India has witnessed a major expansion in participation in basic education in recent years, in the context of a major programme for its promotion: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Despite a significantly improved picture at the basic level, a considerable proportion of children continue to drop out before reaching the secondary level. Over half of children who enrol in grade one do not make it to grade eight, and of those who do complete their basic education (grades one through eight), only 88 percent go on to participate in secondary schooling. Problems surrounding retention are more acute in rural areas of India, and as the country is a predominantly rural society, this study focuses on a farming district of Uttar Pradesh. It is in this dual context of drop out and rural villages that the present study investigates the factors influencing parents’ decision whether or not to send their children to secondary schooling.
The study draws upon an expanded vision of access to education, embodied in zone 4 of CREATE’s framework for considering access and transition in education: looking at those children who complete the primary cycle but who do not make the transition to secondary education. The study focuses on four key aspects in parental school decision making: incentives leading parents to view investment in education as worthwhile; the cost of secondary education; distance to secondary schools; and the impact of health-related factors. The study is based on survey data collected by the author over the first two school years of a four-year longitudinal study: 2008-09 and 2009-10; and the data is analysed using multivariate analysis to identify factors in transition and drop out. Overall the effect of additional cost and distance to secondary schooling proves significant, with cost being the most consistent factor, while distance is found to have a more nuanced effect. The study is particularly relevant in the context of the Government of India’s latest major initiative, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan which aims to achieve universal retention of children in secondary education by 2015, and has implications for the direction that interventions under this programme should take.
G. Siddhu. Can Families in Rural India Bear the Additional Burden of Secondary Education? Investigating the Determinants of Transition. In: CREATE Pathways to Access Series, Research Monograph Number 50. (2010) 1-53. ISBN 0-901881-57-0