11 Facts About Education In India That You Need To Know

11 Facts About Education In India That You Need To Know

  • Education
  • by Moulishree Jha and Mahika Banerji
  • 14 Oct, 2022
  1. Literacy Rate: One of the most important measures of a nation's socioeconomic development is its level of literacy. The 2011 Census defines “literate” as someone who can read and write in any language and is at least seven years old. At present, India’s literacy rate is 74.04%; 82.14% for males and 65.46% for females.

    The top 3 states with the highest literacy are Kerala (93.91%), Lakshadweep (92.28%) and Mizoram (91.58%). The 3 least literate states are Bihar (63.82%), Arunachal Pradesh (66.95%) and Rajasthan (67.06%).[1]
  2. The Right to Education Act: The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act was enacted on 4 August 2009 to fulfill the mandate of Article 21-A of the Constitution. The Act aims to provide free and compulsory education to all children between 6-14 years of age. It imposes a duty on the state to provide enrollment in a formal school for every child in this age group. One of the sections in the law requires all private schools to give students from the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) 25% of their seats.

    Almost a decade since the RTE Act came into effect, a survey by the Unified District Information System of Education (UDISE) in 2019 finds that less than 13% of schools across India are compliant with the law[2]. The criteria for the UDISE study[3] comprised:
  • A teacher-student ratio of 1:30
  • The size of the headmaster’s office
  • Ramps for students with disabilities
  • Separate toilets for boys and girls
  • Drinking water facilities
  • Kitchen shed
  • Boundary wall
  • Playground availability
  1. Enrollment numbers: Total enrollment increased as a result of the RTE Act, particularly at the upper primary level. From 5,33,50,189 in 2008-09 to 6,54,48,222 in 2017-18, the number increased (DISE). However, enrollment at the primary level fell by 6.22% between 2014–15 and 2017–18, and at the upper primary level by 2.56%.[4]
  2. National Education Policy: To date, India has had three Education Policies – the first one was released in 1968, and the second one in 1986[5]. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is India's third Education Policy. Its effectiveness must be measured by how well it contributes to the implementation of Article 21A of the Constitution, addresses the country's segregated education system, and bridges the educational divide between India's elites and its poor and historically marginalised groups.
  3. NEP Features: Among other things, the NEP 2020 proposes a slew of school education reforms, with a focus on subject flexibility and eliminating silos between streams of learning. The NEP also aims to achieve a 100% Gross Enrollment Ratio from preschool to secondary school by 2030. The NEP aims to replace the current 10+2 school structure with a 5+3+3+4 structure. There will also be assessment system reforms, such as testing students' core capacities/competencies rather than rote learning.
  4. Multilingualism: The policy intends to promote multilingualism and the study of Indian languages. Wherever it is possible, regional language/mother tongue will be used as a medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, and preferably until Grade 8 and beyond. After that, both public and private schools should continue to teach the regional language/mother tongue as a language.
  5. Inclusivity: Education is a public good that must be universal, equitable, and non-discriminatory. In that spirit, the policy seeks to create an equitable and inclusive education system, with a focus on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs). The NEP includes a number of promising recommendations - such as providing free breakfast to students in schools, placing a greater emphasis on liberal education, and relieving teachers of non-teaching responsibilities.
  6.  Drawbacks: The policy lacks an overarching framework for examining educational inequality and exclusion, which have been exacerbated by centuries of discrimination and exclusion. Because of the increasing commercialization of education, India's education system is segregated along class, gender, and caste lines, and these categories frequently overlap, resulting in a grossly unequal start in life for children. The policy has also been criticised as being anti-democratic and promoting centralisation, as crucial education decisions will now be made at the federal level, leaving states essentially powerless.
  7. Technology: The COVID-19 pandemic saw rapid growth in the education technology (or EdTech) market. India is now the world's second-largest e-learning market, trailing only the United States, and is expected to be worth over USD 3.5 billion by 2022[6]. The National Education Policy of India emphasises the use of technology for learning both inside and outside the classroom, teacher professional development, and easing educational administration.

    It advocates for investments in digital infrastructure, the creation of online teaching platforms and tools, the establishment of digital repositories, and teacher training. However, it does not specify concrete steps to increase human capabilities or address the risks of commercialisation, and data theft associated with the use of proprietary technologies.

  8. Inequality: Despite advances in educational technology - social, cultural, geographic and economic barriers still exist and were made much worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has caused a huge digital divide. Globally, the use of technology has been found to reinforce inequalities because it relies on technology that is inaccessible to many poor and marginalised people. We saw how class, caste, and gender barriers hampered access to online education during the pandemic. Only 2.7% of India's poorest 20% of households have access to a computer and 8.9% have access to internet facilities, and school-going children in 96% of ST households and 96.2% of SC households do not have access to a computer[7].
  9. Financial consideration: One of the key elements in the RTE Act's implementation is its financing. By 1985–1986, the Kothari Commission had advocated allocating at least 6% of the GNP to education. Overall, it dropped from 3.1% in 2013–14 to 2.8% in 2015-16. It increased to 3.0% by 2018–19 (according to budget projections) after years of stagnation, but that figure is still well below the 6% mark.



[2] https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/only-13-pc-indian-schools-rte-compliant-why-may-not-reflect-education-quality-95181

[3] http://udise.in/Downloads/Publications/Documents/Flash_Statistics_on_School_Education-2016-17.pdf

[4] https://www.rgics.org/wp-content/uploads/Status-of-RTE-in-2020.pdf

[5] https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/reading-new-education-policy-india-schools-colleges-6531603/

[6] https://kr-asia.com/indias-edtech-market-to-grow-5x-to-reach-usd-3-5-billion-by-2022-blinc-invest

[7] https://www.oxfamindia.org/knowledgehub/workingpaper/inequality-virus-india-supplement-2021


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