IDS Bulletin Vol. 28 Nos. 3

‘If You Build It, Will They Come?’:

Published on 1 July 1997

Summaries Primary schooling is considered in policy circles to be an effective means to enhance the income and welfare of poor households, with particularly high returns for girls. Education achievement in India has, however, been slow, suggesting that the behaviour of poor households does not yet reflect the confidence of projections of high rates of return to primary education. Investigations into these factors have suggested that poverty, the opportunity cost of children’s labour and entrenched social and cultural norms which give rise to inequality of caste, class and gender, are some of the factors constraining poor boys and girls from gaining access to education. Based on interviews with poor men and women in one village in southern India, this article reviews the reasons why parents do not send their children to school, and how household decision?making reflects both flexible responses to changing material circumstances in a drought?prone area, as well as rigid and non?negotiable responses to social norms. The operation of gender ideologies within household management strategies is particularly highlighted.

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Subrahmanian, R. (1997) ‘If You Build It, Will They Come?’: . IDS Bulletin 28(3): 101-111

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published by
Institute of Development Studies
Subrahmanian, Ramya


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