Production of Cognitive and Life Skills in Public, Private, and NGO Schools in Pakistan

G M Arif, Najam Us Saqib


The share of private and NGO schools in primary education has
substantially increased over time, though the public sector is still a
major player in this area. The present study analyses the factors
determining the quality of education offered by the three types of
schools and draws policy recommendations for improving primary education
in Pakistan. The study compares learning achievement of Class 4 students
enrolled in 50 public, private, and NGO schools located across six
districts of Pakistan and in Azad Kashmir in terms of their scores in
Mathematics, Urdu, and General Knowledge tests. The analysis shows that,
practically, there is no gap between public and NGO schools in terms of
the test scores of their students. However, a significant test score gap
was found between the students enrolled in public and private schools.
This gap was largely explained by family background and school-related
variables, including teachers’ qualification and student/teacher ratio.
However, the performance of private schools was not uniform across
districts. In some districts public schools performed even better than
private and NGO schools. The findings of this study highlight the need
for improving the quality of education in public schools by recruiting
more qualified teachers and improving overall supervision. Teacher
training is the area where the public and private sectors can benefit by
pooling their resources and expertise.

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