PROSPECTS

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 345–363 | Cite as

Schools and learning in rural India and Pakistan: Who goes where, and how much are they learning?

Open File

Abstract

It is increasingly recognized that there is a global learning crisis. This article investigates this learning crisis through a comparative analysis of rural India and Pakistan. Using data from each country’s Annual Status of Education Report, it demonstrates that socioeconomic status and gender are important determinants of whether children are in school, the type of school they attend, and whether they are learning. While learning varies across schools, socioeconomic disparities predominate: disadvantaged children in private schools are learning less than more advantaged children in government schools. Gender also plays an important role, with disparities between boys and girls most pronounced among poorer children in Pakistan. In addition, while private tuition improves learning for all children, it does not resolve socioeconomic and gender disparities. The study indicates that policymakers need to focus on government schools since that is where most of the poorest children study and where learning levels are lowest. The fact that more advantaged children are learning in government schools indicates the role that such schools can play in education.

Keywords

Rural education Private schools Learning Inequality India Pakistan 

References

  1. Ahmed, H., Amjad, S., Bukhari, A., Shah, S. A., Sikander, U., Tirmazee, Z., et al. (2013). Determinants of school choice: Evidence from rural Punjab. Center for Research in Economics and Business, Lahore School of Economics. http://www.periglobal.org/sites/periglobal.org/files/ESP-WP-No55-FINAL.pdf.
  2. Alderman, H., Orazem, P. F., & Paterno, E. M. (2001). School quality, school cost, and the public/private school choices of low-income households in Pakistan. The Journal of Human Resources, 36(2), 304–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andrabi, T., Bau, N., Das, J., & Khwaja, A. I. (2010). Are bad public schools public “bads”? Test scores and civic values in public and private schools. http://economics-files.pomona.edu/Andrabi/Research/jishnu4_5a.pdf.
  4. Andrabi, T., Das, J., & Khwaja, A. I. (2008). A dime a day: The possibilities and limits of private schooling in Pakistan. Comparative Education Review, 52(3), 329–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Andrabi, T., Das, J., & Khwaja, A. I. (2013). Students today, teachers tomorrow: Identifying constraints on the provision of education. Journal of Public Economics, 100, 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Andrabi, T., Das, J., Khwaja, A. I., & Zajonc, T. (2011). Do value-added estimates add value? Accounting for learning dynamics. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 3(3), 29–54.Google Scholar
  7. Arif, G. M., & Saqib, N. (2003). Production of cognitive life skills in public, private, and NGO schools in Pakistan. Pakistan Development Review, 42(1), 1–28.Google Scholar
  8. ASER [Annual Status of Education Report] Centre (2014). 1996–2005: Foundations. http://www.asercentre.org/p/158.html.
  9. ASER India (2014). Annual status of education report (rural) 2013. New Delhi: ASER Centre.Google Scholar
  10. ASER Pakistan (2013). Annual status of education report: ASER Pakistan 2013. Lahore: SAFED.Google Scholar
  11. Aslam, M. (2009). The relative effectiveness of government and private schools in Pakistan: Are girls worse off? Education Economics, 17(3), 329–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Aslam, M., & Atherton, P. (2012). The “shadow” education sector in India and Pakistan: The determinants, benefits and equity effects of private tutoring. Education Support Programme Working Paper Series, 38. London: Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  13. Aslam, M., & Mansoor, S. (2011). The private tuition industry in Pakistan: An alarming trend. In Policy brief: Annual status of education report. http://www.aserpakistan.org/document/aser_policy_briefs/2011/Tution%20Brief.pdf.
  14. Azam, M., & Kingdon, G. G. (2013). Are girls the fairer sex in India? Revisiting intra-household allocation of education expenditure. World Development, 42, 143–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Banerji, R. (2013). Learning for all: The challenge of taking everyone along. In K. Kenny, P. Lei, W. Paxton, M. Talbot-Zorn, & A. Henck (Eds.), The right to learn: Community participation in improving learning (pp. 28–31). Westport, CT: Save the Children.Google Scholar
  16. Bhattacharjea, S., Whadwa, W., & Banerki, R. (2011). Inside primary schools: A study of teaching and learning in rural India. Pratham: Mumbai Education Initiative. http://img.asercentre.org/docs/Publications/Inside_Primary_School/Report/tl_study_print_ready_version_oct_7_2011.pdf.
  17. Bray, M., & Kwo, O. (2013). Behind the façade of fee-free education: Shadow education and its implications for social justice. Oxford Review of Education, 39(4), 480–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Chaven, M., & Banerji, R. (2013). The bottom-up push for quality education in India. In H. J. Malone (Ed.), Leading educational change (pp. 97–101). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  19. Chudgar, A. (2012). Variation in private school performance. Economic & Political Weekly, 47(11), 52–59.Google Scholar
  20. Chudgar, A., & Quin, E. (2012). Relationship between private schooling and achievement: Results from rural and urban India. Economics of Education Review, 31(4), 376–390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Das, J., Pandey, P., & Zajonc, T. (2006). Learning levels and gaps in Pakistan. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4067. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  22. Day Ashley, L., Mcloughlin, C., Aslam, M., Engel, J., Wales, J., Rawal, S., … Rose, P. (2014). The role and impact of private schools in developing countries. London: Department for International Development.Google Scholar
  23. Desai, S., Dubey, A., Vanneman, R., & Banerji, R. (2009). Private schooling in India: A new educational landscape. India Policy Forum, 5, 1–58.Google Scholar
  24. Dongre, A., & Tewary, V. (2014). Impact of private tutoring on learning levels: Evidence from India. New Delhi: Accountability Initiative. http://ideasforindia.in/article.aspx?article_id=319#sthash.TffWe6Zs.dpuf/.
  25. French, R., & Kingdon, G. (2010). The relative effectiveness of private and government schools in rural India: Evidence from ASER data. London: Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  26. Goyal, S. (2009). Inside the house of learning: The relative performance of public and private schools in Orissa. Education Economics, 17(3), 315–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Goyal, S., & Pandey, P. (2009). How do government and private schools differ? Findings from two large Indian states. South Asia Human Development Report 30. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  28. Härmä, J. (2011). Low-cost private schooling in India: Is it pro-poor and equitable? International Journal of Educational Development, 31(4), 350–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Härmä, J., & Rose, P. (2012). Is low-fee private primary schooling affordable for the poor? Evidence from rural India. In S. L. Robertson, K. Mundy, A. Verger, & F. Menashy (Eds.), Public private partnerships in education: New actors and modes of governance in a globalizing world (pp. 243–258). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  30. Jamil, B. R. (2014). ASER and right to education: Tracking provisions for fundamental rights and social justice. In Annual status of education report: ASER Pakistan 2013. Lahore: SAFED.Google Scholar
  31. Jha, P., Kumar, R., Vasa, P., Dhingra, N., Thiruchelvam, D., & Moineddin, R. (2006). Low male-to-female sex ratio of children born in India: National survey of 1.1 million households. The Lancet, 367(9506), 211–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Khan, S. R., Kazmi, S., & Latif, Z. (2005). A comparative institutional analysis of government, NGO and private rural primary schooling in Pakistan. European Journal of Development Research, 17(2), 199–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kingdon, G. (1996). The quality and efficiency of private and public education: A case-study of urban India. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 58(1), 57–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kingdon, G. (2008). Private and public schooling: The Indian experience. In R. Chakrabarti & P. Petersen (Eds.), School choice international: Exploiting public–private partnerships (pp. 111–142). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  35. Kremer, M., Chaudhury, N., Rogers, F. H., Muralidharan, K., & Hammer, J. (2005). Teacher absence in India: A snapshot. Journal of the European Economic Association, 3(2–3), 658–667.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Miller, B. D. (1997). The endangered sex: Neglect of female children in rural North India. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Muralidharan, K., & Kremer, M. (2008). Public and private schools in rural India. In R. Chakrabarti & P. Petersen (Eds.), School choice international: Exploiting public–private partnerships. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  38. Muralidharan, K., & Sundararaman, V. (2013). Contract teachers: Experimental evidence from India. NBER Working Paper 19440. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
  39. Saeed, S., & Zia, H. (2014). Measuring gender and educational inequality: Addressing the marginalized. In Annual status of education report: ASER Pakistan 2013. Lahore: SAFED.Google Scholar
  40. Sen, A. (1992). Missing women. British Medical Journal, 304(6827), 587–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sen, A. (2009). Introduction: Primary schooling in West Bengal. In K. Rana, S. Sen, M. Sarkar, P. Haldar, & A. Nandy (Eds.), The Pratichi education report II: Primary education in West Bengal—Changes and challenges. New Delhi: Pratichi Trust.Google Scholar
  42. Singh, A. (2013). Size and sources of the private school premium in test scores in India. Young Lives Working Paper No. 98. Oxford: Young Lives.Google Scholar
  43. Singh, R., & Bangay, C. (2014). Low-fee private schooling in India: More questions than answers? Observations from the Young Lives longitudinal research in Andhra Pradesh. International Journal of Educational Development, 39, 132–140. doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2014.08.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Srivastava, P. (2006). Private schooling and mental models about girls’ schooling in India. Compare, 36(4), 497–514.Google Scholar
  45. Sucharita, V. (2014). Negotiating between family, peers and school: Understanding the world of government school and private school students. Compare, 44(3), 379–393.Google Scholar
  46. Tooley, J., & Dixon, P. (2006). “De facto” privatisation of education and the poor: Implications of a study from sub-Saharan Africa and India. Compare, 36(4), 443–462.Google Scholar
  47. UNESCO (2014). Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all. Education for All Global Monitoring Report. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  48. Wadhwa, W. (2013). Private inputs into schooling: Bang for the buck? New Delhi: ASER. http://img.asercentre.org/docs/Publications/ASER%20Reports/ASER_2013/ASER2013_report%20sections/willimawadhwaarticle.pdf.
  49. Wales, J., Wild, L., Day Ashley, L., Mcloughlin, C., Aslam, M., Hines, S., … Rose, P. (2014). The role and impact of non-state philanthropic and religious schools in developing countries: A rigorous review of the evidence. London: Department for International Development.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© UNESCO IBE 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations