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ERIC Number: ED548297
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 252
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2673-9186-5
School or Madrassa? Parents' Choice and the Failure of State-Run Education in Pakistan
Khan, Jehanzaib
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University
Two major assumptions have dominated much of the discourse on Islamic schools in Pakistan since the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s and following the US attack on Afghanistan in October 2001. First, the Pakistani state-run education system is failing. Because of the poor quality of education at public schools, parents choose to send their children to attend madrassas. Second, madrassas produce religious militancy, threatening Pakistani and global security. My study focuses on this first assumption and explores the extent to which parents' decisions to send their children to madrassas is explained by their educational, rather than religious, motivations given the poor state of public education. Contrary to the popular assumption that families' choice of madrassas is associated with the poor standards of public education in Pakistan, findings from my research show that parents who send children (both male and female) to public school do not perceive madrassas as an alternative despite the poor state of public education. Based on original data comprising 672 respondents from two districts in Balochistan, this study shows that parents send their children to madrassas because they earn less and are more religious than public school parents--the effect of religiosity on enrollment is consistent and increases in size as more factors are accounted for. In addition, parents who are sensitive to their children's literacy skill development and school proximity are significantly more likely to send their male children to public schools than to madrassas. Interestingly, the effect of school proximity on girls' enrollment is no longer significant once the boys' enrollment is accounted for. Furthermore, religion does not determine whether girls are educated, but it does determine where they are enrolled. With regard to teacher characteristics, parent involvement, and student outcomes, madrassa teachers report significantly greater satisfaction with their schools, higher future expected returns for their students, and greater parent interaction than that which public school teachers report. Regarding the differences between the two sectors, however, it is important to note that madrassa students perform significantly higher on math and language tests at grades two and four levels than public school students. The results challenge the popular assumptions and offer important insights for school choice and education reform. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pakistan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A