Theses Doctoral

How Public-Private Partnerships and Islam Are Related to Student Achievement: A Case Study of Pakistan

Mela, Maham Abbas

This dissertation tackles two research questions through two research methods - how public, private, and private and public-private partnership schools relate to student achievement (quantitative); and how Islam relates to parental educational decision making for school choice (qualitative). These questions are partly driven by the increase in public-private partnerships in Punjab, Pakistan, and by the recent worldwide focus on Islam. Quantitative findings show that when the educational outcome is educational quality measured by test scores, public-private partnership schools are related to a greater increase in student test scores than are private schools, and 5th grade test scores show greater dependence on school type than 8th grade test scores. Public-private partnerships can be positively related to test scores potentially because of their unobservable institutional characteristics. Qualitative analysis findings show that the ideal school type for a representative sample of parents incorporates both secular and religious components in order to produce a second educational outcome - student ethics and civic identity. Combining answers to both research questions shows that both top-to-bottom interaction between the government and schools, and bottom-to-top interaction between parents and schools are important for informing education policy that aims to increase educational quality while also catering towards parental preferences. However, all established private and social goals of education - including efficiency, equity, school choice, and social cohesion - as well as cost considerations need to be further researched before deciding if and how to formulate a large scale public-private partnership policy.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for Mela_columbia_0054D_10859.pdf Mela_columbia_0054D_10859.pdf application/pdf 19.1 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Comparative and International Education
Thesis Advisors
Levin, Henry M.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 17, 2012