Speaker: Dr. Tista Kundu, Centre de Sciences Humaines (Centre for social science & humanities), New Delhi
Date & Hour: 26 May 2020, 4:00 pm
Abstract: Equal access to education is a fundamental right of every children. We use the dissimilarity index and the Human Opportunity Index to assess how far schooling access of Indian children is discriminated by their respective caste, sex, religion, parental attributes and other family backgrounds, using two rounds of National Sample Survey data for the time period of 2004-12. Given the pivotal importance of school education, we focus on the first eight years of schooling of 6-14 year old Indian children, for whom elementary education has been made free and compulsory by the latest amendment to the Right to Education Act in 2009. An overall improvement in children’s basic educational opportunity over this time frame is evident from our analysis, which could partly be attributed to the free education mandate that was implemented during this time. Our regional analysis additionally finds that this improvement is not limited to some selected part of the country, although it is more pronounced for South and West India. But while we find fairly low inequality of opportunity for the timely beginning of elementary schooling, it always shows a steep rise in its value for the timely completion of the same. This indicates that in spite of the timely school enrollment, children from disadvantaged backgrounds are still less likely to complete their elementary schooling by the right age. The Shapley value decomposition further reveals that parental education alone, can be held responsible for more than half of the resulting unequal opportunities. This again underscores the necessity of more rigorous policies to ensure equal educational opportunity for the next generation from the beginning, in order to break this inter-generational vicious circle of low human capital formation.