(GIST OF KURUKSHETRA) Education in Rural India: Schemes for Women and Youth
Education in Rural India: Schemes for Women and Youth
The vision of a modern India, free from poverty, rests overwhelmingly on the growth and development of rural India. Challenges, big and small, however, are abound on every front from lack of resources to infrastructural bottlenecks to social constructs.
While many a developmental programme and sincere intervention by the government and civic society attempt to chip away at this humungous challenge, education for children and skill training for adults is ultimately the only way to help rural Indians escape the poverty trap they find themselves in and make them self-reliant. Coming to rural women, though there has been enhanced access to education over the years, those who are more educated remain unemployed because of the unavailability of formal jobs and low wages.
Thus, lasting change in India's villages can come only when the objectives of eradicating poverty and unemployment are fulfilled — not just by giving doles but by a three-pronged strategy of education, infrastructure and empowerment.
Achievement of Right to Education Act 2009:
The Right to Education Act, 2009 has been successful in achieving near universal enrolment in elementary education, however retaining children remains a challenge for the schooling system.
According to government data, in 2015-16, Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) was 56.2 percent at senior secondary level as compared to 99.2 percent at primary level. GER denotes enrolment as a percent of the population of corresponding age group. Data for all socio-economic groups indicates decline in GER as we move from primary to senior secondary for all groups.
Further, the decline in GER is higher for certain socio-economically disadvantaged groups, based on:
(ii) socio-cultural identities (scheduled castes, scheduled tribes),
(iii) geographical identities (students from small villages and small towns),
(iv) socio-economic identities (migrant communities and low-income households), and
As per the National Sample Survey Report (71st round), more than 12 percent of rural households in India did not have secondary schools within 5 km whereas in urban areas this percentage is less than one percent.
Total enrolment in higher education has been estimated to be 37.4 million with 19.2 million males and 18.2 million females. Females constitute 48.6 percent of the total enrolment.
Rooting for Rural Education
Samagra Shiksha Scheme:
The Government of India has launched Samagra Shiksha — an integrated scheme for school education with effect from 2018-19.
It envisages the 'school' as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels and subsumes the three erstwhile centrally sponsored schemes -Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the scheme. The scheme reaches out to girls and children belonging to SCs, STs, minority communities and transgender. The scheme also gives attention to urban deprived children, children affected by periodic migration and children living in remote
and scattered habitations.
Under the scheme, provision has been made for giving preference to Special Focus Districts (SFDs), Educationally Backward Blocks (EEBs), Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts, and aspirational districts.
Acknowledging that issues such as lack of toilets in schools and unavailability of schools within a short distance play a big role in school dropouts, especially among girls, the scheme supports states for strengthening of school infrastructure including in rural areas.
The scheme provides for infrastructural strengthening of existing government schools based on the gaps determined by Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) and proposals received from respective States/UTs.
Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs):
The main objective of the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) is to provide good quality modern education -- including a strong component of inculcation of values, awareness of the environment, adventure activities and physical education - to talented children predominantly from the rural areas without regard to their family's socio-economic condition.
The Navodaya Vidyalaya Scheme envisages opening of one JNV in each district of the country. Altogether, 642 JNVs have been established in the country so far.
Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS):
Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) were introduced in 1997-98 to provide quality upper primary, secondary and senior secondary level education to Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in remote areas to enable them to access the best opportunities in education and to bring them par with the general population.
Mid-Day Meal Scheme:
The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is targeted at young children studying upto Class VIII, it needs to be mentioned as it been one of the most successful programmes for keeping young children from disadvantaged sections like poor, dalits, tribals, girls and children of labour work force in schools. As per NSS 71st round, 70 percent children studying in class I to VIII in Government and aided schools, Special Training Centers (STCs) and madras as as and maqtabs supported under Samagra Shiksha, get nutritious mid-day meals in rural areas.
Targetted intervention for Girls:
Under Samagra Shiksha, various targeted interventions are made for girls, including those in educationally backward blocks (EBBs).
These interventions include opening of schools in the neighbourhood as defined by the state, provision of free text-books to girls up to Class VIII, uniforms to all girls up to class VIII, provision of gender segregated toilets in all schools, teachers' sensitisation programmes to promote girls' participation, provision for self-defence training for the girls from classes VI to XII, stipend to CWSN girls from class I to Class XII, construction of residential quarters for teachers in remote/hilly areas/in areas with difficult terrain.
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas:
Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) have been sanctioned in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBs) under Samagra Shiksha, which are residential schools from class VI to XII for girls belonging to disadvantaged groups such as SC, ST, OBC, Minority and Below Poverty Line (BPL).
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao:
The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme works to develop an enabling environment for girl child education. It addresses the issues relating to declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR) and aims to change the mindset of people so as to make them appreciate the value of girl child.
It is a tri-ministerial, convergent effort of the Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
The specific objectives of the scheme are
(i) prevent gender biased sex selective elimination
(ii) ensure survival and protection of the girl child and
(iii) ensure education and participation of the girl child through coordinated and convergent efforts.
Empowering the Rural Woman
Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme:
The Government approved in November 2017 the Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) Scheme as a centrally sponsored scheme under Ministry of Women and Child Development to empower rural women through community participation.
The scheme aims to facilitate inter-sectoral convergence of schemes and programmes meant for women both at the Central and State/
Adult Literacy Programmes
Saakshar Bharat Programme:
Saakshar Bharat Programme (operational till March 2018) went beyond the ‘3’ R's (i.e., Reading, Writing and Arithmetic); for it also sought to create awareness of social disparities and a person’s deprivation on the means for its amelioration and general well-being.
This programme was formulated in 2009 with the objective of achieving 80 percent literacy level at national level, by focusing on adult women literacy seeking to reduce the gap between male and female literacy to not more than 10 percentage points.
Padhna Likhna Abhiyaan:
The Padhna Likhna Abhiyan has been rolled out to replace Saakshar Bharat Scheme. Launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on Literacy Day this year, it focusses on achieving 100 percent literacy by 2030.
Under this scheme, massive literacy projects will be launched in the tribal and forests areas, prisons, slums, etc., with technology as a facilitator. It will focus on the basic literacy component in a four-month cycle among adults. For this purpose, the Government think tank, NITI Aayog, has underlined 112 aspirational districts.
Any assessment about education in rural India cannot be complete without discussing the various development programmes that have been launched over the years to achieve these all-encompassing objectives. The current public (Central Government and State Governments) expenditure on education in India has been around 4.43 percent of GDP (Analysis of Budgeted Expenditure 2017-18) and around 10 percent of the total government spending towards education (Economic Survey 2017-18).
The National Education Policy 2020 states that the Centre and states will work together to increase the public investment in education sector to reach 6 percent of GDP at the earliest. Within this gigantic exercise, we need to especially track the path that rural women and rural youth have walked in their wake to better understand how these programmes have helped shape their lives, to what extent these have successfully equipped them with the necessary skills and what more needs to be done to further empower them.