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Education, Child Labor and Human Capital Formation in Selected Urban and Rural Settings of Pakistan

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Abdul Salam Lodhi

Education is essential for human resource development and sustainable socio-economic development of a society, as it can facilitate economic growth through the broader application of knowledge, skills, and the creative strength of a society. The other positive and long-term outcomes of education include the reduction of poverty and inequality, improvement of health status and good governance in the implementation of socio-economic policies. Keeping in view the role that education through human capital formation can play in the development of Pakistan where the population of the children below 14 years old is about 35 percent of the total population; this study aims at delineating the factors that are obstructing the educational activities of the children below the age of 14 years. Furthermore, the main research interest in this study was to see how pecuniary and non-pecuniary factors are impeding the process of human capital formation. The results indicate that variables such as parental education and perceptions of secular and non-secular education, role of mother in domestic authority, believe in tribal norms, religiosity of the head-of-household, child age and gender, and proximity to school are playing a significant role in the choice of childhood activities.

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5 Summary and Conclusions

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This study focuses on three questions: first, what are the determinants of a child’s education and other alternative activities? Second, what factors affect the head-of-household’s perception of secular school education? Finally, how do the combined activities of working and attending secular education affect the child’s achievements at school? Based on these questions the study has three empirical chapters, preceded by an introduction and finalized with some concluding remarks, in a search for sustainable solutions for the problems and issues related to human capital formation in the context of lesser-developed countries, particularly Pakistan. The study uses data collected from a field survey covering (portions of) all four provinces of Pakistan, including 43 villages, 963 households and information on the activities of 2,496 children. The survey was conducted during the period of August to December 2009, using a disproportional stratified random sampling technique. Based on their current prevalence, this study considers five childhood activities, namely: secular schooling, religious schooling, child labor, a combination of child labor and secular schooling, and inactivity (including leisure). The opening chapter analyzes the effect of various individual, household and community-level characteristics on the probability of children engaging in different childhood activities. The results indicate that increased per-capita income and years of formal education of the head-of-household and his/her spouse are factors associated with a decrease in the probability that their child will engage in activities other than secular education. The results further support the assumption that “inactivity” of a child is most responsive to a change...

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