Religious School Enrollment in Pakistan : A Look at the Data

Thumbnail Image
Files in English
English PDF (1.1 MB)
English Text (112.11 KB)
Andrabi, Tahir
Khwaja, Asim Ijaz
Zajonc, Tristan
Bold assertions have been made in policy reports and popular articles on the high and increasing enrollment in Pakistani religious schools, commonly known as madrassas. Given the importance placed on the subject by policymakers in Pakistan and those internationally, it is troubling that none of the reports and articles reviewed based their analysis on publicly available data or established statistical methodologies. The authors of this paper use published data sources and a census of schooling choice to show that existing estimates are inflated by an order of magnitude. Madrassas account for less than 1 percent of all enrollment in the country and there is no evidence of a dramatic increase in recent years. The educational landscape in Pakistan has changed substantially in the past decade, but this is due to an explosion of private schools, an important fact that has been left out of the debate on Pakistani education. Moreover, when the authors look at school choice, they find that no one explanation fits the data. While most existing theories of madrassa enrollment are based on household attributes (for instance, a preference for religious schooling or the household s access to other schooling options), the data show that among households with at least one child enrolled in a madrassa, 75 percent send their second (and/or third) child to a public or private school or both. Widely promoted theories simply do not explain this substantial variation within households.
Link to Data Set
Andrabi, Tahir; Das, Jishnu; Khwaja, Asim Ijaz; Zajonc, Tristan. 2005. Religious School Enrollment in Pakistan : A Look at the Data. Policy Research Working Paper; No. 3521. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
Report Series
Report Series
Other publications in this report series
  • Publication
    Refugee Education Financing
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-11) Hopper, Robert
    This paper, along with its accompanying data, provides the first comprehensive analysis on financing for refugee education in low- and middle-income countries. By compiling and scrutinizing data on host government financing, foreign aid contributions, and philanthropic giving, a consolidated and quantified overview of all major sources of financing for refugee education in low- and middle-income countries is produced. This data is then analyzed to reveal key trends and patterns in refugee education financing, existing financing gaps, and potential biases in financing allocations. These findings are explored in the 10 facts and findings outlined in this paper, and summarized in Box 1 below. It is hoped that this dataset and analysis will help to improve the understanding of financing for refugee education in low- and middle-income countries and inform future discussion and debate on refugee education financing.
  • Publication
    COVID-19 Increased Existing Gender Mortality Gaps in High-Income Countries More Than in Middle-Income Countries
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-10) Beegle, Kathleen; Demombynes, Gabriel; De Walque, Damien; Gubbins, Paul; Veillard, ,Jeremy
    Men die at higher rates in nearly all places and at all ages beyond age 45. Using World Health Organization excess mortality estimates by sex and age groups for 75 countries in 2020 and 62 countries in 2021, this paper analyzes how patterns of excess mortality varied by sex and age groups across countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and their association with country income level. In 2020, the pandemic amplified the gender mortality gap for the world, but with variation across countries and by country income level. In high-income countries, rates of excess mortality were much higher for men than women. In contrast, in middle-income countries, the sex ratio of excess mortality was similar to the sex ratio of expected all-cause mortality. The exacerbation of the sex ratio of excess mortality observed in 2020 in high-income countries declined in 2021, likely as a result of the faster rollout of vaccination against COVID-19.
  • Publication
    Leveraging Growth Regressions for Country Analysis
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-10) Wacker, Konstantin M.; Beyer, Robert C. M.; Moller, Lars Christian
    This paper shows how growth regressions can be useful for analyzing a country’s growth performance. Growth regressions describe changes in key macroeconomic variables that countries typically experience during their growth process. Such partial correlations facilitate comparative analysis, can usually be linked to policies, and can hence be informative from a policy perspective. Against this background, the paper introduces a new data set of growth correlates spanning more than 150 countries from 1970 to 2019. Additionally, it presents several econometric reference models and details their application for country-level growth analysis. Two distinct metrics highlight infrastructure and human capital as exhibiting the strongest correlations with growth.
  • Publication
    Do Patients Value High-Quality Medical Care ? Experimental Evidence from Malaria Diagnosis and Treatment
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-05) Lopez, Carolina; Sautmann, Anja; Schaner, Simone
    Can information about the value of diagnostic tests improve provider practice and help patients recognize higher quality of care In a randomized experiment at public clinics in Mali, health providers and patients received tailored information about the importance of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria. The provider training increased provider reliance on RDTs, improving the match between a patient’s malaria status and treatment with antimalarials by 15–30 percent. Nonetheless, patients were significantly less satisfied with the care they received, driven by those whose prior beliefs did not match their true malaria status. The patient information intervention did not affect treatment outcomes or patient satisfaction and reduced malaria testing. These findings are consistent with highly persistent patient beliefs that translate into low demand for diagnostic testing and limit patients’ ability to recognize improved quality of care.
  • Publication
    Understanding the Links between Diet Quality, Malnutrition, and Economic Costs
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-05) Siekmans, Kendra; Fracassi, Patrizia; Kato, Tomoko; Seow, Ti Kian; Carter, Diana; Horton, Susan; Dizon, Felipe; Shibata Okamura, Kyoko
    Understanding the economic costs attributable to unhealthy diets is crucial to inform health and agrifood investments in low- and middle-income countries experiencing nutrition transition. To review the current evidence on the association between diet quality and economic costs in low- and middle-income countries, this paper first conducted a literature search to identify studies that include a dietary exposure, nutrition, or health outcome, and a cost estimate. Given the limited studies in terms of life stage groups represented, a second search was conducted for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies, with effect size estimates for the risk of nutrition or health outcomes associated with diet quality. Of 21 studies (search 1), most were based on the Global Burden of Disease model and estimated the fraction of diet-related noncommunicable disease outcomes attributable to individual or groups of dietary risk factors. The search found 82 systematic reviews and meta-analyses (search 2) that estimated the burden of malnutrition associated with dietary risk factors. Low dietary diversity was associated with increased risk of undernutrition and anemia in pregnant women and children. Dairy consumption was protective for low birthweight, child obesity, and diabetes and hypertension. Low animal source food intake increased the risk of anemia and zinc deficiency during pregnancy. Unhealthy food consumption, including ultra-processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, increased the risk of overweight/obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Healthy dietary patterns were protective during pregnancy for maternal and birth outcomes, and for diabetes and hypertension in adults. The results highlight gaps in quantifying the contribution of diet quality to multiple forms of malnutrition and noncommunicable diseases.
Journal Volume
Journal Issue
Associated URLs
Associated content