India has seen remarkable progress over the past 50 years in both adult literacy and school enrolment for boys and girls. However, there are concerns about drop-out rates and the quality of education, especially in public schools. Children learn both within and outside the classroom. There is a need to understand the extent to which child learning outcomes (such as basic numeracy and literacy skills) are influenced by the home environment. If parents and communities are to play a role in compensating for the low quality of public schooling, it is important to consider how policy initiatives can best take into account and support the complementary role of families and communities in the educational process. What would be the most effective and equitable approach to education policies and programmes - targeting schools, or parents (by means of income supplementation or adult literacy programmes), or both?
Andhra Pradesh (AP) state has achieved considerable economic progress but, nevertheless, lags in terms of social indicators such as schooling and literacy of females. We use data from the Young Lives study to explore patterns of learning outcomes among eight-year old children in AP (N=1008). The paper aims to explore the issues related to child learning in public and private schools and the role of household level factors such as parental education.
Key findings are that children in private schools have better literacy and numeracy skills regardless, of wealth or caste, than children in public schools. Children with uneducated parents (especially mothers) are at a disadvantage. This disadvantage is greater in public schools than in private schools. Girls have lower learning scores than boys. There is a clear interplay between school and home. The effect of caregiver's education on child learning is greater for those attending public schools than private ones. The results reinforce previous findings about the role of parental factors, and provide insights into aspects of education reform that are necessary to improve the quality of public schooling.
Galab, S., Moestue, H., Anthony, P., McCoy, A., Ravi, C., Reddy, P. P., Working Paper 27. Child Learning in Andhra Pradesh: The interplay between school and home, 2005, London, UK; Save the Children UK, 30 pp.