In India, such is the plight of education that 90% of kids from poor families, studying in government schools, remain completely illiterate even after 4 years of formal education. And only 30% of such students qualify as literate, not educated but merely literate, after 6 years of formal education. These are a few of the alarming findings cited in the 11th Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report compiled by UNESCO. What’s appalling is that in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, two states that boast of good education facilities, only 45-55% of students in rural areas studying in 5th grade could perform basic arithmetic functions like addition and subtraction. The current scenario seems grave to Relief India Trust, an NGO that has been imparting education to impoverished kids.
Although Indian governments in last few decades have laid special emphasis on improving education facilities in the country and reduce illiteracy, results have been slow. As per the current statistics, illiteracy rate in India wouldn’t be reduced to a meager digit until 2080. This time frame is too wide as compared to the goals set by UNESCO to be achieved with respect to literacy in India. One of the major reasons, as cited in EFA, for increased illiteracy is insufficient budget allocation towards education sector. Report also read that in Kerala, government spent only $685 per child on education and in Bihar it dropped to a disappointing $100 per child.
This is far from the EFA goals of 2015 which specify that at least 6% of the GNP and 20% of total government expenditure should be dedicated towards education. Such lack of education is holding India’s future in a terrible jeopardy. Relief India Trust believes that the quality of education provided in rural areas must be good. Recruitment of teachers must be done after thorough examinations which are monitored by bodies which select only well qualified and talented teachers. Education for a namesake will have no manifestations. The ground reality needs to be changed, a stir needs to be caused and education system demands to be refreshed.