Investigating Causes & Implications of Chronic Absenteeism Behavior among Primary Grade Students in India: An Empirical Approach

Charu Jain, National Council of Applied Economic Research, India
Ruchi Jain, National Council of Applied Economic Research, India

The paper addresses one of the most common yet critical problems of chronic absenteeism among primary grade students as experienced in most of the developing nations. Most of the education policies in India focus on the universalization aspect, while ignoring that mere enhancing enrolment at primary grade might not improve foundational skills among pupils, but regular school attendance can surely make a difference. Globally, few researchers do have empirically investigated some of these issues, but in Indian context not much has been explored. Using a sample of 10,105 students in the age-group 8-11 years, drawn from IHDS Survey-II, the paper investigates the causes behind chronic absenteeism among primary grade students in India and examines the impact on their foundational skills. The results based on logistic regression reveals various factors predicting higher probability of chronic absenteeism such as child illness, higher school distance, teacher’s unfair attitude, teacher’s absence, teacher’s gender and harsh punishments. Moreover, significant variations are recorded in the attainment of foundational skills among students who were chronically absent vs. those who were not. The findings call for early attention and policy intervention towards controlling the situation due to its direct implications on cognitive growth of young minds.

Keywords: Children and youth, Outcome and impact evaluations, Health and morbidity, Policy

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 9. Education, Human Capital and Demography