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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Nadia Siddiqui

Siddiqui, N. (2017). Parental education as a determinant of school choice: A comparative study of school types in Pakistan. Research in Education 99(1): 3-18.

Author(s) from Durham


In Pakistan, school education is not compulsory for children and, therefore, sending a child to school is a matter of choice for parents. For those parents who choose school education for their children the options are government schools, private fees paid schools and Islamic education schools (Madrassahs). This research uses a large-scale survey data collected in Pakistan for the years 2013 and 2014 in order to analyse association patterns between parental education and school choice for their children. The available information on 192,789 parents has been used to measure the effect size of parental education on the type of school they choose for their children. The results show that parents’ attendance at a formal school does not strongly relate with children’s school enrolment. However, parents’ higher number of years in attending formal education has a positive relation with children’s enrolment in private schools and parents’ having lesser number of years spent in formal education is positively related with children’s enrolment is Madrassahs. The differences among parental school choice are noticeable between private schools and Madrassahs but less obvious between government schools and private schools. These findings are important to demonstrate the role of different school types in a society and how parental education is related with overall stratification at school level. The research evidence presented here calls for a national policy where school education should be made compulsory for children and all schools should function under same regulations for school admission. Disadvantaged parents should not have to rely on Madrassah education for their children and it should rather be parents’ choice against the state-maintained or private schools.