The importance of education for economic development has long been recognized. The consequences that the developing world is facing because of illiteracy and poor performance of educational systems are obvious. Many of the less developed countries that are spending little on education consequently have poor quality of education, often combined with high rates of implicit exclusion of girls from educational opportunities. Pakistan is particularly suffering from a poor educational system, where children below 14 years of age make up about 35 percent of the total population. Their proper education is critical for the future development opportunities of the country. This study by Abdul Salam Lodhi identifies the factors that impede children’s educational activities and hinder human capital formation in urban and rural areas of Pakistan. It uses a unique data set collected from all four provinces of the country. The impact of household, child, and community characteristics on the actual selection of a child’s activities – i.e. secular school attendance, religious education, and child labor - were analyzed for children of 5 to 14 years aged. The study finds that instead of capabilities and willingness of students, social norms, parental attitude, economic status, gender and proximity to school are the main determinants for children to enter in the educational institutions. Along with economic factors, other socio-economic factors also play an important role for children to go to school, or to religious education or to enter the child labor market. Parents’ perception of secular versus religious education is found to play a...
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