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Religious school enrollment in Pakistan : a look at the data

Author

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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrabi, Tahir & Das, Jishnu & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Zajonc, Tristan, 2005. "Religious school enrollment in Pakistan : a look at the data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3521, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3521
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    Cited by:

    1. Khan, Sarah & Seltzer, Andrew, 2016. "The Impact of Fundamentalist Terrorism on School Enrolment: Evidence from North-Western Pakistan, 2004-09," IZA Discussion Papers 10168, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Baele, Lieven & Farooq, Moazzam & Ongena, Steven, 2014. "Of religion and redemption: Evidence from default on Islamic loans," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 141-159.
    3. 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.
    4. Delavande, Adeline & Zafar, Basit, 2015. "Stereotypes and Madrassas: Experimental evidence from Pakistan," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 247-267.
    5. 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.
    6. M. Niaz Asadullah & Rupa Chakrabarti & Nazmul Chaudhury, 2015. "What Determines Religious School Choice? Theory And Evidence From Rural Bangladesh," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 186-207, April.
    7. Tahir Andrabi & Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja, 2015. "Delivering education: a pragmatic framework for improving education in low-income countries," Chapters,in: Handbook of International Development and Education, chapter 6, pages 85-130 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Krafft, Caroline & Elbadawy, Asmaa & Sieverding, Maia, 2017. "Constrained School Choice in Egypt," GLO Discussion Paper Series 134, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    9. Behrman, Jere R. & Ross, David & Sabot, Richard, 2008. "Improving quality versus increasing the quantity of schooling: Estimates of rates of return from rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1-2), pages 94-104, February.
    10. 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.
    11. Baele, L. & Farooq, M. & Ongena, S., 2012. "Of Religion and Redemption : Evidence from Default on Islamic Loans (Replaces CentER DP 2010-136)," Discussion Paper 2012-014, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    12. Burde, Dana & Middleton, Joel A. & Wahl, Rachel, 2015. "Islamic studies as early childhood education in countries affected by conflict: The role of mosque schools in remote Afghan villages," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 70-79.
    13. Delavande, Adeline & Zafar, Basit, 2014. "University choice: the role of expected earnings, non-pecuniary outcomes and financial constraints," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-38, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    14. Cantoni, Davide & Yuchtman, Noam, 2012. "Educational Content, Educational Institutions and Economic Development: Lessons from History," Discussion Papers in Economics 12691, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    15. Lant Pritchett & Martina Viarengo, 2013. "The State, Socialization, and Private Schooling: When Will Governments Support Alternative Producers?," CID Working Papers 272, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    16. 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.
    17. Jean-Paul Carvalho, 2009. "A Theory of the Islamic Revival," Economics Series Working Papers 424, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    18. 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).
    19. Antoninis, Manos, 2014. "Tackling the Largest Global Education Challenge? Secular and Religious Education in Northern Nigeria," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 82-92.

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