Early Childhood Development (ECD) class at Government School, Kirmin, Chipurson, Pakistan - an AKF-supported S...

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Government primary school, Shetmerg, Chipurson - an AKF-supported School Improvement Programme (SIP) school, P...

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

Government school, Ganish, Hunza - an AKF-supported School Improvement Programme (SIP) school, Pakistan.

AKDN / Christopher Wilton-Steer

The Aga Khan Education Service (AKES), Pakistan is one of the largest private networks of educational institut...


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Pakistan | Early Childhood Development



AKF’s programmes reach over 16,500 children in Pakistan

Children learning the keyboard at the Sultan Mohamed Shah Aga Khan School, Karachi in Pakistan.

Courtesy of SMS, AKS

Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan

The Aga Khan Education Service (AKES), Pakistan provides more than 9,000 students aged two to five years with access to quality early childhood programmes and services, through over 144 pre-primary units in Sindh and the remote areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral.

The programmes adhere to the national curriculum of Pakistan and adopt the international HighScope approach in their daily routines. Five main curriculum areas guide teachers in supporting their students' development and extending their learning in a child-directed environment. This internationally-recognised early years approach is founded on child development theory. Children are guided to develop skills in:

  • approaches to learning;

  • language, literacy and communication (English and Urdu);

  • social and emotional development;

  • physical development, well-being and health; and

  • arts, mathematics and sciences.

Emphasis is placed on the professional development of teachers. Every new teacher completes a foundation course that focuses on ECD, pedagogy and ECD curriculum content. In addition, ongoing professional development courses support continued learning and skills improvement. These courses focus on the integration of core competencies of language and literacy (English and Urdu) and numeracy into the daily routine of the classroom. Teachers are also trained to help families manage transitions as children progress from one level to another.

Teachers make special efforts to integrate areas of the curriculum and include materials and resources from local contexts. While basic learning materials are provided, teachers create their own low-cost and no-cost materials. Teachers are also trained to enrich the curriculum by integrating local culture and traditions into their practice.

Foundations for Children

In 2020 AKF launched the Foundations for Health and Empowerment programme. This aims to enhance equitable development and the empowerment of women, girls, adolescents, their families and communities in select areas of Africa and Asia. It is funded by Global Affairs Canada and AKF Canada, and incorporates an ECD element, Foundations for Children.

Several AKDN agencies are synergising their efforts to increase the number of children from birth to six years and parents/caregivers who are accessing quality ECD provision in homes, communities, and education and health centres. They aim to increase the engagement of families and communities in responsive, nurturing care and stimulation of children, and meeting health, nutritional, security and safety needs. The programme is gender-responsive, laying the foundation for girls to succeed alongside boys, who value and benefit from gender equality. It will increase the availability of new resources and services such as ECD Resource Centres and Family Health Centres. It will also enhance the knowledge and skills and influence the attitudes and values of ECD and health workers and other community members.

AKU's Institute for Educational Development in Karachi, Pakistan.

AKDN / Gary Otte

Influencing Policy and Practice

AKF facilitates and speaks at conferences, seminars and policy dialogues and has been on several task forces. AKF:

  • is a member of the Uniform and Quality in Education sub-committee of the National Task Force on Education, the recommendations of which formed part of the National Policy Education Framework 2018.

  • collaborated with the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan, the Karakorum International University, the Allama Iqbal Open University and the Pakistan Alliance for Early Childhood in planning and conducting the Seminar on Transforming Society through ECD in 2018 in Gilgit; and with national partners for the 2019 International Conference on The Promise of ECD: Investing in the Early Years.

  • presented at the AKU 2019 International Conference on Nutrition and Early Human Development.

  • was on the panel for the UNICEF Policy Dialogue on ECD in 2019.

  • in 2020, was invited to become a member of the National Technical Working Group for ECD by the SUN Secretariat and the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.

  • has assisted the government in formulating several policies including the Gilgit-Baltistan Education Strategy 2015-2030, the Balochistan ECE Policy Framework 2015 and the National Curriculum for ECCE. We are currently exploring ways to further support the government of Gilgit-Baltistan in implementing its Strategy.

  • presented at a global OECD Growth Mindset Online Workshop in 2020.