EDUCATION is essential pre-requisite and basic building block for social capital formation and human development. Pakistan like many other developing countries is facing myriad challenges for improving access, equity and quality of education. The country has a population of 160 million people, 33 percent mired in abject poverty, living below the poverty line. The overall literacy rate is 54% whereas it is 36% for females. There are 6.5m children out of school and 80pc of them have never been enrolled in a school, according to provincial reports on grade retention and transition patterns of children and school education, 1995-96 to 2004-05. Of them, 77% of the enrolled children drop out while climbing the ladder and reaching X grade. The country currently has an enviable annual growth rate of almost 6% but has the most unenviable profiles of human development. Pakistan is at serious risk of not attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education For All (EFA) targets by 2015. The Gender Parity Index (GDI) of Pakistan (0.73) is one of the lowest in the world. Pakistan is one of those countries where distance to school is a greater deterrent to schooling for girls than for boys. Keeping in view one of the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) indicators, there is an urgent need to have a system of affordable quality education, socially acceptable to all stakeholders. The govt alone will not be able to accomplish the gigantic task of attaining the goal of sustainable quality education and meet the targets of MDGs and EFA. Viewing its limitation, the govt has involved non-state providers for extending access, equity and quality. The idea is to ensure trust-based synergy and synchronization culminating in win-win situation. With serious resource and institutional constraints, there are slim chances of improvement in public schools. Even though, a large number of non-state providers are quite active in providing education to people, there is still a wide deep chasm between demand and supply. As a consequence, the private sector educational network has expanded at an unprecedented galloping pace in the country. In 1999, there were 36,096 educational institutions in private sector and the number soared to 76,047 in 2005, showing an annual average increase of 25 percent. The expenditure in private sector institutions during 2004-05 was Rs.35.91 billion which is three times higher as compared to last census of private educational institutions conducted in 2001. The ratio of public and private schools in Pakistan is 164579 (67%) and 81103 (33%), whereas it is 66770 (58%) and 48541 (42%) respectively, in the largest province of Punjab. If the current pattern of growth continues, the expenditure on education in private sector will exceed the total expenditure in public sector in the next few years. The commitments to achieve universal primary education and literacy targets enshrined in several key national and international documents reflect the urgency to meet this challenge. The evidence has suggested that merry marriage of non-state provision in public private partnership, which is extremely successful because efficiency of private sector and public financing integrates and bleeds into efficient service delivery resulting in better learning outcomes, zero drop-outs, less absenteeism of teachers and truancy. Through NSP-PPP innovative models of the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF), it has been demonstrated that better quality education could be provided at much less cost as compared to public sector system. The public partnership programme requires an arrangement and conduit, which is mutually beneficial for all the parties, and there is a longeval win-win situation for all partners. In PPP environments in the education sector, the government benefits from private sector involvement by sharing its burden and constitutional responsibility of providing education to the masses, while the latter benefits from a variety of fiscal and other incentives extended to it by the former. About two decades ago, NGOs, CBOs, FBOs, VBOs and PEIs were few and operated in urban areas only but over the passage of time and with support of government and international development partners, their number and jurisdictions have expanded.  Many of them are now working in far-flung and remote areas, tribal belts, hilly regions and even in risk-averse conflict locations. Although several NGOs lack adequate financial and technical resources but there is little doubt in their abilities, potentialities and effective outreach to support the public sector in their attempts to provide free and compulsory education to the masses. This has been adequately demonstrated by them during the last year earthquake catastrophe in Pakistan. The PEF innovative models have pro-poor approach focusing disenfranchised and less affluent masses, ensuring quality education in public private partnership. Such models are competitive, economical and cost effective with an in-built mechanism of monitoring, evaluation, transparency and accountability. The financing is by PEF but the entrepreneurs have to manage the institutions and meet certain educational standards in terms of access and quality of education. It is the statutory mandate of the Foundation to innovate and develop new instruments for promotion of quality education at affordable cost to less affluent sections of society through NSPs. PEF has taken the following initiatives to promote quality education through NSP-PPP: Foundation Assisted Schools (PEF-FAS), Continuous Professional Development Programme (PEF-CPDP), Teaching in Clusters by Subject Specialists (PEF-TICSS) and Education Voucher Scheme (PEF-EVS). As the PEF is striving to meet its challenges and tasks, it is high time that public-partnership in education should be viewed with a different angle and be encouraged. (The writer is an academician, a researcher, a senior manager and a development economist. Currently, he is serving as managing director of Punjab Education Foundation)