Gender Differentials in the Cost of Primary Education: A Study of Pakistan

Zafar H. Ismail


The paper examines the differences in the cost of primary
education by gender and by province. It shows that the growth in
enrolment outstrips the growth in the relevant population cohort, except
in Sindh, and that this is faster in the case of girls than boys; that
the school construction programme for girls in Sindh, unlike other
provinces, outstrips the growth in female teacher employment. This is
also seen in the boys’ school in Pakistan. Cost of providing education
are a function of the availability of teachers and schools, opportunity
cost of employment, urbanisation and female literacy. The growth in both
recurring and capital outlays and in output costs per student are higher
for girls and boys except in Balochistan. Using a pooled time series and
analysis the paper concludes that there is an optimal level for the
availability of schools per 1000 population [6.02 and 5.67 respectively
for girls and boys in the Punjab and 3.88 for boys in NWFP and
Balochistan] and for the number of teachers per 1000 students [7.69 for
girls and 3.36 for boys]. It suggests the policy prescription to
reallocate resources to employing more teachers for boys for greater
cost effectiveness.

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