Abstract. Quality education in isolated areas is a major issue in developing countries like Pakistan, as access to formal education is linked to improved life prospects for rural students. Among the factors for education, accessibility is school availability within a minimum spatial distance. The spatial distribution of schools is generally uneven in most of the cities of Northern Pakistan, thus limiting access to formal education at the primary and secondary level. This paper analyzes the spatial distribution of the primary and secondary schools found in the hilly terrain of Abbottabad city. Results show an uneven scattered pattern of schools and decreasing accessibility with longer travel times, at higher costs. Cost-weighted distance showed that this spatial distribution extends the travel distance by more than 5km for secondary school students living in the city. However, spatial restructuring and reorganization of schools in the study area would enhance student access to school facilities.


  • Formal education has been a priority in both developed and developing countries because of its contribution to social economic development

  • Geographical Information Systems (GIS) systems are well suited to measure spatial accessibility to educational facilities as they contain the core components needed for analysis such as buffering

  • Most of the middle schools are at a distance of one kilometre from each other but the distance for the northwestern areas are more than four kilometres, which reflects serious accessibility issues

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Formal education has been a priority in both developed and developing countries because of its contribution to social economic development. Primary and secondary level education in northern Pakistan faces various challenges in the 21st century (Tahir, Das, and Khwaja, 2008; Curtis and Scheurer, 2017). Geographical Information Systems (GIS) provide advanced analysis tools and complete data packages for analyzing service distribution and demographic information (van Genderen, 2017, Shoman and Demirel, 2018) These tools can help planners in deciding such things as choosing schools locations, and identifying the optimal school's new locations (Shoma, Algancı and Demirel, 2018; Mokoena & Musakwa, 2018). The accessibility of a study area calculated using buffer analysis and cost-weighted distance methods efficiently and effectively identifies service areas and served population (Tahir, Das, and Khwaja, 2008). In this study a cost-weighted distance and network analysis along with Euclidean distance method, and multiple ring buffer method are employed in a school accessibility analysis, providing extensively detailed results for empirically grounded decision making support


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