Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Monograph

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Education

Supervisor

Srivastava, Prachi

Abstract

India enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) (Government of India, 2009) for elementary education, reserving 25% of seats in private schools for socially and economically disadvantaged groups starting from grade 1 or pre-primary depending on the school setting. However, some studies show it may not be implemented and there is exclusion among students (Kaushal, 2012; Mehendale, Mukhopadhyay, & Namala, 2015; Noronha & Srivastava, 2013; Srivastava & Noronha, 2016). Furthermore, there is little research on how parents’ involvement in the school milieu plays a role in their children’s education, and whether private schools are responsive to parental concerns in view of the RTE Act.

This study analyzes a data bank of 43 semi-structured interviews that were conducted with Dalit parents in one catchment area in Delhi in 2017 under a larger research program. The interviews were conducted following a household survey in 2015 with households that were successful in securing a ‘free’ private school seat under the Act. The analysis here is meant to direct fuller analysis in the larger research program. The main research question explored in this study is: How were parents involved in monitoring their child’s academic progress? This analysis applies the following dimensions, a supportive home learning environment, direct school contact, and inhibited involvement (McWayne, Hampton, Fantuzzo, Cohen & Sekino, 2004), to examine the parental involvement in this study. The analysis finds that parents were involved in the private schools they accessed through various ways. There were uneven experiences and reported school responses.

Summary for Lay Audience

Many children in India continue to face education exclusion due to various factors, such as religion, caste, language barriers, and lack of parental education (Alcott & Rose, 2016; Borooah 2017; Nambissan 2009). India enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) (Government of India, 2009) for elementary education. The Act reserves 25% of seats in private schools for free for socially and economically disadvantaged groups beginning in pre-primary or Grade 1. Parental involvement and school responsiveness play an integral role in children’s education, especially if they belong to marginalized communities. There is a gap in current literature as it does not explore in-depth regarding marginalized parents’ perceptions on their involvement in schools and how schools are responsive to their and their children’s needs.

This study analyzes 43 semi-structured interviews that were conducted with Dalit parents in one catchment area in Delhi in 2017 as part of a larger research program. This is an historically marginalized group. These households were part of an earlier survey in 2015, and had been successful in receiving at least one ‘free’ private school seat at that time. The analysis found that majority of the parents were involved in their children’s education. While some reported language barriers in speaking English, the majority stated that schools would accommodate them and speak in Hindi. However, there were uneven experiences regarding parents’ perceptions on how they felt about the quality of education in private schools.

Available for download on Friday, April 29, 2022

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