Conference keynote speaker

Mr. Abbas Rashid

Abbas Rashid is a founder member and chairman of Society for Advancement of Education (SAHE), a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1982 by a group of concerned citizens and academics responding to the deteriorating standards of education in Pakistan. Abbas is the convener for the steering committee of the Campaign for Quality Education (CQE), housed at SAHE. He was lead researcher for the Education in Pakistan: What Works & Why research initiative, which was the precursor to this initiative. He is a member of the steering committee for Pakistan Association for Research in Education (PARE). He writes a regular column for one of Pakistan’s leading national dailies, the Daily Times. Prior to this he taught at the federal government Civil Services Academy. He has a number of research publications to his credit and has recently edited a book, Pakistan: Perspectives on State and Society. Abbas holds a Masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, New York.

Abstract of Keynote Speech

It is commonplace these days to encounter a mix of skepticism and cautious optimism when considering the potential of educational research to inform policy and practice in Pakistan (Warwick & Reimers, 1995).  However, as the scholarship elsewhere suggests, the connections between research, policy and practice are generally murky (Kennedy, 1997).  While it may be said that most educational research is not policy relevant, available evidence suggests that policy remains oblivious to research even when it is policy relevant.  The reasons for the above assertion may be varied, ranging from the dynamics of policy making in Pakistan, contextual imperatives and the presence of isolated communities of research and practice.

In this paper, we first explore the reason for this disconnect between policy making processes and educational research in the Pakistani context.  Second, we explore ways in which 'windows of opportunities' can be identified, or constructed, to push in the findings from research into the policy making arena. Finally, we present the experience of a project involving conduct of policy relevant case studies in schools across Pakistan (Campaign for Quality Education, 2007) to open a discussion on alternative ways of reaching the policymaking community. We also suggest that combining credible research with advocacy is central to creating interfaces with policy communities.  This is so, we claim, due to the requirements of effective advocacy, which push the research community to find ways of speaking to the policy making audience.  We believe that this paper will push our thinking about the possibility of building the much needed bridges of communication between the research and policy making communities in Pakistan.


Campaing for Quality Education (2007). Education in Pakistan: What Works and Why.
Retrieved from

Kennedy, M. M. (1997). The Connection Between Research and Practice. Educational Researcher, 26(4), 4-12.

Warwick, D.P., & Reimers, F. (1995). Hope or Despair? Learning in Pakistan's Primary Schools. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers..