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Learning Levels of Children from Short-Term Migrant Families: Evidence from Rural India

Leena Bhattacharya, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research (IGIDR)

The study uses nationally representative data to enquire, what happens to the learning levels of children from short-term migrant families in rural India? We explore this question for children aged 8-11 years using India Human Development Survey 2011-12 data. Results indicate that that each age, children from rural short-term migrant families acquire lower language and mathematics levels than children from non-migrant families. The results remain robust to instrumental variable approach. More recently, the Right to Education Act (2010) proposes operationalizing seasonal hostels in source villages to retain educational rights of children from short-term migrant families. We examine the efficacy of this strategy using a unique primary data collected from villages in high out-migration-prone Indian state of Odisha in 2019. We find that percentile rank of language and mathematics of left-behind children were not different from that of children from non-migrant families whereas percentile rank of migrant children were lower. Restricting our analysis to children from migrant families, we find that left-behind children in seasonal hostels have the highest percentile rank. Overall, the results suggest that encouraging migrants to leave their children behind in hostels can be effective in protecting child's right to education.

Keywords: Children and youth, Internal migration, Policy

See paper.

  Presented in Session 97. Achieving Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education for Children and Adolescents from Vulnerable Households