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School of Applied Social Sciences

SASS Staff

Publication details

Siddiqui, N. & Gorard, S. (2017). Comparing government and private schools in Pakistan: the way forward for universal education. International Journal of Educational Research 82: 159-169.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of children’s proficiency in English, reading and maths on the basis of a citizen-led household survey run by the Annual Statistics of Education Report (ASER) in Pakistan in 2014. Our main analysis involves a sub-group of 26,070 children who were reported to be 8 years-old at the time of the survey. It was important for our purposes that this survey collected equivalent data on children in public, private and religious schools, as well as those not attending school at all. Unsurprisingly, the main difference in outcomes is between those children who attend school, and those who do not. Those missing out on school are more likely to be girls, and from poorer families in rural areas. For those who attend school, there are differences between state-funded and private school intakes, in terms of family background and test results. A binary logistic regression analysis is used to help assess the relationship between attending different types of schools and children’s attainment of a specific proficiency level. Once their different student intakes are taken into account, the difference in test outcomes between government and private schools largely disappears. The worst outcomes are associated with the small proportion of children educated only in Madrasahs. The paper ends by proposing that policy-makers press for enforcement of schooling for all, aiming for a universal state-funded system with equivalent opportunities for all, meaning that the stop gap of cheap private schools in poorer areas is no longer necessary.