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Published Date: Jul 4, 2013

SDPI Press Release (July 04, 2013)

Investing in the education of oldest sister in household increases the
learning outcomes of younger siblings in the family.

This was the
crux of a special lecture given by Dr. Javaeria Qureshi from University of Illinois,
Chicago, USA here on Thursday. The lecture organised by Sustainable Development
Policy Institute (SDPI) was based on Dr. Javaeria Qureshi paper titled “Returns
on Investing in Female Education: Impact on Younger Sibling Human Capital”.
 

Presenting her
paper, Dr. Javaeria urged on policy makers to look into the fact that
increasing oldest sister’s education will also have the unintended consequence
of increasing the education of her younger siblings. “Merely looking at impact
of girls‘ education while ignoring potential impacts on younger siblings is
systematic underestimation of total benefits of female education”, she stated.

She
explained that in developing countries, often the oldest sister share childcare
responsibilities in the household and play a more important role in child
learning, if she is relatively educated as compared to other childcare
providers, especially mothers. Elder sister influence the sibling’s learning by
improving the quality of time she spends with younger siblings.

 “In
Pakistan, when parents are not the ones helping with studies, an older sister
is fulfilling that role in 70 percent of the time, because she is likely to
spent more time at home as compared to elder brother,” Dr Qureshi added.

She was of
the view that a more educated oldest sister will also use a greater number and
variety of words in conversation, and play in more creative ways with the
younger siblings.  

Speaking at
the occasion, Dr. Vaqar Ahmed Deputy Executive Director, SDPI said that Pakistan
has one of the largest numbers of female dropouts and the situation necessitates
greater investment in girl’s education. “New government should play policy and
planning role for education as envisaged under the 18th amendment
with particular focus on improving female education,” he added.

Dr. Vaqar
also lamented the enormous leakages in education sector and called for adequate
and efficient monitoring mechanism both on financial and project implementation
side. He particularly emphasised on the need for census as well as availability
of data of past programs on female children. He also proposed civil society
organizations to use social accountability methods for ensuring that public
officials fulfill their promises towards female education in Pakistan.