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Higher Education Bihar

  • Date Submitted: 02/22/2015 11:24 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.8 
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Education in Bihar has been improving faster than in the rest of the country. But for real gains, the state needs to provide drinking water facilities to everyone, separate toilets for girls in schools, and more teachers and classrooms per student.
One thing that development economists agree on is the importance of education. Put simply, if development is to be sustainable, people need to be better educated. Just looking at economic output, education contributes to growth by increasing the level of human capital of the workforce—as India has discovered in the IT sector. Looking beyond the statistics, education can equip people with the tools for a more fulfilling and enjoyable life.
The government of Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, has recently undertaken several policy initiatives to make education more affordable and accessible to children. These initiatives have focused on reducing the “opportunity cost” of schooling and providing incentives for enrolment and performance.
In my study with Priya Ranjan, we look at the state of education in Bihar and analyse the policies of the Bihar government. We draw on our own research, publicly available data, and previous studies on education in India. We find that while Bihar has made several impressive steps, there is still a long road ahead.
Using data from District Information System for Education (DISE), we find that starting in 2006-2007, the enrolment rate at the primary level in Bihar has been increasing and is now higher than the median of the 20 large states. However, the enrolment rate at the upper primary level is right at the bottom of the 20 major states in India with less than half of eligible children attending school. Since the DISE enrolment data for primary grades are not available for Bihar after 2007, we use an alternative measure from Assessment Survey Evaluation Research (ASER) called the “out-of-school rate” which is the percentage of school age children not attending school. This measure is...

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