In the Margins: Social Inequality in Children’s Educational Outcomes in India

Sonalde B. Desai, University of Maryland
Cecily Darden, University of Maryland
Amaresh Dubey, North-Eastern Hill University

Indian society has long been stratified along the axes of caste, ethnicity and religion. Not surprisingly, this inequality is reflected in educational attainment. However, the precise mechanisms by which this inequality manifests itself remains open to debate with a variety of hypotheses being advanced such as poverty, child labor, lack of access to schools, teacher discrimination and lack of parental interest in education. Unfortunately, there is little empirical research examining these hypotheses. This paper utilizes a newly collected nationwide survey data for 40,000 households to examine social inequality in children’s educational outcomes for 8-11 year old children with a specific focus on reading skills, arithmetic skills and writing skills.

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Presented in Session 33: Child Well-Being in Developing Countries