Inter-American Development Bank
More than 20 percent of primary students in countries such as India and Pakistan attend private schools, which tend to be small, low-cost enterprises that effectively face no regulatory oversight and receive no government subsidies. How do they compare to their public counterparts?
Jishnu Das presents the results of a study assessing the quality of private primary education versus public in Pakistan. His results show that test scores in private schools are 0.8 to 1 standard deviation higher than in public schools and that, surprisingly, children in private schools have better civic skills, exhibit lower gender bias, and are better informed about Pakistan and more pro-democratic. With private schools 40 percent less expensive per student than public schools, Dass results argue for reassessing education delivery in low-income settings, where governance and accountability problems in public schools are common.
*The Massachusetts Ave. Development Seminar (MADS) is a ten year-old research seminar series that brings some of the world’s leading development scholars to discuss their new research and ideas. The presentations meet an academic standard of quality and are at times technical, but retain a focus on a mixed audience of researchers and policymakers.