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Fewer Pakistanis Than Indians Drop Out of Schools and Colleges

Pakistanis spend more time in schools and colleges and graduate at a higher rate than their Indian counterparts in 15+ age group, according to a report on educational achievement by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee.

In a recent Op Ed titled "Preparing the Population for a Modern Economy" published by Pakistan's Express Tribune, Pakistani economist Shahid Burki wrote as follows:

"Pakistan does well in one critical area — the drop-out rate in tertiary education. Those who complete tertiary education in Pakistan account for a larger proportion of persons who enter school at this level. The proportion is much higher for girls, another surprising finding for Pakistan."

Source: Global Education Digest

Upon closer examination of Barro-Lee data on "Educational Attainment for Total Population, 1950-2010", it is clear that Pakistani students stay in schools and colleges longer to graduate at higher rates than Indian students at all levels--primary, secondary and tertiary. While India's completion rate at all levels is a dismal 22.9%, the comparable completion rate in Pakistan is 45.7%.

Here is a summary of Barro-Lee's 2010 data in percentage of 15+ age group students who have enrolled in and-or completed primary, secondary and tertiary education:

Education Level.......India........Pakistan

Primary (Total)........20.9..........21.8

Primary (Completed)....18.9..........19.3





It shows the following:

1. India's overall schooling rate of 67.4% exceeds Pakistan's 61.9% in 15 and over age group.

2. Pakistan's primary schooling rate of 21.8% is slightly higher than India's 20.9% of 15+ age group

3. India has a big edge with its secondary enrollment of 40.7% over Pakistan's 34.6%, but India's completion rate at this level is a dismal 0.9% versus Pakistan's 22.5% of the population of 15+ age group.

4. India's tertiary education enrollment rate of 5.8% is higher than Pakistan's 5.5%, but Pakistan's college and university graduation rate of 3.9% is higher than India's 3.1% of 15+ age group.

5. Pakistan's combined graduation rate at all three levels is 45.7% versus India's 22.9% among the population age group of 15 years or older.

Barro-Lee data also shows that the percentage of 15+ age group with no schooling has gone down in both nations in the last decade, particularly in Pakistan where it dropped dramatically by a whopping 22% from 60.2% in 2000 to 38% in 2010. In India, this percentage with no schooling dropped from 43% to 32.7% of 15+ age group.

The Aug 23 & 30, 2010 issue of Newsweek had a cover story titled "The Best Country in he World is...". It ranked top 100 nations of he world based on education, health, quality of life, economy and politics. On education, Newsweek ranked Pakistan 86 and India 88 among 100 nations it included.

Clearly, both India and Pakistan have made significant progress on the education front in the last few decades. However, the Barro-Lee dataset confirms that the two South Asian nations still have a long way to go to catch up with the nations of East Asia and the industrialized world.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings
India and Pakistan Contrasted in 2010

Educational Attainment Dataset By Robert Barro and Jong-Wha Lee

Quality of Higher Education in India and Pakistan

Developing Pakistan's Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Wealth of Nations

Pakistan's Story After 64 Years of Independence
Pakistan Ahead of India on Key Human Development Indices

Views: 210

Tags: College, Education, Enrollment, Graduation, India, Pakistan, School

Comment by Riaz Haq on August 24, 2011 at 6:56pm
Labor force data from the World Bank for 2007 indicates that 23% of Pakistan's labor force has had tertiary (college) education.

This compares with 61% in the United States, 32% in the UK, 20% in Malaysia, 33% in Singapore and 17% in Sri Lanka.

It has no data for India or China.
Comment by Riaz Haq on September 6, 2011 at 6:10pm
India has 602 university level institutions and Pakistan has 127.

I suggest that readers also read an Indian blogger's post "Why one million Indians Escape from India every year" to get a full dose of reality about "Shining India":

Here are a few excerpts:

Any crackdown on illegal immigrants abroad or restricting quotas to Indians are a major concern to India’s politicians. The latest statistics from US Department of Homeland Security shows that the numbers of Indian illegal migrants jumped 125% since 2000! Ever wondered why Indians migrate to another countries but no one comes to India for a living?
Quit India!

Sixty years ago Indians asked the British to quit India. Now they are doing it themselves. To live with dignity and enjoy relative freedom, one has to quit India! With this massive exodus, what will be left behind will be a violently charged and polarized society.
15 per cent Hindu upper castes inherited majority of India’s civil service, economy and active politics from British colonial masters. And thus the caste system virtually leaves lower caste Hindus in to an oppressed majority in India’s power structure. Going by figures quoted by the Backward Classes Commission, Brahmins alone account for 37.17 per cent of the bureaucracy. [Who is Really Ruling India?]

The 2004 World Development Report mentions that more than 25% of India’s primary school teachers and 43% of primary health care workers are absent on any given day!
About 40 million primary school-age children in India are not in school. More than 92 % children cannot progress beyond secondary school. According to reports, 35 per cent schools don’t have infrastructure such as blackboards and furniture. And close to 90 per cent have no functional toilets. Half of India’s schools still have leaking roofs or no water supply.

Japan has 4,000 universities for its 127 million people and the US has 3,650 universities for its 301 million, India has only 348 universities for its 1.2 billion people. In the prestigious Academic Ranking of World Universities by Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong, only two Indian Universities are included. Even those two IITs in India found only a lower slot (203-304) in 2007 report. Although Indian universities churn out three million graduates a year, only 15% of them are suitable employees for blue-chip companies. Only 1 million among them are IT professionals.
Comment by Riaz Haq on October 19, 2011 at 9:50pm
Here's a brief summary of Pakistan foreign education market put together by the British Council:

Pakistan is one of the six countries which accounts for 54 percent of the UK’s (non-EU) international students. After September 2001, it has become the market leader, a place traditionally taken by the US, but the US is picking up after a long time, owing to simplified visa procedures and increased marketing efforts, not to forget the excellent scholarship opportunities that thy have to offer Pakistani students.

There were 5222 students from Pakistan studying in the United States in 2009/2010 (Source:IIE Opendoors). Pakistan now has the largest Fulbright Scholarship Programme in the world. There is an upward trend of Pakistani students studying in Australia. 2557 students studied in Australia in 2009/2010 compared to 2190 in 2008/2009 (Source: AEI). Other European countries have also become quite active in marketing their education in Pakistan. Countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are more visible and perceived as offering quality education at lower prices. UK has remained the highest in this with 10,420 students studying in the UK in 2009/2010 (HESA, 2011).

Market opportunities
Pakistan is predominantly a postgraduate market, of the students currently studying in the UK, approximately 71 per cent are postgraduate and 29 per cent undergraduate. While the further education market is still relatively small, there is potential for growth, as there is a greater need for skills in a more service sector-led economy.

One-year Master's programmes are popular, due to their shorter duration compared to competitors. A further major aspect of the postgraduate market is the relatively wide availability of scholarships by UK institutions and Government funding agencies. In addition to the Pakistan Government‘s new overseas scholarship schemes, this target group also has access to scholarships offered by international organisation such as IMF, Commonwealth and World Bank. Popular subject areas are for 2009- 2010 are Business Studies, Engineering, Computer Sciences, Social Sciences followed by law.

Based on HESA statistics, the total number of Pakistani students enrolled in the UK was 10,420 in 2009 / 2010, a 2 percent growth on 2008/2009.

There is also significant growth in GCE O- and A-levels conducted in Pakistan, which naturally leads to demand for UK undergraduate study. More than 46,000 students took these examinations in 2010 / 2011. Popular subjects include business, law, accountancy, IT, management and engineering.

Foundation programmes have a market in Pakistan as a pathway from 12-year study into UK higher education.

Vocational programmes are a new market in Pakistan, with increasing student awareness of the opportunities. National Vocational and Technical Education Commission (NAVTEC) is a regulatory body for promoting linkages among various stakeholders to address challenges aced by Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET)....
Comment by Riaz Haq on May 29, 2012 at 7:27am

Here's how an Indian blogger Siddarth Vij at The Broad Mind interprets Barro-Lee data:

Focusing our attention on 2010, one can see that there are seven key numbers:

No schooling – 32.7%
Primary Total – 20.9%
Primary Completed – 18.9%
Secondary Total – 40.7%
Secondary Completed – 1.3%
Tertiary Total – 5.8%
Tertiary Completed – 3.1%

If you add up serial numbers 1, 2, 4 and 6, you reach 100%. This is the entire universe – each and every Indian above the age of 15 is assigned to one and only one of these buckets. 33 out of every 100 Indians above the age of 15 in 2010 have had no formal schooling. 21 have been only to primary school, 41 reached as far as secondary school while the rest made it all the way to college. When Mr. Haq says that India has a ‘secondary enrollment of 40.7%’, he is wrong. It is critical to note that BL says nothing about enrollment. Enrollment ratio is a flow measure. BL measures a country’s existing stock of human capital through levels of educational attainment. All that BL tells us is that for 40.7% of Indians above the age of 15, the highest level of educational attainment is secondary schooling. If to this 40.7% you add the 5.8% who have some tertiary education, you come up with a figure of 46.5% Indians above the age of 15 having had some secondary schooling during their life time.

The next point of contention is the interpretation of the three other numbers- the completion rates. Mr. Haq adds up serial numbers 3, 5 and 7 to report that India has a ‘dismal’ completion rate of 23%. Again, this is meaningless. The 23% only means that out of 100 Indians, 23 completed a certain level of education and then did not go to the next level. It does not take into account people who completed their primary (secondary) education and moved on to secondary (tertiary).

For secondary education, Mr. Haq uses the 0.9% (1.3% in the updated version) figure as is to claim that only 1% of India’s secondary school students complete the level. Nitin interpreted it as 1% of 40% meaning that 4 out of every 1000 kids complete secondary school. Both these interpretations are flawed. We’ve already calculated that 46.5 out of every 100 Indians above the age of 15 reached secondary school. Out of these 46.5, 7.1 (1.3+5.8) completed their secondary schooling i.e. about 15% of those who attended some secondary school managed to matriculate. It’s higher than the earlier numbers but it is still shockingly low.

The following summarizes what the BL data for India in 2010 actually says:

327 out of every 1000 Indians above the age of 15 have never had any formal schooling
Of the remaining 673, only 20 dropped out during primary school. Once we got kids into primary school, we managed to make sure that they completed it.
In secondary school, however, the situation is markedly different. 465 out of every 1000 Indians made it to secondary school but 394 dropped out without completing.
Only 58 made it to college out of which a little more than half graduated with a degree.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 29, 2012 at 8:19am

Using Siddharth Vij's interpretation, here's how BL data looks for Pakistan:

1. No Schooling 38% vs 32.7% India

2. Prim Total 21.8% vs 20.9% India

3. Prim Complete 19.3% vs 18.9% Ind

4. Sec Total 34.6% vs 40.7% India

5. Sec Complete 22.5% vs 1.3% India

6. Ter Total 5.5% vs 5.8% India

7. Ter Complete 3.9% vs 3.1% India

If you add up serial numbers 1, 2, 4 and 6, you reach 100%. This is the entire universe – each and every Pakistani above the age of 15 is assigned to one and only one of these buckets. 38 out of every 100 Pakistanis (vs 32% of Indians) above the age of 15 in 2010 have had no formal schooling. 22 have been only to primary school, 35 reached as far as secondary school while the rest made it all the way to college...... All that BL tells us is that for 34.6% of Pakistanis (vs 40.7% of Indians) above the age of 15, the highest level of educational attainment is secondary schooling. If to this 34.6% you add the 5.5% who have some tertiary education, you come up with a figure of 40.1% Pakistanis (vs 46.5% of Indians) above the age of 15 having had some secondary schooling during their life time.

Another important point to note in Barro-Lee data is that Pakistan has been enrolling students in schools at a faster rate since 1990 than India. In 1990, there were 66.2% of Pakistanis vs 51.6% of Indians who had no schooling. In 2000, there were 60.2% Pakistanis vs 43% Indians with no schooling. In 2010, Pakistan reduced it to 38% vs India's 32.7%.

Comment by Riaz Haq on July 20, 2012 at 4:47pm

Here's Daily Times on increased British aid for education in Pakistan:

Under the new UK Operational Plan for Pakistan (2011-2015), almost 1.4 billion pounds have been allocated for Pakistan, primarily in the education sector.
According to sources, the plan will make Pakistan the largest recipient of the UK development assistance in the world. UK believes that Pakistan’s education system is in crisis, and the country has a booming youth population. By 2032, the number of young people in Pakistan will be larger than the entire UK population. That’s why education is one of the UK’s priorities in Pakistan from 2011 to 2015, besides peace and stability in conflict-hit areas of in the country. Between 2011 and 2015, the UK will support four million children in school and construct more than 20,000 classrooms.
The UK is Pakistan’s second largest trading partner in Europe after Germany and an important source of foreign investment and remittances. Bilateral trade with the country was 1.77 billion pounds last year. Importantly, the two sides have agreed to a Trade and Investment Roadmap to not only increase the bilateral trade to 2.5 billion pounds by 2015 but also enhance investment opportunities. There are over 100 British companies in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s relations with the UK have become stronger and more meaningful since signing of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue (ESD) on April 5 last year. The UK has also been very supportive of Pakistan’s desire for inclusion in GSP+ in 2014.\07\21\story_21-7-2012_pg7_28

Comment by Riaz Haq on February 28, 2013 at 11:36pm

Here's an excerpt of a Dawn report on Pakistan's university education:

According to the OECD’s 2009 Global Education Digest, 6.3 per cent of Pakistanis were university graduates as of 2007. The government plans to increase this rate to 10 per cent by 2015 and 15 per cent by 2020. But the key challenges are readiness for growth of the educational infrastructure and support from public and private sector.
According to 2008 statistics, Pakistan produces about 445,000 university graduates and 10,000 computer science graduates per year. Pakistan Telecom Authority indicates that as of 2008 there are nearly 22 million internet users and over 80 million mobile phone subscribers. A combination of all these educational and technological factors gives Pakistan great leverage to progress towards targeted curriculum development and dissemination through e-learning..

Here's an excerpt of OECD Global Education Digest 2009:

In 2007, 9% of all mobile students originated from South and West Asia. Overall, 1.5% of the region’s tertiary students go abroad, which is lower than the
global average. India, for example, accounts for 5.5% of
the global total of mobile students. Yet, its outbound
mobility ratio is very low with only 1 out of 100 tertiary
students from the country studying abroad. Outbound mobility ratios are generally low across the
region with the notable exceptions of Nepal (5%) and Pakistan (3%). In 2007, the outbound mobility ratio increased by 0.5 percentage points.


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