Going local for data - Union council-level education statistics and how they can inform policy


Case Study of District Thatta

Pakistan has missed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of universal primary education. If Pakistan doesn’t fix its education system at all levels urgently, it is unlikely to fare any better with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it has committed to achieving at the UN General Assembly in 2015. No progress is possible without fixing how the school system is administered, and this conversation begins at the district level.

The district of Thatta is one of the lowest performing districts in Pakistan and the worst in Sindh. The district has 53,160 children out of school and it ranks 131rd among the 142 districts in Alif Ailaan’s graded nationwide District Education Rankings 2015. On almost every conceivable measure of a good education system, Thatta fails its children. The learning outcomes, the numbers of schools available and the school infrastructure all leave much to be desired.

“Going Local for Data – A Case Study of Thatta” is Alif Ailaan’s latest report and it pulls together several new and existing data sets to paint a picture of District Thatta, richer and more informative than any previous such effort. The bespoke data sets we prepared for the district focus on eight Union Councils (UCs), with special emphasis on UC Mirpur Sakro as a case study.

Getting more children into school, retaining them in school and ensuring a minimum standard of quality in those schools cannot be achieved without the kind of local context and richness that such datasets offer to planners, administrators and spenders. The “Going Local for Data – A Case Study of Thatta” study draws on an improved understanding of the characteristics of UC-level dynamics, and how communities are served by the state and non state architecture of service delivery nodes in education. We hope other district governments, politicians, education providers and local communities can use this this data-led approach for education reform to make unique arguments that address the unique needs to each specific neighborhood and community in the country.