EdNovate Pakistan 2017

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Experts Come Together to Discuss Innovation in Education at EdNovate Pakistan 2017

Pakistan’s education ecosystem represents a diverse set of actors and approaches with the same goal: improving education outcomes for students. On 11 July 2017, the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP) and the LUMS School of Education,) jointly hosted EdNovate Pakistan, a dialogue to foster evidence driven innovation in education. The event, intended to be the first in a series of annual conferences, brought together leaders in research, decision makers in public and private education, innovators, practitioners and media personnel, to discuss Innovation to improve education quality in Pakistan. 

Tahir Andrabi, co-founder of CERP, Dean of the new LUMS School of Education and Professor at Pomona College, began the day by asking the question: how can we make the Pakistani Education ecosystem cohesive around improving education quality, particularly through data-driven innovation? He noted changes in the education landscape over the fifteen year course of the LEAPS program (Learning and Education Achievement in Pakistan Schools) led by Andrabi, Jishnu Das of the World Bank and Asim Khwaja of Harvard University.

The conference also included a discussion with Nadeem Hussain, founder and coach of Planet N Group of Companies and former President of Tameer Bank, regarding innovations in financing available to low cost schools. An active discussion followed, and Hussain noted that “Typically the loan acceptance rate in small and medium enterprises (SME) is 5 to 10%. The percentage of small private schools accepting loans increased to 25% owing to interventions led by the LEAPS team.”


"Every actor that we come across, be it a child, a school, a parent, is an actor who really wants to act. Our job is to simply empower them to change," Asim Khwaja.

A discussion with Ameena Saiyid, Managing Director of Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan, centered on innovations in education support services, particularly textbooks and teacher training specifically catering to the large low cost private school sector in Pakistan.  

Kasim Kasuri, CEO of Beaconhouse School System, discussed the use of data in building more robust teacher evaluation systems. Salima Hashmi, Founding Dean of Beaconhouse National University, shared her experience as an arts educationist in the role of the arts in improving education quality and shifting to a“child-centered approach to education.” The conversation tied together how personal narratives of bringing change can be supported by data, and how this synthesis can lead to innovations in education. 

“If art is integrated into the classroom” Hashmi added, “it creates spaces of empathy, brings a sense of diversity, introduces an interdisciplinary approach, and leaves lots of room for exploration.”

Ali Cheema of LUMS moderated a panel discussion on “Catalyzing Innovation in the Public Sector,” which included Tahir Rauf of the Programme Monitoring and Implementation Unit (PMIU), Seema Aziz of Care Foundation and Helen Kamal of Ilm Ideas. Each spoke about the role of their organizations in spurring innovation in public schools, as well as achievements and challenges faced. Audience members asked questions surrounding public-private partnerships, teacher motivation and access to technology.

“The only thing that brings a child to school is quality education, provided with love and respect,” Seema Aziz

Baela Raza Jamil of ITA and ASER, Ali Khizar of the Business Recorder and Mahboob Mehmood of Knowledge Platform spoke on the panel “Reconciling Education Narratives and Policies with Evidence,” moderated by Faisal Bari of LUMS. The topic provoked debate around the challenges of increasing the use of data in Education and the extent to which evidence is driving the narrative surrounding issues in Education today. 

The day ended with a closing statement by Jishnu Das on the puzzle emerging from the Pakistani education system: at a systems level, countless reforms have been initiated and implemented without corresponding gains in learning achievement. He emphasized that this is not a problem unique to Pakistan, but can be seen the world over – both in developing and developed countries. The “wicked hard” question of how to provide quality education at scale for all will require a diverse set of stakeholders to come together, collaborate and innovate to find solutions that work.

EdNovate 2017 concluded with an open invitation to join the working group to further discuss the ideas generated at the event, and to join the team to organize future EdNovate events.

Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to join the working, or to share other thoughts and ideas.


Picture Gallery EdNovate 2017

Last modified on Thursday, 27 July 2017 07:43