chapter  10
20 Pages


Like most international aid agencies, Britain's Overseas Development Ad-

ministration (ODA) has developed policies that emphasize capacity build-

ing in partner countries. This is particularly true of ODA's approach to edu-

cational aid. The Education Policy Paper (ODA, 1994:2) lists six major

dimensions to the agency's educational aid program-promoting human

resource development, promoting economic reform and growth, promoting

good government, reducing poverty, addressing gender issues and tackling

environmental problems. All these objectives are couched in the language

of assisting partner countries to develop local capacity to achieve progress

in the selected areas. In line with this broad objective, in 1988 a Link Project

was established by ODA between the curriculum bureaux of the Ministry

of Education in Pakistan and the School of Education of the University of

Bristol. The British Council also played a role in the project, facilitating the

overseas training aspects of the link. The aim of the link was to form a part-

nership that would contribute to curriculum development in Pakistan in the

broadest sense. Components of the project included in-country and overseas

training, the provision of books and equipment-in particular, computer

equipment and training for each bureau-and the development of joint re-

search projects. Pakistani researchers were invited to spend six week peri-

ods at the University of Bristol preparing research proposals, searching the

literature and seeking research partners from among the Bristol staff before

returning to Pakistan to carry out small research projects. It was from such

a short visit that the joint research project analyzed below was initiated. An

additional component in the original project design was a plan to cluster

schools to promote local curriculum development. This activity proved im-

possible to implement, despite agreement from both ODA and the govern-

ment of Pakistan in the original project documentation. After some nego-

tiation, the resources originally committed to this component were redirected

to fund the joint research project. ODA's flexibility in responding to the re-

quest from the university and the curriculum bureaux reflects well upon the

agency, and in evaluating the impact of the overall initiative the outcome of

the joint research project counts as a significant achievement.