Enhancement of literacy rates through the imparting of uniform quality education might be an effective tool against poverty and extremism in most developing countries with abundant human resources. Pakistan presents a challenging case, as children below 14 years of age make up about 35 percent of the total population. Considering the likely role that human capital formation can play in the development of the country, this study aims at delineating the factors impeding human capital formation. To deal with this essential issue, this study focuses on three main research questions. First, what are the determinants of participation in childhood educational and other activities? In answering this question, the trade-offs between secular and religious educations are specifically examined. Second, what are the factors affecting the household head’s perceptions of secular and non-secular education, and how do these perceptions influence the process of human capital formation of the children? Third, how does the combined activity of working and attending secular education affect a child’s achievements in school? To answer these questions, a field survey was conducted in 43 urban and rural settings during the months of August to December 2009. Using a multistage stratified random sampling design, 963 household-heads were interviewed and data on 2,496 children was collected from the four provinces of Pakistan. The sample does not claim representativeness for the country, however when compared with the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (2008-09) and National Educational Census (2005) data, it does not deviate significantly from national rates. This...
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