ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Learning Levels and Gaps in Pakistan

A Comparison with Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh

This paper reports on student achievement in public and private primary schools in rural Pakistan and compares the findings with those rom Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. In Pakistan, absolute learning is low and the largest gaps are between good and bad government schools. The gap between children with literate and illiterate mothers is huge. Tested at the end of Grade 3, a bare majority of children have mastered the K-1 mathematics curriculum and only 31% can correctly form a sentence with the word "school" in Urdu. The gap in English test-scores between government and private schools is 12 times the gap between children from rich and poor families. Data from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh suggest similar levels of learning and educational gaps.

The discussion of learning in Pakistan draws from an ongoing report on “Learning and Educational Achievement in Punjab Schools” prepared by Tahir Andrabi (Pomona College), Asim Ijaz Khwaja (Harvard University), Tara Vishwanath (World Bank) and Tristan Zajonc (Harvard University). Funding for the survey was provided by the World Bank through grants from the Knowledge for Change and Poverty and Social Impact Analysis Trust Funds and the South-Asia Human Development Network. Priyanka Pandey was not affi liated with the World Bank at the time data were collected from schools in India, for which necessary approval for the study was obtained from respective state governments in India. We thank Elizabeth M King and Lant Pritchett for extensive discussions. The fi ndings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank, its executive directors, or the governments they represent.

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