THE STATE OF EDUCATION IN INDIA
71% male, 66% female
LOWER SECONDARY COMPLETION RATES (~10th Grade)
ENROLLMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION
While India has achieved fast-paced economic growth, this has not yet translated into improved basic educational standards among its 1.2 billion people, particularly for children living in poor and marginalized communities. 93% of Indian children were enrolled in primary school in 2011 – something unimaginable 10 years ago. Yet, many are not learning enough while they are at school. 90% of children from poorer households remain illiterate even after completing four years of schooling, and less than half of children have basic literacy and math skills. Teacher absenteeism is systemic, hampering learning, particularly for the disadvantaged.
Dropout rates are high, especially for girls, Dalits and other marginalized groups. In many poor communities, school fees for tuition, textbooks, uniforms and supplies often force children to drop out of school, as these expenses can easily consume a substantial percentage of a poor family’s income. In addition, 61% of girls in India are married before age 16. Human Rights Watch reports that 64% of adolescent girls drop out before grade 8. Similarly, 51% of Dalit students, traditionally from the lowest castes, drop out before grade 8.
Quality education is lacking and learning standards are low. For those already in school, the education they receive does not prepare them adequately for their eventual transition to later learning and meaningful livelihoods. In many schools, rote learning is emphasized to the exclusion of problem solving, leadership and critical thinking. A 2012 global study of learning standards in 74 countries conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked India near the bottom, sounding a wake-up call for the country’s education system.