Spatial inequalities in education status and its determinants in Pakistan: A district-level modelling in the context of sustainable development Goal-4

Muhammad Sajjad*, Hasiba Munir, Shamsa Kanwal, Syed Ali Asad Naqvi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-4 prerequisites quality education provisioning. In this context, we present important insights and references for educational interventions/investments to be tailored to local necessities in Pakistan. Several spatial statistical models such as the Global Moran's I-based spatial autocorrelation, multivariate clustering, and the Cluster and Outlier model are used to explore geographic heterogeneities and patterns. Additionally, significant determinants among several socio-economic, spatio-environmental, and infrastructural variables are identified for education status (EdS) using regression. As a result, a large geographic inequality regarding EdS is found in Pakistan. While a strong spatial association is evident, the districts in northern Punjab are identified as significant hotspots—higher EdS clusters (∼22% of total districts, 95% confidence). Majority of the 44% poorly performing districts belong to Balochistan province (95% confidence). Overall, the educational status in Punjab is higher as compared with other provinces. We find that four out of seven potential factors (i.e., poverty, urbanization, electricity accessibility, and school infrastructure) are statistically significant determinants of EdS. Among these, poverty is the most strongly associated (mean coefficient value −18.848) factor to control EdS. The results have important implications to decision-making for immediate or gradual actions in the context of spatially equitable provisioning of quality education through an informed prioritization (i.e., low performing districts). Based on the findings, while rigorous measures are needed for low performing regions and the identified determinants to improve education status, this study sheds light on the mechanisms to achieve SDG4, consequently promoting human well-being through educating communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102665
JournalApplied Geography
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Forestry
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • SDG-4
  • Quality education
  • Spatial analysis
  • GWR
  • GIS


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