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Is there a quantity-quality tradeoff as enrollments increase? Evidence from Tamil Nadu, India

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Author Info

  • Duraisamy, P.
  • James, Estelle
  • Lane, Julia
  • Jee-Peng Tan

Abstract

Developing countries have been quite successful at expanding school enrollment, especially at lower levels. But for any given level of educational efficiency, increased enrollments require inreased resources, in order to maintain quality. If those resources are not forthcoming, the increase in educational quantity may come at the expense of educational quality. When public budgets are constrained, is there a tradeoff between quantity and quality of education? If so, what public policies can diminish the decline in quality? The authors find a negative effect of expanded enrollments on school conditions and learning, using a cross-district time series analysis of Tamil Nadu, India. A wide array of initiatives undertaken by the government of Tamil Nadu has made schools accessible and attractive to families. But the resources have not kept up with enrollments and those resources that exist have not always been efficiently utilized. Most notably, the student-teacher ratio has risen dramatically over the past decade. In addition, while many new schools have been started, many of them do not have buildings, or have only meager buildings. The quality of education, as measured by the pass rate on the statewide tenth grade examination, has suffered as a result. The study shows that the rise in the student-teacher ratio and the consequent diminution of the growth rate in examination passes has been greatest in districts with the fastest enrollment growth -evidence of a quantity-quality tradeoff. Districts with a high proportion of privately-managed schools perform better. Policy changes such as greater use of private management and finance and greater local discretion in publicly-managed schools might improve the situation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1768.

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Date of creation: 31 May 1997
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1768

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Keywords: Primary Education; Teaching and Learning; Public Health Promotion; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Gender and Education; Education Reform and Management; Teaching and Learning; Primary Education; Gender and Education; Health Monitoring&Evaluation;

References

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  1. Hanushek, Eric A, 1986. "The Economics of Schooling: Production and Efficiency in Public Schools," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(3), pages 1141-77, September.
  2. Kingdon, Geeta, 1996. "The Quality and Efficiency of Private and Public Education: A Case-Study of Urban India," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(1), pages 57-82, February.
  3. Kremer, Michael R, 1995. "Research on Schooling: What We Know and What We Don't: A Comment," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 247-54, August.
  4. Eric A. Hanushek, . "Interpreting Recent Research on Schooling in Developing Countries," Wallis Working Papers WP3, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
  5. Duraisamy, P. & Malathy, R., 1990. "Impact Of Public Programs On Fertility And Gender Specific Investment In Human Capital Of Children In Rural India: Cross Sectional And Time Series Analysis," Papers 596, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  6. James, Estelle & King, Elizabeth M. & Suryadi, Ace, 1996. "Finance, management, and costs of public and private schools in Indonesia," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 387-398, October.
  7. Jimenez, Emmanuel & Paqueo, Vicente, 1996. "Do local contributions affect the efficiency of public primary schools?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 377-386, October.
  8. Estelle James, 1993. "Why Do Different Countries Choose a Different Public-Private Mix of Educational Services?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(3), pages 571-592.
  9. Zeba A. Sathar & Cynthia B. Lloyd, 1994. "Who Gets Primary Schooling in Pakistan: Inequalities among and within Families," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 33(2), pages 103-134.
  10. Hanushek, E.A. & Lavy, V., 1995. "School Quality, Acheivement Bias, and Dropout Behavoiir in Egypt," Papers 107, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
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