Intergenerational educational mobility among young females in India
Choudhary, Akanksha (1); Singh, Ashish (2) (2016). 'Intergenerational educational mobility among young females in India' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.
Taking data from the ‘India Youth Survey: Situation and Needs’ the paper examines intergenerational educational mobility for young females (vis-à-vis their mothers) in India.The study was conducted in six strategically selected states: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu; these states together represent 39% of the country’s population. This study has also performed the analysis by various caste groups which forms the social fabric of Indian society. The reasons for choosing India for the present study is are: first, India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world but its record on development as well as demographic indicators is dismal; second, India suffers from severe gender based discrimination in education, health and labor market related outcomes; and, third the literature examining how young females (15-24 years) perform vis-à-vis their mothers in terms of educational attainment in the Indian context is almost non-existing and therefore, there is almost no evidence presently available on whether females in India are trapped in a ‘low educational trap’.
Deductions from the existing literatureare:first, the intergenerational educational mobility hasremained an under-focused research area in the Indian academia, primarily due to non-availability of appropriate data; second, studies focusing only on females while examining intergenerational mobility in education are extremely rare; and finally, a few studies which have included both females and their mothers as far as educational mobility are concerned suffer from severe selection and other biases.
This paper therefore has examined the intergenerational mobility in education in young females (with respect to their mothers) using a large scale survey which was specifically designed to capture the situations and needs of the youth in India. This study also suffers from a limitation in the sense that it only includes young females (15-24 year age group) but the scope of the study is only the young generation and therefore, not generalizing the results for the females as a whole. This study can be seen as a complementary (and an addition to some extent) to studies which have related education of females to that of their mothers.
This paper uses ‘transition’ or ‘mobility’ matrices and two mobility measures which are generally referred to as M1 and M2. This paper is first one to decompose the overall mobility based on M1into upward(M1up)and downward(M1down)mobility, which is not there in the existing literature.Mobility/transition matrices give theprobability (conditional) that a female belongs to a certain categorygiven the condition thathermother belongs to a particular category.
Data used in this paper clearly shows that the education level of mothers is quite dismal in the country. About 77% of the mothers at the all-India level do not have any formal schooling with the situation being worse in the rural areas where almost 83% of the mothers do not have any formal schooling.Also, less than 1% (0.3%) of the mothers havea schooling of 12 or more years at the all-India (rural) level. The situation is relatively better for the daughters. But even among them only 9% have schooling of 12years or more. In rural areas the proportion of daughters having completed 12 years of schooling is only 5%.
After analyzing the mobility matrices generated from the above mentioned data, its observed that there are large disparities between rural and urban areas with situation much worse in rural areas with about 45.6% of the daughters of mothers with no formal schooling end up with no formal schooling and only 2.5% of the daughters born to mothers with no formal schooling end up acquiring schooling of 12 or more years. Also, only 57% of the daughters of mothers with 12 or more years of schooling end up with receiving 12 or more years of schooling and nearly 1.73% and 5.7% of the daughters born to mothers with 12 or more years of schooling and 10-11 years of schooling end up with no formal schooling, respectively.
Taking the case of SC/STs , about 47% of the daughters born to SC/ST (the socially and historically disadvantaged and discriminated castes) mothers with no formal schooling end up with no formal schooling, the corresponding figures for OBCs (historically advantaged than SC/STs but disadvantaged than ‘Others’) and ‘Others’ are 42.5% and 24.5%, respectively. Only 3% of the daughters of the SC/ST mothers with no formal schooling end up with 12 or more years of schooling, the corresponding figures for OBCs and ‘Others’ are 3.5% and 5.8%, respectively.
Apart from the gap observed between different classes or communities in the country there is a huge inter-state variation. The percentage of mothers with no formal schooling in the states of Bihar (88.7%), Jharkhand (87.4%) and Rajasthan (88.9%) which are among the economically and demographically poorest states of India are much higher compared to that of Maharashtra (60.4%) and Tamil Nadu (58.6%) which are among the economically and demographically advanced states of India.Even the percentage of daughters with no formal schooling is very high in Bihar (62.8%), Jharkhand (50.2%) and Rajasthan (47%) compared to that of Maharashtra (11.3%) and Tamil Nadu (6.7%).
The main findings of the paper are: at the all-India level,the intergenerational educational mobility is about 69% with nearly 80% of it being upward mobility. Also, the overall intergenerational educational mobility (as well as upward mobility) is higher in urban areas compared to the rural areas. Further, the overall intergenerational educational mobility is higher in SC/STscategory than non- SC/STs category.But a major part (32.2%) of total mobility among SC/STs is downward mobility which is only 14.6% in the case of ‘Others’. In other words the upward mobility is much higher among the ‘Others’ (85.6%) compared to that of SC/STs (67.8%). The upward mobility among the OBC females (78.3%) is higher than that of the SC/ST females but lower than that of the ‘Others’ females. Moreover, there are large inter-state variations in intergenerational educational mobility in India with the overall intergenerational educational mobility as well as the upward component of it being much lower in the economically and demographically poorer states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Rajasthan.