The effect of gender differences in primary school access, type, and quality on the decision to enroll in rural Pakistan

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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The goal of this artile is to asses the role of primary schools access, type (ie., public vs. private, and quality on parents' decision to enroll or not to enroll their children in primary school in rural Pakistan. This study complements an earlier study by Alderman, Orazem, and Paterno (2001) exploring the same set of issue in urban Pakistan and, for ease of comparison, uses similar modeling and estimation techniques. We use data collected especially for this purpose in rural Punjab and Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) in 1997. In a context in which many children, particularly girls, never enter school it is critical to understand more fully the determinants of enrollment. A unique contribution of the article is the construction of gender-specific dimensions of school accessibility and school quality according to school type. Within the same village, girls and boys often face starkly different options for schooling in terms of distance, type, and quality. Public primary schools are segregated by sex; private schools are more typically mixed but are also occasionally single sex. The article begins with a review of the literature on the determinants of school entry and choice in developing countries, with emphasis on the newer literature on school quality and public or private school choice. This is followed by an overview of educational policy and primary schooling in Pakistan. Next, we introduce our data, using them to provide some background on relevant dimensions of the schooling context in our sample villages. Finally, we present our findings from the multivariate analysis and conclude with some thoughts on educational policy in Pakistan.






Educational Opportunities in Rural Areas