Education for all

Education for all – Challenges in India

All girls and boys should have access to quality education to reach their full potential.

The layers of inequity woven into India’s social fabric are well known, and teachers and students alike bring these to the school and classroom. Social divides like language, caste, faith, gender, location, culture and customs are inherited from generation to generation together with their inherent biases.

A child’s gender, economic class, location and ethnic identity largely define the type of school they will access, the kind of experiences they will have in school and the benefits they will reap from being educated. With the great diversity of learners in today’s classrooms, there comes the responsibility to provide equitable education to every child.

Ensuring equity and excellence by delivering equitable, quality education in formal schooling lies at the very core of any country’s educational system, in which the teacher – the key facilitator of the education process – plays the most important role in shaping the child’s journey through schooling.

Over the years, awareness has increased in India about the need to ensure that quality education reaches children from all social backgrounds. This is particularly the case for girls, and children of both sexes from Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), children with disabilities and children from linguistic, ethnic and religious minority groups.

Across India gender inequality results in unequal opportunities in education, and while it impacts on the lives of both genders, statistically it is girls that are the most disadvantaged. Girls are more likely than boys to drop out of school – this is because they are traditionally needed to support house work, it could be considered unsafe for them to travel to school or because a school lacks sanitation facility for them when they have their period. Gender stereotypes around a woman’s place being at home also persist and result in girls dropping out of school.

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