ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Gitanjali SenSubscribe to Gitanjali Sen

Access to Higher Education in India

This paper explores the role of socio-religious affiliations in determining participation in higher education in India, and whether the importance of these affiliations changes over time. Using National Sample Survey data it follows the change in the hierarchy of participation within a binary probit framework over the years. Since being eligible for higher education is found to be the key factor in participation, it also explores the role of supply-side constraints by controlling for the distance to a secondary school. Econometric estimations for rural and urban areas indicate a vast rural-urban divide in the role of socio-religious affiliations. Eligibility seems to be the key factor in participation, and a better understanding of the constraints on school education is critical if participation in higher education is to be increased.

Who Participates in Higher Education in India? Rethinking the Role of Affirmative Action

This paper explores how an individual's participation in higher education is dependent on her religious affiliations, socio-economic status and demographic characteristics. It argues that an appropriate measure of "deficits" in participation should inform the nature and scope of affirmative action. The study emphasises the relevance, both for analytical examination and in policy formulation, of distinguishing between stock and flow measures of participation and of recognising the differences (or imbalances) in the eligibility for higher education across groups. On isolating the effect of socio-religious affiliation from other factors that may influence participation in higher education, what emerges is a suggestion that the deficits faced by some marginalised groups are not substantial. If reservation policy for these groups is to be justified only on the basis of low participation, it may require a review.
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