Education is a fundamental right of every Indian girl as per the Right To Education Act 2009. India is the second most populated country in the world with nearly 48.5% of female population. India is also one of the fastest growing countries but our women literacy rate is far below the global standard. The Indian government has enacted several acts and policies like the RTE Act 2008 and NEP 2020 to increase the literacy rates in India.
Benefits of Girls’ Education
There are innumerable benefits of investing in girls’ education for a country including:
- Educating women positively impacts the economic, social and health standards.
- Higher female literacy rates reduce child mortality.
- Education lowers crime rates.
- Girls’ education reduces inequality in society.
- Education empowers marginalised women and helps them build better futures for themselves and their families.
- An educated society is more stable and can recover faster after a conflict.
- Educated girls are less likely to marry at a young age and more likely to raise healthy children.
- Women who complete higher education and acquire skills dramatically increase lifetime earnings.
- Kids of educated women are less likely to experience malnutrition or stunting.
India is making continuous efforts to provide access to quality education to women in all parts of the country. It is evident that education plays a vital role in economic development, scientific advancement, cultural preservation and social equality. In a decade, India is going to be the world’s most populated country. The steps we take today in the education sector are going to impact the lives of billions of Indians in the future. Understanding the gravity of the situation, the Indian government came up with the new National Education Policy which aims to drastically improve the education ecosystem and increase the literacy rates of women across the country. Here are some government initiatives that are changing the Indian education landscape.
NEP2020 / National Education Policy 2020
The Union Cabinet of India approved the National Education Policy 2020 on 29 July 2020 and it will be replacing previous education policy. With the goal of creating an education system which is rooted in Indian ethos and that transforms the nation, the National education policy will modify the current 10+2 structure with a new pedagogical 5+3+3+4 structure.
Scientific research shows that 85% of brain development in a child is complete before the age of 6. But the age group 3-6 is currently not a part of the Indian education system as the class 1 begins at the age of 6. Furthermore, crores of children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds are not able to benefit from Early Childhood Care & Education. Understanding the importance of education and healthy brain development, the NEP 2020 aims to bolster the Early Childhood Care & Education system to provide additional support to young children so that they are prepared to begin their journey of learning.
The Education policy will also focus on students from historically marginalised and disadvantaged groups. Education is the only tool that can empower the marginalised sections of the society and provide them with more opportunities to achieve financial independence and lead a more enriched life. The NEP 2020 will ensure that young girls from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups get an equal opportunity to benefit from the Indian education system.
Education plays a key role in achieving social justice and creating an inclusive society that is free from inequality. Every Indian child must have the opportunity to get a quality education irrespective of their financial status, caste, creed and background. The National Education Policy aims to bridge the gap in educational outcomes and access to education due to any circumstance. In the present day, India is struggling with large disparities in gross enrolment rate for Grades 9-10 and 11-12 particularly for socio-economically disadvantaged groups.
There are various Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs) which can be classified based on:
- Gender identities (women, transgender)
- Socio-cultural identities (SC, ST, OBC and minorities)
- Geographical identities
The Socio-Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs) also include orphans, victims of child trafficking and low-income families.
NIPUN Bharat Scheme
National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat) is another important initiative that aims to improve the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy. NIPUN Bharat will use the existing educational structures and work in the following areas:
- Physical and Motor development
- Cognitive development
- Moral development
- Socio-emotional development
- Literacy and numeracy development
- Art and Aesthetic development
NIPUN Bharat also clearly specifies the priorities and agendas for all the Indian states and union territories to significantly improve foundational literacy and numeracy. The Minister of Education government of India has created a well-defined guideline which will ensure that the implementation of NIPUN Bharat is smooth and effective. The initiative will support students across India at the national, state, district, block and school level.
NIPUN Bharat will ensure proficiency in foundational literacy and numeracy of every child in the country by the end of grade 3 by 2026-27.
By the conclusion of grade 3, NIPUN Bharat will have ensured that every kid in the country is proficient in foundational literacy and numeracy. Children in classes 4 and 5 who have not yet mastered the foundation skills will receive further assistance. The mission’s objective must be followed by all government and private schools in order for the universal acquisition to be realised by 2026-27.