Despite impressive economic progress in Pakistan’s second largest province, Sindh’s education indicators are low. Two-thirds of women and one-third of everyone above the age of 10 in Sindh Province are illiterate. About 30 percent of school-aged children — about 4 million children aged 5-12 — are not in school.
To address these critical issues in early-grade reading and numeracy, the USAID-funded Sindh Reading Program is working to improve the quality of and access to education in Sindh. The program works in seven districts and five towns across the province, bringing together local groups, government counterparts, and a small consortium of international partners.
In its first year, the program designed and piloted a contextualized teacher professional development program that used modern pedagogical approaches to teach reading and math in grades K‐5. This approach builds on similar initiatives in the region and lays the groundwork for future teacher professional development programs on a broader scale.
During the first year, the program also introduced 2,645 teachers to the continual professional development model and paired them with teaching and learning associates. As part of this training, the program developed a two-way SMS platform to deliver professional messages to teachers in select schools. The program also completed the baseline early grade reading and math assessments, assessing 835 students in Sindhi and Urdu from 24 schools across target areas of Sindh.
In its third year, the program assessed the state of local libraries, which revealed that children and women’s sections lacked appropriate materials and services. SRP team members worked with the Rotary Club to procure 6,000 new books for the library, as well as computers and projectors. Project activities supported infrastructure improvements to create safe and welcome reading spaces in each library, and the project also hired female library assistants to encourage women and children's participation in these spaces.
The program will continue to improve student access to supplementary reading and mathematics education — targeting instruction and materials — and enhance family participation to support early-grade literacy.