Over the past 2 decades the importance given to preschool education as laying the foundation for lifelong learning and development has been increasingly recognised. India’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2012–17) has conceptualised the pre-primary and early primary sub-stages from 4 to 8 years old as an ‘integrated early learning unit’, to ensure a sound foundation for every child. With the expansion of private preschools, particularly in urban areas, even the poorest families are opting for low-fee private schools rather than free government services offered through the anganwadis (preschool centres). While evidence from developed countries exists that preschooling can have long-term beneficial effects on children, longitudinal evidence in India regarding the association of preschool education with later developmental outcomes is scarce.
This working paper draws upon Young Lives panel data to explore whether children who attended private preschools demonstrate higher cognitive skills and enhanced subjective well-being at the age of 12, compared to those who attended government preschools.
Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty, following the lives of 12,000 children in 4 countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam) over 15 years. Young Lives is funded by the UK Department for International Development.
Singh, Renu and Protap Mukherjee (2017) Comparison of the Effects of Government and Private Preschool Education on the Developmental Outcomes of Children: Evidence From Young Lives India. Young Lives Working Paper 167. Oxford: Young Lives
Comparison of the Effects of Government and Private Preschool Education on the Developmental Outcomes of Children: Evidence From Young Lives India