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

Articles By Kiran Bhatty

The Numbers Game

India has built a regular school-based decentralised data collection system investing much time and resources. However, all the data has not helped in determining how far the country has progressed on the goal of “Education for All” given the varied and often contradictory evidence. The quality of the data collected is highly suspect, as different sources provide vastly different estimates and the processes of verification and validation, are not in use. It would appear then that despite the fact that the coverage and scope of data collection has increased enormously with many more indicators added, and technology has enabled better management of data, some nagging questions remain about the quality, utility and purpose of the data, with obvious implications for planning and policymaking.

Out-of-School Children

The figures for out-of-school children put out by various official sources in India show wide variations. The problems lie not just in the definitions but also in methods of estimation. A glaring lacuna in this process is that sporadic or irregular attendance is not taken into account when estimating the number. This paper unpacks the phenomenon through an intensive micro-study of enrolment and attendance of all children in a single panchayat in India. It shows that irregular attendance accounts for a much larger proportion of out-of-school children, with wide variation in attendance across social groups. It also conducts a regression analysis to analyse school and household-level factors that affect student attendance. It finds that school-level factors play a much larger role in determining student attendance.

The Public Education System and What the Costs Imply

There are basic methodological and conceptual problems with recent research that ends up arguing that private school education is more effective than public education. Such findings have obvious policy implications but it is critical that research that informs policy is based on a correct reading of facts, keeping the larger vision of education in mind.