Education Innovation Alliance Seeks Out New Solutions to Pakistan’s Education Emergency

March 18, 2013

With millions of children out of school and those in school failing to read and write at grade level, Pakistan will not only fall short of its Millennium Development Goals—it is gripped by an education emergency that will cripple the country’s economy, stymie its growth, and threaten its stability.

To encourage out-of-the-box thinking and generate commitment among Pakistan’s leading minds and policy influencers on the need to nurture innovative approaches in education, the DAI-led Ilm Ideas project, funded by the U.K. Department for International Development, partnered with an education nonprofit, Developyst, and the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund to bring together leaders from education, government, microfinance, poverty alleviation, and technology sectors to form Pakistan’s first Education Innovation Alliance.

The alliance is making people from a variety of professional backgrounds equal stakeholders in the conversation around innovation in education.

They share their perspectives on what is important in education and work in groups to develop recommendations on how to identify and inspire education entrepreneurs, how to create an enabling environment for them, how to build performance standards, and how to access information protocols that could improve sector performance and coordination.

At the alliance’s first meeting in February in Islamabad, working groups developed a set of recommendations formalized in a Declaration of the Inaugural Meeting of the Education Innovation Alliance, which identified seven key priorities that all alliance members will endeavor to address, including:

  • Support stakeholders in education in piloting a new regime for seeking, mentoring, championing, and promoting innovations in education that are creating value for communities.
  • Reach out to universities, chambers of commerce, and the media to identify and support education innovators.
  • Share success stories with our networks to inspire other innovators and supporters of education.
  • Endeavor to create a greater flexibility in the government sector at the policy and legislative level to create an enabling environment for education innovation.
  • Champion a culture of informed, data-based decision-making across Pakistan.
  • Promote data sharing in the education sector.
  • Support the Education Innovation Alliance.

At the February meeting, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahnaz Wazir Ali urged participants to recognize that Pakistan needs to find innovative solutions to combat the education emergency and the public and private sector must pool resources to encourage and support innovators.

“Innovation and a desire for change is evident amongst Pakistan’s growing middle class, youth and members of civil society, and needs to be harnessed in a systematic way,” added alliance member Rashid Khan, Chairman of Internet service provider Nayatel.

Ilm Ideas supports organizations and individuals who are working to demand accountability and promote innovation in Pakistan’s education sector through two voice and accountability funds. In managing these grant funds, our Islamabad-based team manages the finance, results, risks, and relationships of initiatives designed to help Pakistan improve its education outcomes. The funds will support activities nationwide, in cooperation with Cambridge Education.



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