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Energy use patterns for domestic purposes vary considerably across households in India. While modern domestic fuels are becoming popular, the majority still relies on traditional sources of energy. This is especially true for households in rural areas for whom the affordability and accessibility to modern fuels is still a major problem. Inaccessibility to modern sources of fuel by a household has a direct bearing on the time spent on learning by children in these households.
Children belonging to energy-constrained households are likely to be spending lesser (7% less likely) time learning as opposed to those not belonging to energy-constrained households. The reason for this being the fact that energy constraints leads to individuals budgeting their time collecting fuel, which leaves them with lesser time for learning and related activities. However, once a child is enrolled in school energy constraint of the household alone does not impact the time-spent learning. There are other factors also which plays an important role in determining the time apportioned for learning. These are gender, social group, economic status of households, and education level of women in a household, etc.
This paper examines the impact of these variables on time spent in learning with specific reference to energy constraint and non-constraint of a household. A probit model has been used for the same, where the coefficients indicate a change in probability for an infinitesimal change in the continuous explanatory variable (It is sometimes also referred to as dprobit model).
The analysis which uses data from the ‘Time Use Survey’ conducted in 1998-99, reveals that children belonging to energy constrained households’ budget their time in order to allow for collection of various sources of fuel. Lack of accessibility to modern sources of fuels thus has a significantly negative impact on the likelihood of their spending time on education and learning related activities. This impact is greater in case of girls, the probable reason being the lesser importance accorded to education of girls in India, especially in rural areas. On an average, a female child in the age group 10 to 16 years spend 0.44 hours in a day collecting fuel, firewood etc. compared to boys in the same age group, who spend 0.15 hours.