Mass Education-led Growth and Non-agrarian Villages: Long-term Results of the Kerala Model

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Oxford Development Studies, Routledge, Volume 38, Number 1, p.25–42 (2010)



The advance of the human development perspective has seen education being established not just as a means of development but as an end in itself. This has created a case for focusing on mass education, even if it implies lower growth rates in the initial years. Such an approach is bound to influence the very pattern of development over the long run. For one, a sustained emphasis on mass education within a framework that assures adequate social security could increase the well-being of workers to a point where it affects the choices they make. In this paper a combination of a simple mathematical model and the experience of the south Indian state of Kerala is used to suggest some patterns of development over the long term that this approach throws up. It argues that the effects of this approach could be wide-ranging, including contributing to the creation of non-agrarian villages. * This paper has benefited a great deal from discussions with Rajesh Kasturirangan, Prabhakar Vaidya, Kishor Bhat and Tim Poston. None of them is of course responsible for any errors that remain.