Jul 27, 2011


Public Investments in Secondary Education Can Increase the Pool of Potential Teachers

  • Jul 27, 2011
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  • In many developing countries, it is believed that teacher shortages limit children’s access to education. A new working paper by Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das and Asim Ijaz Khwaja suggests that public investments in secondary schools in Pakistan can boost the supply of low-cost teachers, making it easier for the market to offer an affordable, private-school education.

    The authors find private schools are three times more likely to emerge in villages with government-sponsored secondary schools for girls.  By contrast, there is little or no relationship between the presence of private schools and the other types of schools, including girls' primary schools and boys' primary and secondary government schools. Since private schools receive no government subsidies, their locations reflect local demand and supply.

    In addition, villages with secondary schools for girls have twice as many educated women but their private-school teachers are paid less (27% lower wages), indicating a net increase in teacher supply. Therefore, in an environment with poor female education and low mobility, secondary schools for girls substantially increase the local supply of skilled women and drive down teachers' wages. As a result, private education is more affordable. These findings highlight the prominent role of female teachers in boosting access to education, which is in line with historical evidence from developed economies. The students of today are the teachers of tomorrow.

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