Impact of school consolidation on enrolment and achievement
Evidence from India
I study the impact of school consolidation on enrolment and achievement, using its staggered roll-out in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Across the years 2014, 2016, and 2017, Rajasthan merged many of its grade 1–5 schools with grade 6–10 schools to create grade 1–10 ‘model’ schools. Twenty-three per cent of government schools were eliminated in this education reform. Media reports suggested that consolidation led to declining enrolment levels and teacher lay-offs.
Combining the government orders on consolidation and administrative data on schools, I rule-out that consolidation had a negative impact on enrolment or number of teachers. I find that consolidation decreased the number of schools in a village by one, increased the proportion of children studying in a school with a principal by 0.1, and increased the number of teachers in a village by 0.7.
I also find that consolidation increased school enrolment in a village by 2 per cent—in particular, girls’ enrolment increased by 2 per cent. I further show that consolidation decreased the proportion of high scorers among grade 5 students by 0.08 and did not decrease the proportion of high scorers among grade 8 students by more than 0.02. School consolidation is a policy worth pursuing in contexts that are concerned about a large number of schools.