In a new study, One Health Trust researcher Arindam Nandi and co-authors analyzed gender gaps in preschool enrollment among children aged two to four years old in India and risk factors associated with lower private preschool enrollment. Using data from the National Family Health Survey of India 2019-2021, or the NFHS-5, they found that girls had a 3.8 percent higher preschool enrollment rate than boys but were 10.7 percent less likely to be enrolled in a private preschool. Girls with mothers with no schooling attainment, from Hindu families, and living in urban areas were less likely to be enrolled in better-quality private preschools compared to boys. These findings indicate that children’s socioeconomic background can have wide and varied impacts on private versus public preschool selection and thus has important implications for early childhood education. After controlling for shared households, regression analysis revealed that girls were 16.7 percent less likely to be enrolled in a private preschool than boys in the same household. While the country has made significant progress in eliminating familial preference for sons over daughters, India’s pervasive gender discrimination is evident in the lower rates of private preschool enrollment among girls seen in this study.

Read the full article, published in the International Journal of Educational Development, here.