Improving Decision-making Systems for Decentralized Primary Education Delivery in Pakistan

by Mohammed Rehan Malik

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This dissertation investigates the design and implementation of General Pervaiz Musharraf’s avowed decentralization initiative. Its objectives are (1) to test whether decisionmaking and service delivery have been decentralized and (2) to determine how restructuring of business processes, institutional structures, and incentives can improve decentralized primary education delivery. The evidence on policymaking indicates that the decentralization design is a replication of a unitary structure where district governments, accountable for service delivery, are superseded and contested by supra-state, federal, and provincial decisions. The analysis of education planning identifies multiple institutional structures, incentives, and mandates that contest district authority. The evidence on teacher and textbook availability indicates that district government authority over education input availability is limited by policy control and fiscal centralization at the provincial (and indirectly federal) levels. The author makes specific policy recommendations in four categories: (1) restructuring the decentralization design; (2) diluting pre-federalism and pre-decentralization structures; (3) realigning supra-state interventions; and (4) identifying strategies for improving education input availability in districts in Sindh.

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in July 2007 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Charles Wolf, Jr. (Chair), Sandra Berry, and Dominic Brewer.

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