We’re going to Mumbai! What better time to learn about girls’ education in India. Let’s first look at some basic population statistics sourced from the CIA’s World Factbook:
Population ca. 1,267,000,000
Nearly 27% of the population is 14 years or younger and 18% are 15 - 24 years old; median age is 27; life expectancy is 68.5 years.
India’s fertility rate is 2.45 children born per woman;
a mother’s mean age at birth is 19.
India is a youthful nation!
I wanted to offer a figure about the poverty rate in India, but discovered that is not so easily done - the rate has dropped considerably in the past 7 years but what the reality of that means to the average Indian citizen is not necessarily clear. The matter is complicated by the World Bank’s reclassification of India as a lower middle-income country up from a low income country coupled with other developments in the country. To understand better how complex India’s poverty rating is read Why India’s Poverty Rate has fallen to 12.4%.
The truth is that countries like India and China are still home to half the world’s poor. We know that poverty is a key indicator leading to low school participation by girls (see September 2016 Blog).
Did You Know?
About 3,000,000 girls are out of school in India.
In rural India only 1 in 100 girls reach the 12th grade.
How do we know what we know - Data! I want to introduce you to ...
Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is an annual, nationwide survey of children's ability to read simple text and do basic arithmetic. It was developed by Pratham an NGO working with children in thousands of villages and urban slums across India, whose focus was on helping children master basic skills in reading and arithmetic.
The ASER engages citizens across the country in understanding and tracking children’s ability to read and do basic arithmetic via the participation of local organizations and institutions in nearly every rural district in the country. It is the largest household survey of children conducted in India by citizens’ groups, carried out by more than 25,000 volunteers and covering over 700,000 children in 15,000 villages each year. It was launched in 2005 and is also the only annual source of information regarding learning levels of children available in India today. Learn more about how the surveys are conducted.
The 2016 ASER Full Report and National (Rural) Findings were published in January 18, 2017. ASER 2016 reached 589 rural districts across India. The survey was carried out in 17,473 villages, covering 350,232 households and 562,305 children in the age group 3-16. I recommend a quick click on the National (Rural) Findings - it is a 3-page glance at some incredible statistics:
In response to the UN Millennium Development Goals (2000 - 2015) and the Education For All (EFA) movement India enacted the ...
The Indian 2009 Right to Education (RTE) Act guarantees a free and compulsory education for all children ages 6 - 14. The RTE Act is a critical movement towards inclusion for girls, children with disabilities and children from other marginalized groups.
According to UNICEF - India:
What is the RIGHT TO EDUCATION ACT?
Enacted on 1 April 2010, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) 2009 serves as a building block to ensure that every child from six to 14 years has his or her right to get a quality elementary education, and that the state, with the help of families and communities, fulfills this obligation.The act has been described as model for countries in the region and beyond, seeking not only access to schools, but also quality education within them.
By March 31, 2013 – the first deadline for implementation of the RTE – there had been significant resource allocations to the education sector and substantial structural reform, along with countless stories of hope from the field. Nonetheless, there remains much to be done in order to achieve quality education with equity for every girl and boy across India.
Important facets of quality education in the context of RTE:
- See more at: UNICEF - India - What We Do
Learn about India’s Department of School Education and Literacy and the RTE Act.
This is just a snapshot of information about key education legislation at the parliamentary level and a look at how education statistics are being gathered in India. There are many factors which impact girls education in India including social norms, traditional values, resources and money - topics we have covered in other blog issues. I invite you to explore some of the below links to explore the impact of cultural and fiscal factors on India’s daughters.
Why it’s hard for girls in rural India to stay in school
- aired on the PBS NewsHour on September 22, 2015 as part of the WNET series “Time For School”. In this episode, they travel to a small village in Rajasthan and report on a young girl’s experience into adulthood.
Why Girls in India are still missing out on the education they need
- reported by Rachel Williams in The Guardian - March 2013
“The Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a coalition of 26 NGOs and teaching unions, wants all nations to allocate at least 6% of GDP to education. India has been promising that since 1968, Taneja says, but the figure has never topped 4%, and it is currently 3.7%. It is an issue of political will, rather than a lack of cash, she suggests: education is not a vote-winning issue in a system of frequent elections, where pledges need to be deliverable immediately.”
Education in India in Pictures
- the Guardian - March 2013
Overcrowded classes at Madanpur Khadar primary school.
Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
The status of women’s education in India
- by Avijit Mondal of Safecity Blogs, Sustainable Development Goals - July 2016
“ - the 2011 census that showed the male literacy rate to be 82.14% while for females it lags behind at 65.46%.”