[POSTPONED – CSH Occasional Seminar Series]
Access to educational opportunity in the twenty-first century

Event Details

Tista Kundu

Centre de Sciences Humaines

Access to educational opportunity in the twenty-first century: An account of Indian children

To comply with public health instructions, this event is postponed to a further date to be announced 

Abstract: In most countries, equal access to formal school education has been declared as a fundamental right of every children. We use the dissimilarity index and the Human Opportunity Index to assess how far schooling access of Indian children is affected by their respective caste, sex, religion, parental attributes and other family backgrounds, using two rounds of National Sample Survey data for the time period of 2004-12. Given the pivotal importance of school education, we focus on the first eight years of schooling of 6-14 year old Indian children, for whom elementary education is made free and compulsory by the latest amendment to the Right to Education Act in 2009. An overall improvement in children’s basic educational opportunity over this time frame is evident from our analysis, which could partly be attributed to the free education mandate that was implemented during this time. Our regional analysis additionally finds that this improvement is not limited to some selected parts of the country, although it is more pronounced for South and West India. But while we find fairly low inequality of opportunity for the timely beginning of elementary schooling, it always shows a steep rise in its value for the timely completion of the same. This indicates that in spite of the timely school enrollment, children from unfavorable backgrounds are still less likely to complete their elementary schooling by the right age. The Shapley value decomposition further reveals that parental education alone, can be held responsible for more than half of the resulting unequal opportunities. This again underscores the necessity of more rigorous policies to ensure equal educational opportunity for the next generation from the beginning, in order to break this inter-generational vicious circle of low human capital formation.

About the speaker: Tista Kundu, is a Post-doctoral research fellow at CSH, working in the framework of the “Challenging Inequality” (CHALLINEQ) research project. She obtained her PhD in Economics from ESSEC Business School, Paris, in collaboration with laboratoire THEMA at Université de Cergy-Pontoise, France. Prior to that, she was in University of Calcutta and Presidency University, Kolkata, where from she has her Masters and M.Phil in Economics.

Her doctoral research was on Inequality of opportunity, that, unlike the conventional inequality analysis, prioritize to estimate inequality that are generated only from factors beyond individual responsibilities like sex, caste, family backgrounds etc. So far the focus of her analysis is concentrated on India, mostly exploiting the National Sample Survey database. She is also interested in issues in labor market/inter-generational mobility/educational opportunity in terms of different tire of social hierarchy and in general, micro-development economic applications.

As teaching experience and awards, she received the ESSEC doctoral fellowship for pursuing her PhD. During  2017-18, she has also taught there (ESSEC) introductory as well as intermediate Microeconomics as an associate lecturer, for the BBA and MBA courses. Previously during 2010-12, she taught undergraduate economics (Microeconomics, International trade, econometrics and development economics) as a guest lecturer in Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis College, Kolkata.

Her current work at CSH aims at appraising inequality of opportunity and the efficacy of certain policies to equalize opportunity in a hierarchical social set-up, both in India & Europe. One particular interest in the Indian context, is to further analyse opportunity equalization among various social groups (castes), as well as the potency of caste based affirmative action policies in India.


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RSVP mentioning your full name to be sent (before Monday, 24 February, 12 p.m.) to: neeru{dot}gohar{at}csh-delhi{dot}com

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Photo credit: Khemchand_Jay

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