Case #2122.1

Seeking Skills, Finding Barriers: Vocational Training in Punjab (Sequel)

Publication Date: April 11, 2018
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This is the sequel to Seeking Skills, Finding Barriers: Vocational Training in Punjab.

In March 2012, a flagship vocational program in Punjab, Pakistan—the Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF)—hit a roadblock. After months of planning, a pilot phase of training courses was launched in four of Punjab’s poorest districts. The classes filled up, but the researchers in charge of evaluating PSDF’s programs were worried. Earlier research indicated that a large portion of the target population—including a large number of women—were interested in vocational training. But, when it came time to enroll in the classes only a small fraction of the population showed up.

The researchers wanted to find out why, before the program scaled up, but any delays in rolling out the program funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the Punjab government would not bode well for PSDF.

A unique public-private partnership, PSDF hoped to overhaul skills training in Pakistan by using an evidence-based, demand-driven approach. At the core of the model was a close partnership between researchers and practitioners. But embedding rigorous research in a development program did not in and of itself ensure success. Instead, with PSDF, the approach created serious tensions between policymakers and researchers, as administrative demands routinely flew in the face of applying evidence-based program design.

Learning Objective:
This case and sequel, serve as an introduction to and primer on the Smart Policy Design and Implementation model.

-Students explore the underlying tensions and misaligned incentives inherent in collaborations between policymakers, researchers and donors
-With the aid of the sequel, students analyze how PSDF was able to overcome its challenges, while learning about each element of the Smart Policy Design and Implementation model, and draw lessons that can be applied in other development settings.

Other Details

Case Author:
Anjani Datla
Faculty Lead:
Asim Ijaz Khwaja
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Funding Source:
Joseph B. Tompkins, Jr. Fund for Case Study and Research