Education is a basic fundamental right for all citizens of India. It is also one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. Its importance lies in the potential to transform the society, country, and the world at large for the better. It enables people to become self-sufficient, contributing members of the society; and this makes attaining educational goals not only crucial, but essential too. This is the very reason why both governmental and non-governmental organisations have taken up the responsibility of making education available and accessible to all by bridging the existing gaps.
A view from the top will show the tremendous progress India has made in the education field, even to the extent of digitisation of classrooms and enabling continuity of learning through online classes. The country has numerous reputed schools, universities and world renowned IITs & IIMs. But a closer look will reveal that not all is as rosy as it seems. There exists a huge disparity in accessibility to education, making it a privilege for those who can afford.
According to a 2020 survey, India ranks 33rd globally which is a progress from its earlier rankings of 35th in 2019 and 40th in 2018 (https://www.nimt.ac.in/blog/where-does-the-indian-education-system-stand-on-a-world-scale#:~:text=India%20stands%20at%2033rd%20rank,2019%20it%20stood%20at%2035th).
Though there is a long way to go to be among the top 10 countries, but by and large, India has made progress as a result of its various education schemes and policies. Below are mentions of some the schemes:
Apart from this, the Government of India also supports students through various scholarship programmes and loan schemes.
To aid the efforts of the government, several non-governmental organisations work closely with underprivileged communities to help their children receive education and one such education NGO is Vidya Chetana. Many schools, colleges, universities as well as CSR wings of corporates support students by providing scholarships. In addition, awareness programmes are conducted to encourage people to support underprivileged children.
It is a well-accepted fact that children are the future of a nation, and to actually harness the potential of it, quality education is a must. It empowers children to be independent, resourceful and contributing members of society. But there are many factors that deprive children of this basic fundamental right, creating a divide - between rural and urban, and between the privileged and the underprivileged sections of the society.
The literacy rate in India is approximately 79.1% according to the 2022 census that tracked data across 28 states. The most literate state is Kerala followed by Bihar with the lowest rank. The most literate union territory is Lakshadweep with literacy of 91.8%.
The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) is a survey summarising the average number of students who enrol in schools across all ages. According to the ASER, Enrolment in private schools for children aged 6 to 14 has decreased from 32.5% in 2018 to 24.4 percent in 2021. This shift is seen across all grade levels and among both boys and girls. This decrease is majorly due to the pandemic and an increase in unemployment levels in the country. The report also mentioned that in 2018, 1.4% of boys aged 7-10 and 2.9% of boys aged 11-14 were not in school; in 2020 and 2021, those proportions increased to 4.7% and 4.1%, respectively. For girls, the proportion has remained nearly constant in the older age groups, but there has been a significant increase in the younger age groups. In 2018, 1.4% of girls aged 7 to 10 did not attend school, while 3.6% of girls aged 11 to 14 did not attend. In 2020 and 2021, the proportions for both groups increased to 4.1% and 3.9%, respectively.
According to SRI-IMRB surveys 2009 and 2014; in 2014, an estimated 6.1 million children were out of school, down from 13.46 million in 2006. Out of every 100 students, 29% drop out before completing the full cycle of elementary education, and these are often the most marginalised children. According to the All India Survey for Higher Education (AISHE), the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) is higher by 3% in 2019-20 as compared to 2016-17. Yet, we have a long way to go not only regarding increasing this number, but also to help more students enrol and complete their education. This is not only for the records, but to empower the youth along with it.
Vidya Chetana, an initiative of Youth for Seva is an education NGO that has been working to make education available and accessible to underprivileged students since 2009. This education NGO provides financial aid in the form of scholarship and supports meritorious students from socio-economically weaker sections. Alongside this education NGO also provides career guidance, mentorship, 21st century skills training as well as employability readiness training to equip and prepare their beneficiaries for the real world.
“The scholarship I received from Vidya Chetana helped me to complete my final year BTech, following which I also secured a placement in IBM. I am extremely grateful to Vidya Chetana for helping me achieve my goal.”
“I could complete my Engineering only because of the scholarship I received from Vidya Chetana. After completing my studies, I immediately got a placement in DXA Technology. I am thankful to the team of Vidya Chetana for supporting my education.”
For the current year, this education NGO requires support to fund 2,500 students. Among these 2,415 are existing beneficiaries who need support to continue their studies and 85 are new beneficiaries who need help to begin their higher studies. As an education NGO, Vidya Chetana offers many ways of supporting education of PUC students (Intermediate students), degree students, engineering students, and medical students.
Your support towards this education NGO can potentially change the education landscape and youth empowerment scenario in India for the better. Take action today.