40 percent higher chances of children of graduate parents pursuing higher studies
04 January 2012
The chances of children having a parent with a graduate degree and above pursuing higher education is 40% higher than the one who has an illiterate parent, according to a research paper by Dr. Rakesh Basant, faculty member of IIM, Ahmedabad and Dr. Gitanjali Sen, Fellow at Observer Research Foundation
The working paper of IIM-A, result of the research undertaken as part of the long term programme on higher education at Observer Research Foundation, also found that the chances of women participating in higher education are higher than that of men in India.
"Female children of Indian households seem to have better chance of getting higher education than male.The female children, are likely to have reasons for not being married off at that typical Indian ’marriageable’ age. Their participation in higher education which provides them with better career options might have driven them to stay-off from the marriage market," says the paper ’Parental Education as a Criterion for Affirmative Action in Higher Education: A Preliminary Analysis’.
When India is implementing reservation in higher education and government jobs, the paper feels that greater focus on educating parents will result in parents investing more in their children’s human capital.
The paper also cites the example of 2009-10, when less than 2% children of parents who are non-literate were enrolled in higher education while this percentage was about 15% for parents with a graduate degree.
"The marginal effects of parents’ education are highly positive and significant as parents with better quality education may affect their children’s choices more effectively. More interestingly, the impact of parental education increases dramatically as parental education category changes from illiteracy to secondary, higher secondary to graduate education, with graduate education having the largest impact," the paper says.
According to the paper, available evidence suggests that the policies of reservation have not been an unqualified success. Besides, policies that were perceived as temporary have not only persisted but grown. "One can, of course, argue that the conditions would have been worse without reservation, but in the absence of a clear counter factual, it is difficult to ascertain the validity of this argument."
"Do we need to rethink the scope and nature of scope and nature of affirmative action policies?
"At the core of the affirmative action policies was the attempt to ameliorate the social conditions of the marginalized groups who have lived with social stigmas for centuries. Higher participation in the three domains - employment/economic, education and politics - can potentially ameliorate social inequalities over time.
"Apart from uneven participation of marginalized groups in the three domains, recent studies have highlighted three developments that suggest a rethink on affirmative action (read reservation) policies in India:
• The social hierarchy and conditions which formed the basis of affirmative action are undergoing a change in India;
• Several issues have come up in the implementation of the reservation policies; and
• Recent empirical studies have identified more robust measures of participation in higher education by different social groups and have provided some new insights on the determinants of differentials in such participation.
Given this broad context, the paper explores if criteria other than caste and community can be used to form the basis for affirmative action. More specifically, we explore if parental education is an appropriate criterion for this purpose.
Parental Education as a Criterion for Affirmative Action in Higher Education