Tackling the largest global education challenge? Secular and religious education in northern Nigeria
With more than ten million children out of school, Nigeria is the country furthest away from universal primary education. Low access to school is concentrated in the north of the country where a tradition of religious education has been seen as both a constraint and an opportunity. This paper uses recent survey data to explain household decisions related to secular and religious education. It demonstrates a shift in attitudes with unobserved household characteristics that favor religious education attendance being negatively correlated with secular school attendance after controlling for a rich set of background variables. The paper also provides quantitative evidence to support the argument that the poor quality of secular education acts as a disincentive to secular school attendance. This finding cast doubts at policy attempts to increase secular school enrolment through the integration of religious and secular school curricula.
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