ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Access to Higher Education in India

An Exploration of Its Antecedents

This paper explores the role of socio-religious affiliations in determining participation in higher education in India, and whether the importance of these affiliations changes over time. Using National Sample Survey data it follows the change in the hierarchy of participation within a binary probit framework over the years. Since being eligible for higher education is found to be the key factor in participation, it also explores the role of supply-side constraints by controlling for the distance to a secondary school. Econometric estimations for rural and urban areas indicate a vast rural-urban divide in the role of socio-religious affiliations. Eligibility seems to be the key factor in participation, and a better understanding of the constraints on school education is critical if participation in higher education is to be increased.

This paper is a product of a larger research project entitled "Pathfi nder – Assessing the Impact of Higher Education Expansion on Economics Restructuring, Occupational Change and Access to Opportunities in Brazil and India" funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, UK. The project was undertaken by the authors at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. The authors are grateful to an anonymous referee of this journal for comments on the previous version of this paper.

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