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Religious school enrollment in Pakistan : a look at the data

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  • Andrabi, Tahir
  • Das, Jishnu
  • Khwaja, Asim Ijaz
  • Zajonc, Tristan

Abstract

Bold assertions have been made in policy reports and popular articles on the high and increasing enrollment in Pakistani religious schools, commonly known as madrassas. Given the importance placed on the subject by policymakers in Pakistan and those internationally, it is troubling that none of the reports and articles reviewed based their analysis on publicly available data or established statistical methodologies. The authors of this paper use published data sources and a census of schooling choice to show that existing estimates are inflated by an order of magnitude. Madrassas account for less than 1 percent of all enrollment in the country and there is no evidence of a dramatic increase in recent years. The educational landscape in Pakistan has changed substantially in the past decade, but this is due to an explosion of private schools, an important fact that has been left out of the debate on Pakistani education. Moreover, when the authors look at school choice, they find that no one explanation fits the data. While most existing theories of madrassa enrollment are based on household attributes (for instance, a preference for religious schooling or the household’s access to other schooling options), the data show that among households with at least one child enrolled in a madrassa, 75 percent send their second (and/or third) child to a public or private school or both. Widely promoted theories simply do not explain this substantial variation within households.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3521.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3521

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Keywords: Teaching and Learning; Public Health Promotion; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Primary Education; Education Reform and Management; Primary Education; Teaching and Learning; Education Reform and Management; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Youth and Governance;

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Cited by:
  1. Manos Antoninis, 2012. "Tackling the largest global education challenge? Secular and religious education in northern Nigeria," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2012-17, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Baele, Lieven & Farooq, Moazzam & Ongena, Steven, 2011. "Of Religion and Redemption: Evidence from Default on Islamic Loans," CEPR Discussion Papers 8504, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Cantoni, Davide & Yuchtman, Noam, 2013. "The political economy of educational content and development: Lessons from history," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 233-244.
  4. Jean-Paul Carvalho, 2009. "A Theory of the Islamic Revival," Economics Series Working Papers 424, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Pierre André & Jean-Luc Demonsant, 2012. "Koranic Schools in Senegal : A real barrier to formal education?," THEMA Working Papers 2012-46, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  6. Asadullah, Niaz & Chakrabarti, Rupa & Chaudhury, Nazmul, 2012. "What Determines Religious School Choice? Theory and Evidence from Rural Bangladesh," IZA Discussion Papers 6883, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Adeline Delavande & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Stereotypes and madrassas: experimental evidence from Pakistan," Staff Reports 501, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  8. Lodhi, Abdul Salam & Tsegai, Daniel W. & Gerber, Nicolas, 2011. "Determinants of participation in child’s education and alternative activities in Pakistan," Discussion Papers 119110, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  9. Delavande, Adeline & Zafar, Basit, 2014. "University choice: the role of expected earnings, non-pecuniary outcomes, and financial constraints," Staff Reports 683, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  10. Manos Antoninis, 2012. "Tackling the largest global education challenge? Secular and religious education in northern Nigeria," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-17, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.

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