Ins and outs of rolling out Teaching at the Right Level (TaRl) in Pakistan

Author(s): Jamil, Baela Raza; Saeed, Saba

Date: 2018

Pages: 15 p.

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In several low and middle income countries, an unacceptably large number of children are not learning. The context in Pakistan is no different where recent evidence from data like the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) shows that even after five years of schooling, more than half the children enrolled in grade 5 in Pakistan cannot read a sentence in Urdu/English fluently. The state legislations, policy and sector reforms have provided impetus, however, the focus on quality and equity in education as anchored strongly within SDG 4 remains compromised and fragmented. This paper focuses on one such innovative programme (Learning for Access) supported by Dubai Cares and implemented by a local civil society implementer in Pakistan that employs effective partnership approach between government, schools and communities, to enable highly marginalized out of school children gain basic literacy and numeracy skills in a short period of time. Following Pratham India’s widely tested pedagogy “Teaching at the Right Level” (TaRl) approach which puts out of school children (OOSC) in a learning camp of 45-60 days, 20,800 OOSC were provided intensive bursts of remedial education across 530 schools in 3 provinces of Pakistan. This paper employs a quantitative research design that entails probit analysis and household fixed-effect estimates to explore the impact of Learning for Access Program on learning levels of children across targeted four rural districts in Pakistan. The study found out that ‘teaching at the right level’ helped children improve their learning outcomes. Recipients of the program (treatment school children) outperformed control group children across all three competencies (English, Urdu and Maths). The paper aims to provide useful data to understand the factors on how TaRl pedagogy works for promoting quality learning for the marginalized OOSC-as an intervention that is grounded in partnerships and linked to both demand and supply side realities helping us set ground for policy and action frameworks in this area. The paper will conclude with optimism on leveraging success to a next phase and scale up of the learning intervention in Pakistan.

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