Overview of the Program

“Equity From Start”

Pakistan has a population of 200 million people. 22.4 million children are under four years of age, nearly forty percent under five years of age suffer from malnutrition, 31% of children age five are out of school ( NIPS Report 2013, Nutrition & Consumers Protection FAO Country profiles, news report Dawn April 10, 2013)

Today in Pakistan poverty and other deprivations, such as violence, abuse, conflict, insufficient nurturing and care, and limited social interaction and stimulation, have devastating, lifelong effects on our young children. 

The United Nations’ launch of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 accelerated the world’s focus on children.  Four (MDGs 2, 4, 5, and 6) were aimed at reducing child and maternal mortality and infectious diseases and promoting education. The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (2, 3 and 4) further motivated countries to keep on the track towards more prosperous and equitable world. They are built on the successes of Millennium Development Goals to complete unfinished agenda.

Parwaan is set up by the Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training in collaboration with Children’s Global Network Pakistan as an inter-sectoral interlocutor providing an umbrella for policy, planning and intervention for children between the ages of (0-3) and (3-6) years. 

Parwaan is geared to widen attention from children’s survival to their full development, employing comprehensive, integrated approaches that engage all sectors—education, family and social protection, health, and nutrition.

Parwaan believes that early human development is a powerful equalizer, as investments in early childhood yield significant long-term benefits that narrow the gap between high and low-income families. Investing in disadvantaged young children promotes not only fairness and social justice but at the same time stimulates productivity in the economy and in society at large. It promotes environmental sensitivity, and can break intergenerational cycle of poverty.

Our Challenge

The Constitution of Pakistan (Article 25-A) recognizes the educational need and development of children 5 years and above while 0-5 years has largely been overlooked.   Furthermore, National Education Policy has been the first step in the recognition of pre-primary education but no formal measures have been taken to implement this policy provision at the school level. Although, Provincial ECED plans exist, however, there is a gap in the implementation as well as the financing of the proposed interventions. Lack of inter-sectoral linkages between birth registration departments, health, immunization and educational entities. Dearth of awareness and political consensus on Early Childhood Education and Development.

The Opportunities

In the 21st century, countries’ wealth is not defined in terms of material wealth. It depends on the extent to which countries are able to nurture their human capital, with values important in a globalized world, such as equality, justice, and respect for diversity and for the environment. It is in our best interest to enable all children to benefit from the equalizing and enabling power of ECE, right from the start of their life (Concept Paper: The World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education: Building the Wealth of Nations DIVISION OF BASIC EDUCATION MARCH, 2010)

After 18th Amendment in 2010, Education in Pakistan is devolved entirely to the provinces – each province committed to National Education Policy 2009. The Government of Pakistan included Right to Education (RTE) in its constitution through Article 25-A of the 18th Amendment on April 19, 2012 “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age 5 to 16 years in such manner as may be determined by law” National Plan of Action 2013-16 for Achieving Universal Quality Primary Education in Pakistan (September 2013) developed by Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Trainings. Provincial Sector Education Plans are in place and being finalized; all include ECE as an area of focus.

Required legislation, Education Sector Reforms and National Plan of Action, ECE Curriculum and learning material, ECE Policy formulation in all provinces, enormous experience of local NGOs and manifestos of newly elected political parties with education as an important   component are some of the opportunities that we must avail to formulate a national narrative on ECED.

Our Strategy

Parwaan’s vision is closely linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (goal # 2, 3 and 4) which call for ensuring access to early childhood development, ending all forms of malnutrition, achieving the internationally agreed targets on stunting and wasting in children under 5 years of age by 2025. These also address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women and older persons, safe, nutritious and sufficient food to the infants, neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and under-5 mortality to at least as low as 25 per 1,000 live births which are an important part of Parwaan’s mandate. Parwaan’s work strategy addresses early childhood education and development, health, nutrition and immunization etc. as envisioned in the SDGs.

1.  Consolidation of Support for ECED:

Parwaan will build partnerships with institutions and stakeholders to consolidate support for ECED in order to create an enabling environment for balanced physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development of all children in the country. Parwaan will strengthen collaboration and partnership between relevant departments and service providers of ECED and potential donors through formation of joint forums and committees for achieving synergies. Parwaan in all its efforts will involve Parliamentarians, Senators, Provincial legislatures for consolidation of political will and government support and create champions of early childhood education. This would help in promotion of early childhood education at the grass root level.

2. Capacity Building:

The grave challenge to education in Pakistan is lack of skilled teachers to cater to the learning needs of children of earlier grades. The teachers in the public as well as low cost private sector have little knowledge of classroom environment, child psychology, child development and importance of parental involvement in a child’s learning. There is need to build their capabilities in ECE concepts and methodology. Parwaan will enhance knowledge of low cost private school teachers in its network in early childhood education and keep them updated on latest research through SMS alerts and trainings. Professional capacities of teachers of government schools will also be built. Universities will also be targeted for developing and offering training courses for professional development of future teachers and entrepreneurs.

3. Research and Advocacy:

Involving all Media Stakeholders and sharing of Research on Early Childhood Education so that all the stakeholders are in the knowledge of what is happening on the ECED front and to get their support where needed. Parwaan is also creating a repository of research and data on ECED in Pakistan and will facilitate new research studies on this subject.

Through our work we aim to create a National narrative on Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) in Pakistan, based on research evidence, and through mobilization of political support and professional development of educators. We hope to yield increased government support and development of professional base for ECED in the country. Collaboration and partnership between stakeholders will be strengthened. These interventions will pave the way and provide impetus to the slow process of promotion and institutionalization of Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) in Pakistan. 

Mehnaz Akber Aziz Addressing the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference

Status of ECED in Pakistan

Early Childhood Education and Development is still in its nascent stages in Pakistan where majority of the population is unaware about the concept and its significance. Meager interventions have been taken at the national and provincial level which is symbolic of how ECED remains largely absent in our educational and health policies. Below mentioned statistics illustrate this disquieting situation.

§  Education

     6.7 million primary school age children are out of school, of which 55% are girls. (EFA Global Monitoring Report 2015)

     42 % of National-Urban children and 61 % of National-Rural children are out of ECE schools. (ASER’ 2014)

     51-60% children in Punjab, 41-50 % in KPK, 41-50% in Sindh and below 30% in Baluchistan are in pre-school. (ASER’ 2014)

     63% of children aged three to five years are not receiving any education related to early childhood development. (The state of Pakistan’s children 2012, SPARC)

     70% of early childhood education is provided by low-cost private sector institutions.

     Only 64% of the entire population of children reach the last grade of primary school. (UNICEF 2013)

§  Health And Nutrition

     More than half the children, (52-57%) in Pakistan under the age of five are stunted or wasted (Global Nutrition Report (GNR) 2015).

     Pakistan has only been able to meet one nutrition target amongst the five outlined in the World Health Assemble Targets (GNR 2015).

     Infant mortality rate: 74 per 1,000 live births – Pakistan Demographic & Health Survey (PDHS) 2013.

     Full immunization rates: 56% (males) and 52% (females) – PDHS 2013

     Almost 40% of children are underweight. Malnutrition costs the country Rs. 200 billion every year (equivalent to more than 5% of GNP) in lost lives, disability and productivity.                          

     306 cases of polio were reported from all over the country in 2014. (End Polio Pakistan Report 2014).


     Only 43 to 48 per cent children under five years of age in Pakistan are growing healthily (GNR 2015).


Our Areas of Focus

1) Development:

We focus on early childhood development by carrying out situational analysis and formulation of reports that will then be disseminated to the top leadership of the country. During analysis CGN-P team unearths the household context and examines whether various aspects are being catered to during early childhood development. This includes the health, hygiene, breast feeding, vaccination, birth registration of the child between 0-5 years.

2) Education:

This aspect focuses on the type of learning environment provided to the child in the early years. The environment has an important impact on the child’s learning and CGN-P team evaluates whether innovative resource material is provided to child. Furthermore they examine whether the teacher is trained and amount of parental involvement in the child’s education. The results collected will assist in shaping education policy of Pakistan. By the identification of gaps, the curriculum will be designed in a way that is holistic and caters to the needs of children all over Pakistan.