Assessing Early Years Schooling, Access and Student Outcomes (AESAS) is a research study undertaken in Pakistan and India funded by the British Academy that aims to address the theme of sustainable early childhood education within Pakistan and India.
School enrolment of around 80% in India and Pakistan is lower than targets associated with the Sustainable Development Goal 4, and functional levels of literacy and numeracy are inadequate even for many young children who are enrolled in school. The study, based on 1,500 young children from one province in Pakistan and one state in India, will examine patterns of enrolment of children and school readiness by socioeconomic group, family background, urban/rural locations and individual characteristics such as gender, disability and health. Their attendance and progress at school will be analyzed over one year, demonstrating how much of a difference school attendance can make to children’s cognitive development and health outcomes. We will collect in-depth information from families and communities on their views of schools, and any barriers to attendance, and conduct a systematic review of the evidence. The findings will have policy implications on school enrolment, attendance and retention.
The key questions explored in the study are:
a) Which interventions are most effective in encouraging school attendance in the developing counties?
b) What are the barriers/ challenges and facilitators to school enrolment and attendance?
c) How ready for school are young children aged 4 to 6 in India and Pakistan?
d) What are the household, family and social determinants of who goes to school and who does not?
e) What level of progress in cognitive development is made by children who attend one year of formal
Idara‐e-Taleem‐Aagahi (ITA) is a civil society organization focused on addressing the profound crisis of education in Pakistan through policy research, service delivery and advocacy. ITA is registered with the Economic Affairs Division (EAD), certified by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP) and has a tax-exempt status. On April 27, 2017, ITA was accorded a special consultative status by the UN ECOSOC and is member CCNGOs UNESCO. ITA, since 2000 has been engaged actively in the education sector through a partnership approach, to improve quality and governance of education from school to state level ensuring inclusive and gender mainstreaming approaches and evidence-based advocacy– mainly within the public sector space. ITA works with multiple partners across Pakistan and the region and its research portfolio has expanded across South Asia. An anchor annual study known as Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is popularly benchmarked and quoted globally, nationally and locally with active links to government, universities and civil society websites. ITA’s key research areas are: - learning outcomes - teacher education - school effectiveness - early childhood education (ECE) - public private partnerships (PPPs) - inclusive education.
Assistant Professor-Durham UniversityNadia Siddiqui is an experienced teacher for children in early years in Pakistan before she joined the UK academia. She received her first independent research grant from Nuffield Foundation on a study of the non-cognitive impacts of teaching Philosophy for Children in primary schools. The findings of this study were discussed on BBC radio 4: Bringing Up Britain: Critical thinking (series 10) (from15:58) She has worked on Annual Status of Education Research (ASER) data of the intakes to and results from schools in Pakistan. She is author of several peer-reviewed journal articles on research methods, evaluations of school-based interventions, and equity in education. She is a co-investigator in the projects funded by Education Endowment Foundation, Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education (SAPERE), Peter Sowerby Foundation. Her research interests are to explore the stubborn patterns of poverty and inequalities through population data sets and large-scale surveys.
IThe study is intended to provide a robust evidence-base to augment government reform efforts in ECE. This study will examine patterns of enrolment of children in ECE programs and school readiness by:
- socioeconomic group - family background - urban/rural locations - individual characteristics such as gender, disability and health.
This study will explore the effectiveness of schools as opposed to not attending school (rather than the more usual differential school ‘effect’) for children’s cognitive skills through a longitudinal approach following households and children for a year after the baseline assessment. All children (4 to 6 years) in the household samples (enrolled/ attending school, never enrolled or dropped out) will take part in the assessment exercise at baseline and later post-test.
Their attendance and progress at school will be analyzed over one year, demonstrating how much of a difference school attendance can make to children’s cognitive development and health outcomes. We will collect in-depth information from families and communities on their views of schools, and any barriers to attendance, and conduct a systematic review of the evidence. The findings will have policy implications on school enrolment, attendance and retention.
The data will include a household survey and children’s assessment for learning outcomes. The surveyors will visit homes in the late afternoon so that children from schools and work should be available at home. We estimate that 750 children from across Punjab, will be included in the assessments. The same households and children will be followed 10 months later, and will participate in the same household survey, and children’s assessments. This will be a large-scale household survey and cognitive assessment of children including narrative data from family on the concepts of education, formal school, girls’ education and personal experiences of learning.
The World Bank has developed a toolkit for measuring Early Childhood Development in LMICTs and one of the features is an extensive list of ECE assessment measures. We will adapt and translate The International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA) which is free of cost, easy-to-use, rigorous global tool that measures children’s early learning and development and provides clear evidence on the status of children from 4 to 6 years. For information on household characteristics, and other factors, researchers will use the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) tool.