USAID's Pakistan Education Program Aligned With U.S. Strategy, But Insufficient Oversight Could Impede Accountability for Results

Audit Report
Report Number
5-391-20-001-P

Pakistan has long struggled to provide a national education system that meets the needs of its citizens.  Since 2005 USAID has obligated more than $840 million to help improve education in Pakistan and advance the U.S. Government’s broader national security interests in Southern Asia.

USAID/Pakistan’s education program aligned with the United States’ broader strategy for promoting a healthier and better educated population to encourage stability in the region, combat terrorism, and support a secure, economically vibrant, and stable Pakistani democracy. However, the mission did not fully use several key mechanisms that USAID policy calls for to oversee its education program, to help assess and adapt projects before they get off track. Specifically, we identified weaknesses in how USAID conducted site visits, used and followed through on the results of program reports, and measured program performance. Staffing gaps contributed to delays and further hindered USAID’s oversight of the four education projects we reviewed. In addition, the mission did not identify potential unallowable costs during its review of the independent cost estimate for school construction under one project we reviewed.

We made, and the Agency agreed with, five recommendations aimed at improving USAID’s oversight of its Pakistan education program going forward.

Recommendations

Recommendation 1

USAID/Pakistan implement a plan to ensure education project implementers report in their quarterly progress reports any implementation challenges, follow-up performed to resolve those challenges, and the current status of the challenges.

Questioned Cost:
$0
Funds For Better Use:
$0
Recommendation 2

USAID/Pakistan implement a system that maintains a record of the Mission's portfolio reviews, including but not limited to, review of the critical assumptions, issues identified, and management's follow-up of the identified issues.

Questioned Cost:
$0
Funds For Better Use:
$0
Close Date:
Recommendation 3

USAID/Pakistan implement a plan to identify the root causes associated with the lack of capacity of the Government of Sindh's Education Department and local contractors that created major challenges for the construction component of the Sindh Basic Education Program, and implement a plan to address these issues.

Questioned Cost:
$0
Funds For Better Use:
$0
Recommendation 4

USAID/Pakistan implement cost-estimate guidelines and training to include detailed guidance on what steps should be followed when reviewing independent government cost estimates under Government-to-Government programs, including the requirement to document the review. Guidelines should ensure that steps are included for determining the allowability of cost items that the Mission should consider while reviewing the independent government cost estimates.

Questioned Cost:
$0
Funds For Better Use:
$0
Recommendation 5

USAID/Pakistan review the independent cost estimates for the Sindh Basic Education Program's school-construction component specifically to identify items that are not permitted by the host-country agreement and other guidance, reiterate in writing that the unpermitted costs should not be included in cost estimates for future projects, and take appropriate action to recover any unpermitted amounts already paid.

Questioned Cost:
$0
Funds For Better Use:
$0