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Why Can’t Pakistani Children Read? The Inside Story of Education Reform Efforts Gone Wrong (Event)

Date & Time

Jul. 12, 2019
10:30am – 12:00pm ET


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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In Pakistan, millions of children are not in school. And yet, millions more are in school, where they must suffer through the effects of a broken education system. Even after many years of being in school, most of these children struggle to read and learn. After decades of building schools and enrolling children in them, the international community has been forced to confront the reality that schools in Pakistan—and elsewhere around the world—are not delivering education, or even literacy. This event marks the release of a new report, produced by Wilson Center global fellow Nadia Naviwala, that highlights what has gone wrong in a country home to one of the largest externally funded education reform programs in the world—and where local government financing far exceeds the amount of that external funding. The report, which follows Naviwala’s earlier Wilson Center study Pakistan’s Education Crisis: The Real Story, addresses fundamental questions, such as why so many Pakistani children don’t learn and why so many of their teachers can’t teach. It also shatters myths about girls’ education and education budgets, among others. Part deep analysis and part investigative journalism, the report is based on visits to about 100 Pakistani classrooms; discussions with government ministers, other senior officials, technical experts, and international donors; and interviews with teachers and students. Above all, the report highlights the world’s collective responsibility for the failures of an education system shaped by a well-meaning, but flawed, decades-long effort to reform it. At this launch event, Naviwala will discuss the report’s key points, findings, and recommendations. Her presentation will rely heavily on video and photos.

Download the report at this link.


Nadia Naviwala

Nadia Naviwala

Global Fellow;
Independent Writer on Foreign Aid, Local Philanthropy, Civil Society, and Education in Pakistan; Former USIP Country Representative for Pakistan, Former USAID Pakistan Desk Officer; Former U.S. Senate National Security Aide; Former Public Policy Fellow;
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Hosted By

Indo-Pacific Program

The Indo-Pacific Program promotes policy debate and intellectual discussions on US interests in the Asia-Pacific as well as political, economic, security, and social issues relating to the world’s most populous and economically dynamic region.   Read more

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