Education in India

Beginning in 1987, NLEC established an orphanage in Kakinada, South India to care for orphans. Steadily this work grew to include a medical clinic, a school, street evangelism, and a feeding program. From here, NLEC India’s outreach program extends to, among other programs, several orphanages, schools, feeding programs, medical clinics, assistance to lepers.

New Life India started with one small school, which housed 17 children. Since that humble beginning, the number of schools Pastor Paparao has built, all with donated funds, has grown to 25. These 25 schools are now an “education home” to more than 10,000 children who come from the poorest of the poor. This life-giving education is free to each student.

In addition to building these schools, New Life India must pay hundreds of well-trained and qualified teachers who teach a variety of subjects, including English. If these “free” schools were not provided, the vast majority of these disadvantaged children would receive no education at all, thus extending the vicious cycle of extreme poverty.

India is the 7th -largest country by area, the 2nd -most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. India is a federation composed of 28 states and 7 union territories. Each state or union territory is further divided into administrative districts and then further divided into tehsils and ultimately into villages.

The Indian economy is the world’s 10th -largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies. India has more than doubled its hourly wage rates during the first decade of the 21st century. It is considered a newly industrialized country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption, religious and caste-related violence, separatism, malnutrition, inadequate public healthcare, and terrorism.

Despite impressive economic growth during recent decades, India continues to face socio-economic challenges. India contains the largest concentration of people living below the World Bank’s international poverty line of US$1.25 per day, the proportion being 42% in 2005. Half of the children in India are underweight, and 46% of children under the age of three suffer from malnutrition. The World Bank cautions that, for India to achieve its economic potential, it must continue to focus on public sector reform, transport infrastructure, agricultural and rural development, removal of labor regulations, education, energy security, and public health and nutrition.

Education in India is provided by the public sector as well as the private sector. India’s education system is divided into different levels, such as pre-primary, primary, elementary, secondary, and tertiary. The central and most state boards uniformly follow the “10+2+3” pattern of education. In this pattern, 10 years of primary and secondary education is followed by 2 years of higher secondary (usually in schools having the higher secondary facility, or in colleges), and then 3 years of college education for bachelor’s degree. The 10 years is further divided into 5 years of primary education and 3 years of upper primary, followed by 2 years of high school.

The literacy rate in 2011 was 74.04%: 65.46% among females and 82.14% among males. Andhra Pradesh has an overall literacy rate of 61.11%. Women have a much lower literacy rate than men. Far fewer girls are enrolled in the schools, and many of them drop out. Conservative cultural attitudes prevent some girls from attending school. The education of women in India plays a significant role in improving livings standards in the country. A higher women literacy rate improves the quality of life both at home and outside of home, by encouraging and promoting education of children, especially female children, and in reducing the infant mortality rate. Several studies have shown that a lower level of women literacy rates results in higher levels of fertility and infant mortality, poorer nutrition, lower earning potential and the lack of an ability to make decisions within a household. Women’s lower educational levels are also shown to adversely affect the health and living conditions of children. A survey that was conducted in India showed results which support the fact that infant mortality rate was inversely related to female literacy rate and educational level. The survey also suggests a correlation between education and economic growth.

In Kakinada there are many villages where the children do not have chance to go to school due to their poverty and lack of village schools. Government rural schools remain poorly funded and understaffed. Most of the children in villages spend their lives without adequate employment. From 10 years of age, they work in the fields, they make bricks, they take the landlord’s cattle to the field, and they are used as servants. Statistics reveal that India is home to 13 million child laborers and at least 18 million street children. Child marriages are common, especially in rural areas; many women in India wed before reaching 18, which is their legal marriageable age. Free education helps these children aspire towards a positive future.

96.5% of all rural children between the ages of 6-14 are enrolled in school. 83% of all rural 15-16 year olds were enrolled in school. However, India needs to focus more on quality. Gross enrollment at the tertiary level has crossed 20%. More than fifty-nine million Indian children between the ages of 6 to 14 do not attend school and thus receive no education.

Despite many promises by the Indian government, education in this country is far from a priority. They lay emphasis on primary education up to the age of fourteen years, referred to as elementary education in India. The Indian government has also banned child labor in order to ensure that the children do not enter unsafe working conditions. However, both free education and the ban on child labor are difficult to enforce due to economic disparity and social conditions. Half of 10-year-old rural children cannot read at a basic level, over 60% are unable to do division, and half drop out of school by the age 14. The Indian Government hasn’t reached their goal of providing free and compulsory education to ALL children between the ages of 6-14 years.

Secondary education covers children 14–18. A significant feature of India’s secondary school system is the emphasis on inclusion of the disadvantaged sections of the society. Professionals from established institutes are often called to support in vocational training. Another feature of India’s secondary school system is its emphasis on profession based vocational training to help students attain skills for finding a vocation of his/her choosing. At the lower secondary level (grades nine and 10), enrolment rate is 52%, while at the senior secondary level (grades 11 and 12), it is 28%.

After passing the Higher Secondary Examination (the grade 12 examination), students may enroll in general degree programs such as bachelor’s degree in arts, commerce or science, or professional degree programs such as engineering, law or medicine. The emphasis in the tertiary level of education lies on science and technology.