Education and Learning after the Pakistan Earthquake:
Can the Children Recover?
Tahir Andrabi, Pomona College
Ali Cheema, Lahore University of Management Sciences
Pakistani Funding (HEC): $240,000
US Funding (USAID): $83,700
Project Dates on US Side: February 1, 2007 - January 31, 2011
On October 8, 2005, a devastating earthquake hit Pakistan’s Northern Provinces of NWFP and AJK and left the region in complete disarray. At the time this project began in early 2007, there was still little data available on the state of villages, households, and schools in the area. The researchers collaborating on this project are undertaking a series of surveys that will help to characterize the educational status of children by completing both a village mapping of educational facilities and a full module on the schooling environment at the level of the household. This represents an expansion of the originally funded project made possible thanks to a supplemental World Bank grant of $190,000 grant to Pomona College. The project is now comprised of four major parts: a household and facilities census, a household survey, a school and teacher survey, and child testing in four subject areas, and the effort covers 126 villages in the districts of Abbottabad, Muzaffarabad, Bagh, and Mansehra.
- Discovered that four years after the earthquake, humanitarian assistance by foreigners and foreign organizations has left a lasting imprint on population attitudes: trust in foreigners increased tremendously after the earthquake
- Published the paper “In Aid We Trust: Hearts and Minds and the Pakistan Earthquake of 2005" (jointly authored by Tahir Andrabi and Jishnu Das of the World Bank), which was widely covered in major media and attracted strong interest in US and Pakistan aid policy circles
- Published the working paper “Education and Learning after the Pakistan Earthquake: Can the Children Recover?” (jointly authored by Tahir Andrabi, Ali Cheema, and Jishnu Das), which presents implications from measuring the losses in education caused by natural disasters
- Obtained $190,000 supplemental grant from the World Bank to conduct a household census of 28,000 households in 126 villages and a detailed survey of 2,800 households
- Trained more than 35 surveyors in Pakistan in modern survey and testing methods and provided training to six students at Pomona College and three at Lahore University of Management Sciences who worked as research assistants at various times in the life cycle of the project
The researchers continued writing on the rich data generated from this earthquake research project and were expecting to produce at least three papers on the subjects of mortality, school level changes in learning and the effects of reconstruction grants. The research results were presented at the Pacific Coast Development Conference, University of California Berkeley in March 2011.
Progress Report Summaries
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2010 Show summary || Hide summary
In 2010 Dr. Anrabi made two trips to Pakstan and one trip to Washington D.C. The Pakistan trips were to supervise the data cleaning and the creation of a workable database. He gave a semina presentation during the Washington D.C. trip and drafting a research paper with World Bank co-co-author. During the year, the researchers on this project focused on analyzing the data generated from the survey and produced a few academic papers. In Aid We Trust: Hearts and Minds after the Pakistan Earthquake 2005, which is one of the papers as a result of othis project, received a lot of international media attention. A no-cost extension has been made through January 2011 to allow for completion of this project, including a second round of student and school tracking in the fall of 2010.
2009 Show summary || Hide summary
April 2009, and Dr. Andrabi spent 2 weeks in Pakistan that month to help supervise the launch of the survey effort and participate in some interviews himself. The first round of the survey (the household and facilities census) was completed by the end of May, with data collected covering more than 28,000 households from 126 villages in the earthquake zone. Information was gathered on (1) household demographics; (2) injury, death, damage, and destruction; (3) details of compensation; (4) organizations providing assistance; (5) mental health status; and (6) education status. In addition, a village facilities survey was conducted to gather information on enrollment, staffing, damage, and reconstruction status at all schools in the selected villages. One important aspect of the survey was its inclusion of GPS coordinates on all households and facilities, which makes it possible to analyze the data by distance from the faultline as a measure of the shock impact from the earthquake.
The household survey was carried out from August through October 2009 and was conducted by the independent consulting firm RCons from Lahore, using a training module developed by the principal investigators. The firm trained more than 120 surveyors, primarily recent university graduates, who were hired from the affected districts. The training workshops were conducted in each of the districts as well. The cost of the survey and the training was covered by funds from the World Bank, which has allowed the research team to increase the scope and relevance of the original project tremendously.
The third phase of the project entailed a school survey, which covered more than 1,000 schools, and a student testing component in which more than 7,300 students in grades 4 and 5 were evaluated for their levels of achievement in English, Urdu, math, and civics. This phase of the project was successfully completed by the end of December 2009 with the help of funding provided on the Pakistani side of the grant by HEC.
2008 Show summary || Hide summary
By August 2008, the teams had conducted a baseline pilot survey, selected the village representatives, and calculated the sampling weights needed to make the inferences despite the security conditions. Dr. Andrabi made three visits to Pakistan in 2008 (April, August, and December) to continue work on the project. The first trip involved working in Lahore with his counterparts to finalize the details on the census questionnaires and plans for the pilot survey, which was carried out later in the summer. The second trip involved detailed talks with ERRA and the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs on their assessment of the current educational environment in the earthquake affected areas. The third trip involved final meetings with the government ministries in Islamabad and in NWFP to make arrangements for the upcoming census. During that December 2008 visit, Dr. Andrabi and Dr. Cheema also conducted a training workshop in survey procedures and data analysis for the 12 team leaders selected to manage the actual survey effort.
As noted above, security conditions have caused major complications and delays for this project. The bulk of the survey work was supposed to begin in the fall of 2008, but in the wake of the Marriott bombing and other security problems in the regions to be surveyed, the researchers concurred with the view of the NWFP government that it was too dangerous to send the survey teams into the field at that time. Because winter weather conditions in the region make some roads in the area impassable, the survey was postponed until April 2009.
2007 Show summary || Hide summary
Dr. Andrabi visited Pakistan in June and August 2007 to being work on the project with his Pakistani partners. Their initial efforts focused on mapping the spatial distribution of the earthquake shock to draw a statistically representative sample of the affected communities, compiling a list of interventions, and partnering with major earthquake reconstruction organizations to create a list of interventions that needed to be documented in order to evaluate the recovery from the shock. Crucial linkages were established with NESPAK, a government firm that is the largest provider of engineering services in the earthquake area, and with the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency, the official Pakistani government body that coordinates all earthquake-related activity in the region. Questionnaires to be administered to school administrators, teachers, and children were developed, and research assistants and survey teams were hired and trained. Sampling field visits had been set to begin in November 2007, but the imposition of the state of emergency (and subsequent arrest and detention of Dr. Cheema and fellow LUMS faculty members), the December assassination of Benazir Bhutto, and the associated deterioration of security conditions in the region caused those plans to be put on hold for several months.
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