringing literacy lessons to remote areas and/or customising a literacy campaign for a particular area.

(4) Mobilising public-private partnerships to improve access to and quality of education. The Parties will reach out to existing sources of support for education in the private sector and solicit suggestions for better mobilising these resources for more schools in Pakistan. The Pakistan Education Foundation and its provincial foundations are likely partners in this effort.

The Parties will also look for access to untapped sources of private sector support for education inside Pakistan, such as provincial and district business associations.

VI. Activities/Activity Selection:

Two specific activities for implementing this Agreement have been identified. These are grants awarded in 2002 to the Aga Khan Foundation and to the Children' Resources International to develop and carry out initial training programs focused on early childhood learning in select sites.

The bulk of the remaining activities will be selected after a competitive grant selection process conducted by USAID with participation from the Ministry of Education. Criteria for selection of grant proposals will include the proposing organisation's technical approach and program description, management structure (including the choice of key personnel), institutional capacity, past performance in like circumstances, and degree of grantee reliance on Pakistani institutions and expertise for implementation. Proposals will also be expected to take into account ongoing activities of other donors in the education sector to avoid duplication.

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