Private school graduates enjoy higher salaries

Education system in country widens gulf between rich, poor

Riazul Haq October 03, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Privately educated graduates earn far more than their state school counterparts, a new study shows.

The study, by Alif Ailaan, assessed jobs in the top national statistics socioeconomic classification, including banking, services, textile, telecom, pharmaceuticals, etc., from 828 respondents, with 702 males and 126 females. It covers Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

It found that, on average, those who attended private schools earned almost Rs40,000 more. The report put the earnings gap down to the factor such as the type of schooling -- Cambridge/O-A levels or matriculation systems.

The research also found the salaries of privately-educated employees increased more quickly. The survey covered 105 private sector organisations and attempted to explore the link between schooling and job prospects by examining educational backgrounds and how it translates into prosperous or average position in the market.

Starting salaries of 828 employees in mid and senior management-level jobs from 105 private and public sector organisations in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore were compared with the type of schools these employees have attended.

The results have somehow reiterated the prevailing thinking: the more elitist the school you attend, the higher your salary will be after you graduate.

The study underlines that the type of school attended significantly impacts starting salaries of employees. The survey examines five main types of formal schools operating in the country: government low tier, government top tier, private low tier, private mid-tier and private top tier.

O/A levels

A crucial factor that affects the starting salary is whether the employee had appeared in O/A levels or passed out from matric/intermediate board. Average salaries were more generous for those who had attended O/A level schooling system than matric/intermediate passouts.

According to the survey, on average, an employee who has a secondary level education has a salary of Rs28,829 while the one from O levels earns Rs68,718. Moreover, an employee with a higher secondary education certificate from an intermediate board is earning Rs29,221 compared to Rs63,037 of A level qualified -- a difference of Rs33,816.

Similarly, the data on the mobility of respondents between primary and secondary levels shows that a vast majority of those enrolled in government low tier schools were not able to climb up their low tier experience.

Privileged peers are at a huge economic advantage compared to low-tier state-school graduates and/or low-tier private schools.

The average starting salary of employees who attended private top tier (or elite) schools is more than double compared to employees who attended government low tier schools. This disparity in starting salary has increased from the 2000s to the 2010s.


The report suggested some solutions to this startling disparity that include urging the government to collect and report data on private schools and their learning outcomes, and figuring out the root causes of poor delivery in public schools.

“The government has to re-evaluate its approach towards quality education in terms of priority and direction as filling up schools with children is not enough,” the report suggests.

It also states that the first priority of government resources should be existing low-tier government schools with policy focus on improving assessment systems.

Not surprisingly, students enrolled in private top-tier schools enjoy better support at home. This also translates into better jobs and starting salaries once these individuals enter the job market. The survey confirms the importance of the home and the school effects on economic mobility.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2016.


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