There is a general presumption among many policy makers that secondary and higher education is not necessary for economic growth and development. On the other hand, it is literacy and primary education that is argued to be important. Estimates on internal rate of return also contributed to strengthening of such a presumption. Accordingly, secondary and higher education do not figure on the poverty reduction agenda of many poor countries and of the international and organisations. Indian experience also testifies to all this. Secondary and more strikingly higher education has been subject to neglect by the government. Using most recent statistics, it is attempted here to show that the general presumption on the weak or negligible role of secondary and higher education in development is not valid and that post elementary education is important for reduction in poverty, in improving infant mortality and life expectancy, and for economic growth.
8th UKFIET Oxford Conference on Education and Development, Oxford, UK, 13-15 September 2005, 17 pp.