Investing in the Education Market: Strengthening Private Schools for the Rural Poor

Asim Khwaja, Tahir Andrabi (Pomona) & Jishnu Das (World Bank)

Increasingly, private schools in South Asia cater to the rural poor, operating profitably and efficiently by hiring predominantly local, female teachers at low cost, which allows the savings to be passed on to parents through very low fees. Since these private schools operate as for-profit, small-to-medium-sized enterprises in a competitive environment, they are accountable to consumers for the quality of services that they provide, and in preliminary testing have been shown to outperform government schools. Our research, carried out in partnership with Tameer Bank and the Ministry of Education in Punjab, Pakistan, will design and evaluate the impact of various market-based mechanisms on improving access and quality of education for the rural poor.

Research Partner:

Center for Economic Research in Pakistan– Lahore, Pakistan


Templeton Foundation, National Science Foundation, ExxonMobil through the Women and Public Policy Program at HKS, Aman Foundation

Related Publications:

Report Cards: The Impact of Providing School and Child Test Scores on Educational Markets
Asim Khwaja (with Tahir Andrabi and Jishnu Das)
Working paper, 2013

Learning and Educational Achievements in Punjab Schools (LEAPS): Insights to Inform the Education Policy Debate
Asim Khwaja (with Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das, Tara Vishwanath, and Tristan Zajonc)
Forthcoming, Oxford University Press, 2008