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

Primary Education as a Fundamental Right

In an attempt to attain the goal of universal primary education, many developing country governments, including India, have abolished official fees in primary education. The 86th amendment to the Indian Constitution made free and compulsory education a fundamental right for all children in the age group 6-14 years. There are other direct and indirect costs that can deter children from going to school. In this paper, using a rich nationwide data set, the authors construct the incompressible direct costs of attending primary school in India. After controlling for the opportunity cost of going to school (as proxied by the ratio of children's wages to adult's wages), it is found that the direct costs of education adversely affect the probability of children going to school, more so for children from poorer households. The results show that relative to boys, girls are more likely to be affected by the direct costs of schooling. The authors show that making primary education completely free will not increase the attendance rates to 100 per cent. They find that the government will have to incur an additional minimum expenditure of over Rs 2,900 crore every year in order to defray the basic or incompressible cost of attending school.

Subscribers please login to access full text of the article.

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

826for India

$50for overseas users

Get instant access to the complete EPW archives

Subscribe now

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top