Relationship between private schooling and achievement: Results from rural and urban India
This paper contributes to the important but small body of research on the role of private schools in Indian education. It uses a household dataset from India with a rich set of household covariates and student performance data on reading, writing, and mathematics. For both rural and urban India the results from regression analyses indicate that private school students perform better on tests controlling for covariates. In both contexts, however, the private school benefit becomes largely, statistically, insignificant after conducting multivariate analysis on data balanced using the propensity score matching technique. The paper also makes an initial attempt to identify ‘low-fee’ private schools; within the regression framework it finds that children in such schools may perform no better than their public school counterparts. The data and methods used in this paper are not without limitations; however these analyses call into question the claim that private school effect may be unequivocally positive and highlights the potential heterogeneity in private school performance in the Indian context.
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