India has made remarkable progress over the past 50 years in improving rates of adult literacy and school enrolment for boys and girls. However, there are concerns about drop-out rates and the quality of education, especially in government schools. It is important to appreciate that children learn both within and outside the classroom. There is a need to understand the extent to which basic numeracy and literacy skills are influenced by the home environment. If parents and communities are to play a role in compensating for the low quality of public schooling, it is important to consider how policies can support them to do so.
The state of Andhra Pradesh has made considerable economic progress but lags in terms of social indicators such as schooling and literacy of females. The authors use data from the Young Lives study to explore patterns of learning outcomes among eight-year old children in Andhra Pradesh. This paper aims to explore the issues related to child learning in state and private schools and the influence of parental education levels and other household factors.
Key findings are that children in private schools have better literacy and numeracy skills, regardless of wealth or caste, than children in government schools. Children with uneducated parents (especially mothers) are at a disadvantage, particularly if they attend government schools. Girls have lower learning scores than boys. There is a clear interplay between home and school. The effect of the caregiver?s education on child learning is greater for those attending state schools. These results reinforce previous findings about the role of parental factors, and indicate the kind of reforms that are necessary to improve education quality.
Keywords: India, Andhra Pradesh, education, achievement, gender, policy influence