How do options for low-cost private schooling affect the market for education?

Why Pakistan?

Despite rising enrolment levels and a significant increase in spending by its government, Pakistan, like other low income countries, faces a persistent student learning crisis. However, Pakistan's education ecosystem is unlike those of many other countries: over forty percent of primary-age students attend low-cost private schools, which have proliferated throughout the country, creating a dynamic marketplace of education and presenting parents and children with significant public and private school choice.

This provides a valuable context for studying education systems through economic tools of market analysis. The Pakistan Country Research Team's research takes a comprehensive systems approach that examines the full schooling environment and the constraints that prohibit students, parents, schools, and other education actors from fulfilling their own objectives.

For more about the team's work, see their technical research overview or a list of all Pakistan Country Research Team research outputs.

Researchers and institutions

The Pakistan Country Research Team is a multidisciplinary group of researchers from institutions throughout the world. Key institutions include Pomona College, the Center for Economic Research in Pakistan, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Pomona College, Georgetown University, Lahore University of Management Sciences, and the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives.

A list of Pakistan Country Research Team members is available on our People page.

Research agenda

The team's approach will focus on three distinct components:

  1. A system diagnosis
  2. The core work programme with research and transformational analytical work
  3. The building of a community of practice by helping inform the development of the LUMS School of Education.

Within the core work programme (component 2), the team divides research studies into five dimensions of system frictions faced by the education ecosystem of Pakistan:

  • Returns to education: What is the impact of schooling on early adult labour force outcomes, occupational choice, migration and family formation?
  • The market for quality teachers: How does teacher compensation, job training, and review policy affect teacher supply and quality, and student learning outcomes in the public and private sectors?
  • Access to information about school quality: Do school report cards lead parents to choose high-quality schools and help those schools to thrive? Do the effects on students’ learning continue into adulthood, when men and women enter the labour force, marry, and start families?
  • Financial constraints: Do grants and loans tailored to the needs of schools lead them to make the kinds of investments that will enhance learning?
  • Educational support services: Can products targeted toward Pakistan’s low-cost private schools lead them to adopt innovative learning tools and materials?