Explore our work by: Country

Project Case Study

Transforming education for 12 million children

Helping Punjab’s children to access high quality education and stay in school longer

In 2013 Pakistan’s Punjab government had enrolled approximately 88% of 5-9 year old children into school. However, the quality of schooling was poor: textbooks did not meet acceptable standards, multi-grade and overcrowded classrooms were the norm, there was a lack of a system-wide performance management system and examinations were unreliable. Student enrollment had plateaued and Punjab’s poorer districts lagged behind on access and equity.

The Punjab Education Sector Programme 2 (PESP 2), DFID’s largest education programme to date, worked with the Punjab government and the Chief Minister’s Education Roadmap to set goals that would transform the quality of education in Punjab, and then supported the government to deliver these goals.

Project info

Project: Punjab Education Sector Programme II (PESP 2)


  • 2014 - 2018

We revised textbooks, teacher guides and teacher training modules to enable a transition from recall-based learning to learning with understanding. We cascaded training to orient 180,000 teachers with this new content and supported a government-led, independent early grade assessment to test basic literacy and numeracy. We helped to revamp government examinations by introducing new test papers and codes of conduct, as well as supporting the development of analysis and reporting capacity.

PESP 2 introduced evidenced-based performance management systems, informed by real-time data, in all 36 districts of Punjab. These systems were driven by a set of performance indicators for teachers, school managers and district officials.

To improve enrolment in under-served areas, PESP 2 supported the expansion of government subsidised low-cost private schools and helped the Special Education Department to make government schools more inclusive for children with mild disabilities.


  • The percentage of primary schools with at least four teachers increased from 30% to 99%
  • 95% of schools in all districts were equipped with running water, boundary walls, functional toilets and electricity by the end of the project
  • PESP2 facilitated an improvement in early grade literacy from 59% to 68% in English and 50% to 75% in Urdu and an improvement in early grade numeracy from 65% to 84% in government schools
  • The transition rate from primary to secondary school improved from 63% to 68.4% among girls and 66% to 69.4% among boys

Our Work

Explore our work to transform lives by making economies stronger, societies more stable, and governments more effective.