PUNJAB EDUCATION FOUNDATION EDUCATION VOUCHER SCHEME PHASE 14 JANUARY 2015
PUNJAB EDUCATION FOUNDATION is an autonomous statutory body established under an ACT of the provincial assembly with its head office at Lahore.
The Punjab Education Foundation was established under the Punjab Education Foundation Act of 1991 as an autonomous statutory body to encourage and promote education in the private sector operating on non-commercial/ non-profit basis.
The Punjab Education Foundation has been restructured under the Punjab Education Foundation Act-XII of 2004 for the promotion of education, specially encouraging and supporting the efforts of the private sector in providing education to the poor, through public private partnership. The Punjab Education Foundation Rules 2005.
Punjab Education Foundation since its restructuring in 2004 has been struggling to promote quality education through Public Private Partnerships. Education Voucher Scheme launched in 2006 with an aim to benefit children belonging to less affluent and underprivileged areas, who otherwise cannot get education due to financial and social constraints. This scheme has got tremendous response due to its beneficial effect on poor segments of the society. Education Voucher Scheme employs innovative techniques to increase enrollment and enhance quality of education. Main features of its initiatives are;
Low Cost Education:
Average cost of Rs. 350 per student, much lower than traditional programs (approx. 1/3rd as compare to Govt.)
No upfront cost of setting up new schools (e.g., infrastructure)
Mechanisms to ensure that subsidies are extended to the most deserving (e.g., out of school and high risk) children of deserving/ slums/underprivileged areas
Better quality outcomes
Better quality outcomes maintained and demonstrated by regular testing for students (through bi-annual Quality Assurance Tests)
Monitoring and evaluation
Internal and external audits of PEF to ensure transparency
Internal M&E Mechanism for periodic evaluations
External M&E Mechanism for an independent check on program and policies implementation
Add-on programs to provide vocational training that help in providing employment opportunities through skill development
With a view to promote affordable quality education for the less privileged and disenfranchised segments of society, the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) has planned to further expand its EVS program in all districts of the province wherein currently it is operational in 17 districts of the Punjab.
The voucher is redeemable against payment of fee in the private educational institutions in partnership with PEF under EVS program. EVS enables the children of age 4-17 years from poorest families to get free education in their nearest (PEF EVS) private schools of their own choice. It is worth mentioning that all steps right from the selection of area for launching the scheme to voucher distribution and from selection of partner schools to quality assurance in the partner schools are systematically well organized.
Selection of area is the most significant segment of voucher scheme wherein household surveys are conducted to identify the number of children available in specific geographic boundaries as per voucher eligibility criteria. During analysis most deserving eligible children are identified and registered for voucher scheme. Children are registered on the basis of criteria given below;
Out of school children
Never went to school
Children of widows
Children of single parent
Deserving who can not afford
Simultaneously, school selection process is initiated by inviting expressions of interest from schools of selected areas through advertisement. Previously, preliminary quality assurance test of the shortlisted schools was conducted to assess quality standards through students’ learning outcomes assessments. The schools who qualify the quality assurance test were inspected for assessment of infrastructure and educational environment and agreements were signed with the schools recommended for partnership after physical inspection reports. Recently, criteria have been revised wherein preliminary quality assurance test is exempted for selection purpose.
Continuity of partnership is dependent on results of quality assurance tests as per required percentages. In case of two consecutive failures in QAT, the partnership discontinues. EVS Partnership Agreement.
Decrease in Out Of School Children
Increase in Primary Completion Rate
Access to school in vicinity
Competitive environment among private institutions to retain maximum students/ enhanced retention
Competition to improve quality of education
Increase in Enrollment at Primary Level partner schools
Increase in Female Enrolment
Better Employment Opportunity if linked with Skill Development Program
Women Empowerment: Increase in Employment opportunity for Female Teachers
Improvement in Students Learning Outcomes
M & E Mechanism
School Visits: Students Enrolment, Attendance, Absenteeism, Retention, Promotion
Katchi Abadies/Underprivileged areas’ Visits: Parents’ Feedback, drop out or after completion of studies
QAT Conduction: to assess Improvement in Students’ Learning Outcomes (SLO)
Household Survey for identification of targeted group
Voucher Issuance for a period of 4 months, however monitoring is in a continuum
Beneficiaries follow-ups to track record of attendance, analyze absenteeism, retention and promotion
Beneficiaries follow-ups to track record in case of drop out either after completion of studies or during studies