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LAHORE; Dec 21: The Ministry of Education is all set to launch the National Education Assessment System (NEAS) to develop national capacity for monitoring learning achievements of elementary students and improve the quality of services — curriculum, textual material, teachers’ delivery, policy formulation.

The Ecnec has approved the NEAS, a key programme of the Education Sector Reforms (ESR), and the World Bank has agreed to fund it.

The programme is expected to be launched formally at a function in Islamabad on Dec 23 (tomorrow). The federal government has already signed agreements with all the four provinces to institutionalize a monitoring system to improve education at the elementary level.

The national assessment will be conducted at Grade-IV and VIII levels through federal and provincial collaboration. The curriculum wing (CW) of the Ministry of Education (MoE) will have a coordinating role and support the current assessment initiatives in the provinces/areas.

The national assessment would be planned taking into account the existing assessment capacity and needs in the provinces/areas.

It may be mentioned that a dialogue about the need and mechanism for establishing NEAS as an integral part of the education system in Pakistan was initiated in a national workshop in December 1997. This initiative was followed by a number of seminars, national/provincial workshops and technical group meetings (TGMs), in which a consensus was reached about the need for establishing the NEAS and provincial education assessment centres (PEACEs) in Pakistan, as the institutional base for monitoring the quality of education.

The meetings had also proposed that NEAS and PEACE would be developed with federal and provincial coordination. At the federal level, the MoE CW would develop its capacity for leading and coordinating the provincial and area assessment initiatives through joint planning/phasing of activities, national level training and integrating provincial/area assessment data into a national profile.

The NEAS, at federal level, would also support the implementation of assessment activities in ICT.