Early childhood education in India: A possible investment in better outcomes? A quantitative analysis using Young Lives India.
This paper uses data from the Young Lives study. The author's summary reads as follows:
This paper explores the relationship between early childhood education and academic outcomes for children in India by estimating the ability of preschool participation at age 5 to predict results on major cognitive assessments at age 12. Initially looking at differences in means, it moves on to utilise regression analysis first in an uncontrolled model, and then in a model which controls for both gender and maternal eduation, as these have been deemed important inputs for academic attainment in the wider literature on human capital development. The sample used for this research is constructed from Young Lives (India), which from 2002 and 2017 surveyed two cohorts of children across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, with a pro-poor sampling strategy. Surprisingly, the results of the analysis find that participation in early childhood education had a negligible effect on test scores, even when controlling for gender and maternal education. Meanwhile, maternal education emerged as a strong predictor of test results. These findings contradict much of the existing evidence that demonstrates associations between early childhood education and cognitive development, and, in turn, improved economic outcomes. Accordingly, it raises questions about the generalisability of the existing evidence and the quality of India's ECE offering.