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Costs and finance of higher education in Pakistan


  • Bellew, Rosemary
  • DeStefano, Joseph


Using data from colleges and universities, the authors investigate the costs and effectiveness of higher education in Pakistan, identify factors that influence those costs and effectiveness, and estimate levels of study subsidies. Not surprisingly, they find that most colleges and universities are underfunded. They operate with minimal faculty, spend little on learning materials, and cannot cut costs by enrolling more students without jeopardizing the quality of education. Available resources could be used more effectively by reducing the proportion of nonteaching employees - most of them servants - and by reallocating those resources to faculty and instructional materials. Student performance in examinations is consistent with the level and use of resources.Most students fail examinations, particulary in crowded institutions that offer few courses. And those who pass do so largely through their own efforts, not because of the quality of teaching. There are no institutional incentives for achievement or penalties for failure. Colleges and universities are not held accountable for the quality of instruction, cost recovery is low, and the government demands no standards. It would be imprudent for the Pakistan government to allocate more resources to the education sector until mechanisms have been established for more effectively allocating resources within and among institutions and for establishing incentives and improving institutional performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Bellew, Rosemary & DeStefano, Joseph, 1991. "Costs and finance of higher education in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 704, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:704

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Za'rour, George I., 1988. "Universities in Arab countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 62, The World Bank.
    2. Elchanan Cohn, 1968. "Economies of Scale in Iowa High School Operations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 3(4), pages 422-434.
    3. Wales, Terence J, 1973. "The Effect of School and District Size on Education Costs in British Columbia," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 710-720, October.
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