This paper documents the regional divide in educational facilities between East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan between 1947 and 1971. During this period, the total number of primary schools in East Pakistan declined, leading to overcrowding of existing schools and classrooms. On the other hand, despite being endowed with fewer schools, West Pakistan surpassed East Pakistan in the total number of primary schools, and in teacher–student ratios. This evident educational disparity, we argue, cannot be attributed to regional differences in school age population, school types, the quality and unit cost of schooling. Rather, this problem is examined in terms of the hypothesis of ‘discrimination’ as an alternate explanation.

Keywords: Economic History; Federalism; Bangladesh;, Pakistan

JEL Classification: I20, N35, N950