Human Development

Information Provision and the Quality of Education in Rural India

  • Blog Post Date 01 April, 2011
  • IGC Research on India
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Farzana Afridi

Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi Centre

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Bidisha Barooah

University of Delhi

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Rohini Somanathan

Delhi School of Economics

This study analyses whether providing information on the absolute and relative quality of schooling to the stakeholders affects the behaviour of service providers in both the public and the private sector. A Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) framework is used to study the effect of providing report cards of students’ scores as well as non-academic measures of school quality to parents and schools in 70 villages in Ajmer district of Rajasthan. Stakeholders in education in each of the five control groups received a different type of report card with indicators of school quality such as test scores of students in a test. The results suggest that private and public schools respond to information differently. In keeping with previous studies, it is found that providing information to households or schools has no effect on improving the quality of public schools. Private schools, however, respond positively to information. This effect is higher for private schools which face competition from other private schools. The policy implication of the findings is that information is effective where there is accountability.

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