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Learning levels and gaps in Pakistan

  • Das, Jishnu
  • Pandey, Priyanka
  • Zajonc, Tristan

The authors report on a survey of primary public and private schools in rural Pakistan witha focus on student achievement as measured through test scores. Absolute learning is low compared with curricular standards and international norms. Tested at the end of the third grade, a bare majority had mastered the K-I mathematics curriculum and 31 percent could correctly form a sentence with the word"school"in the vernacular (Urdu). As in high-income countries, bivariate comparisons show that higher learning is associated with household wealth and parental literacy. In sharp contrast to high-income countries, these gaps decrease dramatically in a multivariate regression once differences between children in the same school are looked at. Consequently, the largest gaps are between schools. The gap in English test scores between government and private schools, for instance, is 12 times the gap between children from rich and poor families. To contextualize these results within a broader South Asian context, the authors use data from public schools in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Levels of learning and the structure of the educational gaps are similar in the two samples. As in Pakistan, absolute learning is low and the largest gaps are between schools: the gap between good and bad government schools, for instance, is 5 times the gap between children with literate and illiterate mothers.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4067.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4067
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  1. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
  2. Duflo, Esther & Hanna, Rema, 2005. "Monitoring Works: Getting Teachers to Come to School," CEPR Discussion Papers 5426, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Dreze, Jean & Kingdon, Geeta Gandhi, 2001. "School Participation in Rural India," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, February.
  4. Eric A. Hanushek, 2001. "Black-White Achievement Differences and Governmental Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 24-28, May.
  5. Jishnu Das & Stefan Dercon & James Habyarimana & Pramila Krishnan, 2004. "Teacher Shocks and Student Learning: Evidence from Zambia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2004-26, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  6. Zafar Mueen Nasir & Hina Nazli, 2000. "Education And Earnings In Pakistan," PIDE-Working Papers 2000:177, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
  7. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "History Institutions and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," Working Papers id:2811, eSocialSciences.
  8. Michael Kremer & Nazmul Chaudhury & F. Halsey Rogers & Karthik Muralidharan & Jeffrey Hammer, 2005. "Teacher Absence in India: A Snapshot," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 658-667, 04/05.
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