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Ensuring an Equal Start for All Pakistani Children: What Will It Cost ?
World Bank
2024.05.07
Quality early childhood education improves childhood development outcomes and has long-term implications for school readiness, workforce participation, and economic growth. Despite this, in Pakistan, the net enrollment rate of children ages 3 to 5 in early childhood education was only 31 percent in 2022. This paper estimates the cost of expanding access to early childhood education using an adapted version of the early childhood education Accelerator Costing and Simulation model. Using available administrative data, the paper presents cost estimates for three packages: (i) a business-as-usual package, (ii) a core service delivery package, and (iii) an augmented service delivery package. It considers how these costs might vary using alternate delivery mechanisms, such as community construction and vouchers. To ensure 100 percent net enrollment in early childhood education by 2035, Pakistan must increase the amount of the education budget spent on early childhood education from the existing allocation of 5.3 percent to 10.4 percent by 2035. This means increasing the early childhood education budget from PKR 71 billion (US$0.3 billion) in 2022 to PKR 418 billion (US$1.85 billion) in 2035, suggesting an average annual increase of 14 percent. Using alternate delivery mechanisms, such as community construction and vouchers, the required budget can be reduced to PKR 311 billion (US$1.37 billion) in 2035.