Hope or Despair? Learning in Pakistan's Primary Schools

Hope or Despair? Learning in Pakistan's Primary Schools

Hope or Despair? Learning in Pakistan's Primary Schools

Hope or Despair? Learning in Pakistan's Primary Schools

Synopsis

Hope or Despair? asks what promotes and what holds back student learning in Pakistan's government-sponsored primary schools. Using a national sample of schools, students, teachers, and supervisors, it shows how learning is affected by student background, teachers and teaching, school supervision, facilities, and innovation. It is the first book to use achievement tests based on the national curriculum to show influences on learning in the primary schools of an entire developing country. The study also explores why some students complete primary school and others do not.

Excerpt

This book assesses the quality of primary schooling in Pakistan. It focuses especially on those conditions that help, harm, and make no difference for student learning in government-sponsored primary schools. It asks if the social background of students and their families, the education and training of teachers, the methods that teachers use, the condition of school buildings, the presence of supervisors, and recent innovations in education make any difference for what students learn. It also looks at how many students who begin primary school finish its highest grade and why.

The Pakistan study developed its own approach to studying schools. Instead of beginning with questions applicable to many or all countries, the researchers started by interviewing 100 federal and provincial officials about problems that they saw in Pakistan's primary education system and questions they thought should be included in a national study of schools. Where, for example, in some countries the gender of students, teachers, and schools might be irrelevant in explaining quality, in Pakistan it proved to be central. Officials also expressed great interest in the impact of several innovations that had taken place and had their own opinions about the worth of those interventions. in the end the research team combined standard questions about schools with items suggested by interviews with public officials in education and other fields. the result was a set of questionnaires and interview schedules that drew on general concerns about education but that also . . .

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