Access to Higher Education in India: An Exploration of Its Antecedents
22 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2014
Date Written: November 5, 2014
Deficits in participation of marginalized groups in higher education in India have attracted significant policy and research attention. Inclusion of Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the ambit of affirmative action for participation in publicly funded institutes of higher education has fueled this discussion further. This paper explores the role of socio-religious affiliation as determinant of participation in higher education; and if the importance of these affiliations change over time. Using the nationally representative National Sample Survey (NSS) data for the period 1999-2010, it follows the change in hierarchy of participation within a binary probit framework over years. Since being eligible for higher education is found to be the key factor in participation, it also explores the role of supply side constraints by controlling for distance to secondary school. The latter is captured from a different round of the NSS data having further details on education and related expenditures. Econometric estimations done separately for rural and urban areas indicate vast rural-urban divide in the role of socio-religious affiliations. Eligibility seems to be the key factor in participation, and a better understanding of the constraints on school education is critical if participation in higher education is to be enhanced.
Keywords: India, Affirmative Action, Higher Education, Socio-religious groups, public policy
JEL Classification: D63, I2, J00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation