Nuts & Bolts: Using National Education Management Information Systems to Make Local Service Improvements - the Case of Pakistan

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  • Number 30, Volume 5


Students of the Government Najeeb Memorial Girls High School in Gujranwala, Pakistan

Visual News Associates / World Bank

Education management information systems (EMISs), usually located within the ministry of education, are tools that can help governments improve education system administration by providing information that can be used in strategic planning, resource allocation, and monitoring and evaluation. Frequently, however, they are underutilized and become merely a reporting mechanism. Using the data at the point of collection—usually individual schools in a decentralized environment—and feeding them into service improvement action plans can improve local education outcomes.

Pakistan established a national EMIS (NEMIS) in 1993 to collect, maintain, and disseminate data to support policy making, planning, and management at each level of government. 

Despite a number of challenges facing the national system - lack of funding, human resources constraints, delays in district data submission and inconsistent data quality - local governments and school authorities have succeeded in using EMIS data to improve education quality and learning outcomes. This note argues that in decentralized settings using EMIS data at the local level can help bypass problems with the national system, create the right incentives for enhancing data quality, and improve education indicators due to informed decision making.

" The majority of countries worldwide already have an EMIS. Many officials have, at the ready, information to improve education service indicators. Even data of uneven quality can be used to make service improvements. "

EMIS was piloted in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and expanded successfully to Punjab and Sindh provinces, covering 344 districts and approximately 921 schools. Supported by a USAID project, the district governments developed and used a performance management tool (PMT) for education, which incorporated EMIS data.  The design and implementation of the PMT for education initiative across the three provinces took 15 months, with results seen as early as 6–9 months into the process.


Performance Management Tool for Education: Results
Source: DTW reports. Note: — = results not available.

Pakistan’s experience provides lessons that can be relevant for other countries. The note outlines Pakistan’s NEMIS and its data collection process, provides a description of the local government context, and discusses the results of the PMT for education, factors for success, and potential for replication in developing countries. Read the full note here.

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