Launch of Round 4 Preliminary Findings in Hyderabad
Preliminary findings from Rounds 1 to 4 of the Young Lives survey were launched at a special event hosted by the Centre for Economic and Social Studies in Hyderabad on Monday 22 September 2014.
Professor S Galab, Principal Investigator for Young Lives in India presented the preliminary findings from Round 4 of the Young Lives survey, focusing on changes in children’s lives in the eleven years since the survey began. The sample was originally designed to cover 20 sites in Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana.
The macro context is one of economic growth and rising inequality, with price rises a significant strain on household income. Children and their parents have high aspirations and with the first generation entering school in many communities, mobility and equity are important issues to address. Climate shocks are increasing and contributing to vulnerability, especially in rural communities.
Presentation of findings in Telangana [powerpoint presentation - 2.2MB]
Presentation of findings in Andhra Pradesh [powerpoint presentation - 2.3MB]
In his concluding remarks, Professor Galab reflected that while levels of malnutrition were high in both states, there was a slightly larger improvement in Andhra Pradesh, where 6% fewer of the sample children were stunted at age 12 than had been the case for 12-year-old children in 2006. In Telangana, this was only 2%. However most other outcomes are similar across the two states. Social protection is an important vehicle to tackle household vulnerability: inequality needs to be addressed to build a strong nation – and we need to look at the processes that are put in place to support the most disadvantaged children. Better governance of schools and better classroom practice is needed, and compassionate processes that will support first generation learners and bring them into mainstream education. In this regard, the two new states have a unique opportunity to write new Plans of Action for children that would provide for better governance, institution-building, knowledge sharing, promote new norms and support women and children at village level.
Dr Renu Singh, Country Director of Young Lives in India, reflected on what the findings from across the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana mean for policy. It is shameful that 30% of all children continue to be stunted, although there are huge disparities between children in urban and rural areas, influenced in particular by access to sanitation. The Young Lives data also show that we have achieved almost universal education, but the question remains about inequality and inequity, which children being segregated into the private and government school systems. Private school enrolment doubled between 2002 and 2009 and now 41% of 12-year-olds are attending private school, which has contributed to great school mobility. However, we also see declining learning levels in both private and government schools which raise questions not only about teaching quality and teacher training, but also about governance and accountability in the school system. Among the Older Cohort children, we see that 36% of girls are married at age 19, almost half of whom had completed only elementary-level education, and 15% had not received even primary-level education. However, 7% of married girls are still enrolled in education, and we must ask ourselves what positive support systems are in place to enable this. Download presentation
Professor Jo Boyden, Director of Young Lives gave an overview of findings to date, focusing on how a multi-disciplinary, multi-country study like Young Lives enables us to view trends over time, not just in India but also across four diverse countries. Child development and economic development are mutually reinforcing, she argued. We have seen a decade of growth, with reductions in poverty levels and improvement in infrastructure and service access (particularly primary enrolment) across all our study countries. The question we must now address is how we deal with entrenched inequalities, which need integrated measures across government departments to invest in child development. Download presentation
In his remarks, the Chief Guest, Professor Rao, reflected on the worrisome picture of declining learning in both government and private schools in Telangana. The cause is twofold, he concluded: poor learning (which could be supported by better nutrition) and poor teaching processes (which could be addressed through better training and monitoring of teacher attendance). As the Young Lives data show, the focus in education policy must move from access to quality and learning outcomes – particularly in government schools, to support the poorest and most marginalised children. The nutrition findings cause one to reach a similar conclusion. With the founding of the new state of Telangana, there is an opportunity to ensure new governance systems are put in place to assure better accountability of institutions.
The Guest of Honour, Professor Kumari, reflected in her address that although there have clearly been improvements for children, these are not reaching the most marginalised and excluded families and children, particularly the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe children and those in rural communities. The Young Lives findings clearly show that there has been little improvement in nutrition, access to clean water and sanitation, or good quality education. There are two particular issues that need to be addressed: the affordability of services and also awareness of their provision and benefits. The Government of AP has announced a programme to extend sanitation facilities, but many families feel too poor to be able to take advantage of it and also did not have the knowledge related to its benefits. This shows how although there might be willingness in government at both the political and economic level to tackle child poverty, there remains a huge need to promote awareness among parents of how they can best support their children to lead healthy and fulfilled lives.