Data | Gender disparity in early education

According to the Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2019, parents of girls from poorer households preferred to invest more in their sons by enrolling them in private schools, which the survey said trained students better in various tasks than those enrolled in government schools and anganwadis

Updated - January 22, 2020 06:06 pm IST

Published - January 22, 2020 05:27 pm IST

Picture used for representational purpose.

Picture used for representational purpose.

Students in private schools performed better in various tasks than those enrolled in government schools and anganwadis, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (Rural) 2019, which surveyed children aged between 4 and 8. This disparity affected girls from poorer households the most as parents who faced fund shortage preferred to invest in their sons by enrolling them in private schools.

The survey covered 36,930 children across 26 districts in 24 States between September & November 2019.

Government vs. private schools

Five-year-old students in private schools exhibited better cognitive, numerical & language capabilities than those in government schools and anganwadis. Figures show % students who completed a task.

Cognitive, numerical and language capabilities

image/svg+xmlTasksGovt.pre-schoolPvt.LKG/UKGCognitive tasksSorting77.587.2Pattern recognition43.449.9Language tasksPicture description63.776.6Listening comprehension23.540.4Numerical tasksCounting objects36.857.6Relative comparison53.871.2

Gender bias

Boys were more likely to get enrolled in private schools than girls . In the 6-8 age group, 47.9% of boys were in pvt. schools compared to 39% of girls. Shortage of funds led to parents sending sons to private schools over daughters.

Enrollment by gender

image/svg+xml705040200Govt.Govt.Pvt.Pvt.Age 4-5Age 6-850.456.849.652.147.939.061.143.2BoysGirls

Poor and worse

Among girls, those from poorer households were more likely to get enrolled in govt. schools. The graph shows that the more educated the mothers (generally from richer households, according to National Family Health Survey 4), the more they preferred private schools, perceived to be of ‘better quality’.

Impact of mother's education level

image/svg+xml% children enrolled in Govt. schoolsPrivate schoolsNot enrolled< Standard IStd. I-VStd. VI-VIIIStd. IX-X> Std. X255075100Mothers' education level

Girls at a disadvantage

Thus, more girl children from poorer households end up in government schools where students perform poorer than those in private schools. This reflected in their capabilities. Table shows % of students who “did not respond” to a task. While 11.9% of boys aged 4 could not recognise patterns, 16.3% girls could not do so.

Response to skill tests

image/svg+xmlTasksAged 4Aged 5BoysGirlsBoysGirlsBoysGirlsPattern recognition11.916. description14.9178. recognition22.825.512.613.96.17.9Listening comprehension38.143.823.32814.517.81-digit addition40.144.927.330.517.4201-digit subtraction42.946.330.333.520.223.1

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