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Progress in Participation in Tertiary Education in India from 1983 to 2004


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  • Azam, Mehtabul Azam

    (Southern Methodist University)

  • Blom, Andreas

    (The World Bank)


Using nationally representative household surveys, this paper examines the trends in attainment, enrollment, and access to tertiary (higher) education in India from 1983 to 2005. The findings suggest that there has been considerable progress in attainment and participation; however, they remain low. Important gaps exist in enrollment between rich and poor, rural and urban areas, men and women, disadvantaged groups and the general population, and states. Analysis of transition rates from secondary education to tertiary education and regression analysis indicate that inequality in tertiary education between disadvantaged groups and the general population is explained by low completion rates of secondary education. Inequality in tertiary education related to income, gender, rural residence, and between states is explained by: (i) differences in completion rates of secondary education, and (ii) differences in the probability of transitioning from secondary education to tertiary education. In particular, the importance of household income has grown markedly. Equitable expansion of secondary education is therefore critical for improving the equity of tertiary education. There is also a need to help qualified youth from low-income families and rural backgrounds to attend tertiary education, in particular the technical and engineering streams, in which participation is lower.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4793.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4793

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Keywords: access to higher education; access to tertiary education; age cohort; age group; age groups; colleges; competition for entry; completion rate; completion rates degree courses; degrees;

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  1. Mehtabul Azam, 2008. "Changes in Wage Structure in Urban India, 1983-2004: A Quantile Regression Decomposition," Departmental Working Papers, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics 0807, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  2. Azam Mehtabul, 2010. "India's Increasing Skill Premium: Role of Demand and Supply," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-28, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Herbst, Mikolaj & Rok, Jakub, 2011. "Equity in an educational boom: Lessons from the expansion and marketization of tertiary schooling in Poland," MPRA Paper 33795, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Mikolaj Herbst & Jakub Rok, 2011. "Equity of access to higher education in the transforming economy. Evidence from Poland," Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación volume 6, Asociación de Economía de la Educación, in: Antonio Caparrós Ruiz (ed.), Investigaciones de Economía de la Educación 6, edition 1, volume 6, chapter 29, pages 475-494 Asociación de Economía de la Educación.


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