Private Schooling

Amjad, R., & MacLeod, G. (2014). Academic effectiveness of private, public and private–public partnership schools in Pakistan. International Journal of Educational Development.

This paper is based on the analysis of the ASER survey of 2012. It investigates and compares the performance of public, private and PPP schools. The focus is on determining whether school type affects the performance of students and whether higher fees are associated with higher achievement levels. The regression analysis shows that private school students generally outperform students from the government schools and that some of these differences are probably due to differences in school type. Furthermore, students from public–private partnership schools generally outperform students from government schools and perform close to equally with students from private schools. However, their superior performance over government schools seems not to be due to school type but to other factors particularly private tuition. Students from the lowest- and low-fee private schools outperform students from government schools. According to the paper, of all the child and household variables assessed in the ASER study, private tuition is by itself the best single predictor of achievement. However, the role of private tuition, is not explored in detail in this paper and not given due attention in the literature.

Andrabi, T., Das, J., &Khwaja, A. I. (2013). Students today, teachers tomorrow: Identifying constraints on the provision of education. Journal of public Economics, 100, 1-14.

The authors expand on their previous research and use regression analysis to explain the low costs of private schools. They provide a causal link that shows how public investments in secondary education facilitate future educational provision by increasing the local pool of potential teachers and therefore decreasing the cost of providing education. They argue that construction of girl’s secondary public schools (GSS) increases the supply of local female teachers where there is low female geographical and occupational mobility. This supply side explanation opposes the demand side alternative, which argues that private schools appear due to demand from mothers with secondary education. The authors prove this by demonstrating that private school teacher’s wages are 27% lower in villages with GSS. Thus, the paper provides an important role of the public sector in bolstering the supply of teachers particularly in an environment where teacher shortages can pose severe and persistent constraints by raising the cost of educational provision.

Andrabi, T., Das, J., &Khwaja, A. I. (2008). A dime a day: The possibilities and limits of private schooling in Pakistan. Comparative Education Review, 52(3), 329-355.

The authors show that contrary to popular belief, the increase in enrollment is not through madrassas but through self-owned, for profit, non-religious private schools. These private schools are associated with greater female enrollment. They also have lower fees, with the average median fee in rural areas less than a dime (10 cents) a day. Instead of demand constraining the growth of private schools, it is the availability of inexpensive local teachers that explains the presence of private schools. Therefore, private schools tend to be located where women with secondary education live. Compared to government school teachers which are compensated based on their experience and training, these women have low labour costs due to their lack of alternate employment options. However an important caveat in this research is that these findings are based on correlations, which do not necessarily mean causation. Moreover, teacher effectiveness remains unknown despite the findings that private school teachers are less absent, since their qualification is lower.

Alderman, H., Orazem, P. F., &Paterno, E. M. (2001). School quality, school cost, and the public/private school choices of low-income households in Pakistan. Journal of Human Resources, 304-326.

This regression analysis explores the potential impact on enrollments and achievement of expanding delivery of private school services to low income neighbourhoods in Lahore. It investigates how fees charged by private schools affect the choice of such schools as well as of government schools and enrollment in general. First, the paper examines whether private schools charge fees low enough, or locate schools close enough to induce low-income students to attend. Finding that even very poor households send their children to private schools, it is estimated how household income as well as the fees, proximity and measured quality attributes of public and private schools in the neighbourhood influence the choice among school options. The results reflect findings from literature and show that schooling choices of poor households are sensitive to government and private school fees, distance to school, and school quality. In particular, lowering private school fees or distance will increase private school enrollments of poor children. Furthermore, private schools raise measured math and language achievement relative to government schools. These outcomes suggest a substantial public return from increasing private sector delivery of schooling services to poor families.