Educational Access to marginalized populations

Fennell, S. & Malik, R. (2012) Between a rock and a hard place: the emerging educational market for the poor in Pakistan.Comparative Education, 48:2, 249-261.

The authors present evidence on obstacles that the poorest households face in relation to access and learning outcomes. Their contribution to the existing literature on schooling in Pakistan is by identifying exit, voice and loyalty mechanisms at work in the context of an expanding marketplace for education. They predict whether observed patterns of types of exit and voice could point to ways to improve the provision of education. The types of exit, voice and loyalty that emerge indicate that there is a need to examine carefully whether the provision of education for the poor in Pakistan can be regarded as approximating a competitive marketplace. The evidence suggests that decisions regarding school choice are based on familial and community norms. Access to information is a function of the socio-economic status of a household. One implication of this plurality of strategies with regards to exit, voice and loyalty is that the educational marketplace for the poor in Pakistan continues to be uneven in its coverage. In principle, the better off are able to integrate into this new market and benefit from its opportunities. However, poorer households face economic constraints, an inequality of power within the school and a more dismal set of outcomes as a result.

Mahmood, N. (2011). The Demographic Dividend: Effects of Population Change on School Education in Pakistan. PIDE Working Papers & Research Reports,68.

This paper examines how changing demographics in Pakistan resulting primarily from fertility transition can affect educational attainment of school going population during the next two decades, allowing the country to benefit from the demographic dividend, and what are the chances to achieve universal primary-level enrolment by 2015, a target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The paper demonstrates that with a gradual and steady improvement in enrolment, it may take another two decades or so to achieve 100 percent primary level education in Pakistan. However, if the pace of fertility decline were slower, it would require even longer time to achieve universal education with larger backlog of children remaining out of school. With an ever-increasing number of out-of-school children, this study suggests that massive efforts are required to raise primary and secondary level schooling through increased resources and focused interventions to specifically target rural, poor and marginalised population to redress gender imbalance and large education deficit in Pakistan. Increased primary and secondary education would also contribute to accelerate the pace of fertility decline that would lessen the burden on educational system and improve child quality and distribution of resources among lesser number of school age children.

Jacoby, H. G., &Mansuri, G. (2011). Crossing boundaries: Gender, caste and schooling in rural Pakistan. Policy Research Working Paper, 5710. World Bank.

In this paper, the authors investigate a hitherto neglected dimension of educational choice: social barriers to schooling arising from communal heterogeneity. Since it is usually not economical to provide a school to each settlement, let alone multiple facilities catering to each social group within a settlement, access to schooling will inevitably require many to cross boundaries, be they geographical or hierarchical ones. The question they ask is whether this constitutes a significant constraint on school enrollment. The two aspects through which they analyze educational attainment are purdah and caste. The findings of this paper imply that once the playing field is level—i.e., absent communal barriers and the associated stigma—low-caste children are actually no less likely to enroll in school than high-caste children. Indeed, low-caste girls, the most educationally disadvantaged group, would achieve substantially higher enrollment rates if given access to caste-concordant schools, whether these schools are placed inside or outside their own settlement. Thus, it is demonstrated that a policy of building village schools designed to serve low-caste children would increase overall enrollment by almost twice as much as a policy of placing a school in every currently unserved settlement, and would do so at one-sixth of the cost.

Hou, X. (2009). Wealth: crucial but not sufficient evidence from Pakistan on economic growth, Child labor, and schooling.Policy Research Working Paper, 4831. World Bank.

This paper, examines the association between wealth and child labor and schooling in Pakistan in the context of economic growth from 1998 to 2006. Child labor and schooling, however, are only two dimensions of child activities. In Pakistan, anothermajor dimension of child activities is “inactiveness” (neither schooling nor working), especially among girls. Thus, this paper also examines the association between wealth and child inactiveness. The paper finds that the relationship between wealth and the child activity decision is quite similar across different years for children above the poverty line, except for rural girls. Wealth plays an insignificant role in determining rural girls’ activity decisions in the multinomial logit model. However, rural girls’ school enrollment has increased significantly over the years across all the expenditure percentiles. This implies that other factors, such as presence of schools for girls, distance to school are more critical in determining girls’ school enrollment. This finding echoes the findings from the Learning and Educational Achievements in Punjab Schools (LEAPS). Thus, all the evidence suggests household targeting from the demand side interventions cannot just focus on the poorest of the poor but need a broader coverage for all the poor.

UNICEF. (2013). Global initiative on out-of-school children.

In 2010, UNICEF and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) launched a Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children in 26 countries including Pakistan. As part of this global initiative, this report aimed to improve statistical information and analysis of OOSC in Pakistan and guide concrete education sector reforms in this regard. It develops profiles of children who remain out of school, investigates the major barriers to education, and identifies the reasons why children in Pakistan drop out of school.Demand side and supply side barriers are analyzed and on their basis recommendations are made to create targeted interventions that address the problem of OOSC through the following three dimensions: (i) bringing OOSC of pre-primary, primary and lower secondary age into school; (ii) reducing the number of children dropping out of school at all three levels; and (iii) ensuring that children successfully transition from primary to secondary education. Moreover, the report also focuses on removing child labour for which it recommends convincing parents of the benefits of educating girls; developing education programmes for new mothers and those that focus on potential dropouts and working children aged 11–14 years.

Cheema, A., &Naseer, M. F. (2013). Historical Inequality and Intergenerational Educational Mobility: The Dynamics of Change in Rural Punjab. Lahore Journal of Economics18.

This paper provides rigorous evidence on the long-run inequality in opportunities in rural Punjab. For this purpose Sargodha provides an excellent context in which to analyze intergenerational mobility by providing micro-evidence, using regression analysis on the relationship between historic inequality and intergenerational mobility—an under-researched area in the literature. The findings of this paper show that while impressive gains have been made by the propertied in terms of school transitions, households at the bottom of the historic social hierarchy continue to have extremely low rates of transition to school in spite of increased provision of schools in the district’s villages. The outcome is that households whose ancestors were at the bottom of the village hierarchy have fallen a generation behind in terms of educational attainment compared to groups at the top and in the middle.What is extremely worrying is that a significant proportion of households in the nonpropertied group have had zero change in educational attainment across three generations. The fact that this stagnation is occurring in villages withschools suggests that it is these households’ demand for education that is the most serious challenge to the government’s stated aim of universalizing education.