Purpose - This paper aims to analyse factors that influence child schooling outcomes in India, specifically the role of gender. Design/methodology/approach - This paper uses data from the nationally representative Indian National Family Health Surveys 1995-1996 and 2005-2006 and estimates Heckman sample selection, cluster fixed-effects and household fixed-effects econometric models. The dependent variables are the child's enrolment status and conditional on enrolment child's years of schooling. Findings - This analysis finds statistically significant evidence of male advantage both in schooling enrolment as well as years of schooling. However, using a cluster fixed-effects model, our analysis finds that within a village, conditional on being enrolled, girls spend more years in school relative to boys. Other results show that parental schooling has a positive and statistically significant impact on child schooling. There is statistically significant wealth effect, community effect and regional disparities between states in India. Originality/value - The large sample size and the range of questions available in this data set, allows us to explore the influence of individual, household and village level social, economic and cultural factors on child schooling. The role of gender on child schooling within a village, intrahousehold resource allocation for schooling and regional gender differences in schooling are important issues in India, where education outcomes remain poor for large segments of the population.