Women Education in India

Women Education in India

Literacy rate of any country is an indicator of its economic development and the yardstick that measures the social status of a particular gender. Education is the mind’s nourishment, sharpening of the intellect, refining of the spirit and integration of the personality that boosts self and societal development.

India occupies a vital position in the higher educational domain and as compared with other counties rank third after the United States and China. However, the literacy rate of women is appalling in most of the states in the country. Thus, access to education has been the most essential and urgent requirements for the overall socio-economic development of the nation.

Quoting Swami Vivekanada- “Can you better the condition of your women? Then there will be hope for your well-being. Otherwise you will remain as backward as you are now…..Educate your women first and leave them to themselves; then they will tell you what reforms are necessary for them.”

Women’s education has also been a foremost major concern of the Government of India and several other organizations and prompted them to take crucial steps for the betterment of the condition.

Government’s Role in Women Education Upliftment

For several years the hegemonic masculine society denied several rights to women leading to a deteriorated state. The intervention of the government and the augment of several feminist groups led to some improvements and development of policies to uplift the educational rights of women. Some essential steps undertaken by the government are:

  • National Literacy Mission for imparting functional literacy
  • Universalisation for Elementary Education
  • Non-Formal Education
  • Setting up of free educational programs for poor people residing in towns and villages
  • Development of new school and colleges at both district and state levels
  • Formation of several committees that will monitor and ensure the proper utilization of the allotted funds for the improvement of literacy rate
  • Realizing of funds for the proper development of literacy policies and their execution

A Glimpse of the History

Way back in 1986 the government, with the aim to encourage the development of women’s education, launched several policies such as:

  • 1986 National Policy on Education
  • 1992 Program of Action
  • SSA program launched in 2001
  • National Curriculum Framework in 2005
  • National Curriculum Framework for Teacher Education in 2010

With these several other effective schemes were also formulated to complement the policies:

  • National Program for the Education of Girls at the Elementary Level,
  • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya Scheme
  • The Mahila Samakhya program that was launched in 10 states for education to rural women of the marginalized sections. The program offered provisions for education and raised awareness for education through seminars and meetings
  • Establishment of separate schools for girls, open learning resources, coaching facilities, residential schooling and others
  • Providing scholarships, uniforms, textbooks and transport like bicycles
  • For empowering the women acts such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Right to Education (RTE) have also been initiated

A Look into the Statistical Report over the Years

In 1981 among the female population of India the percentage of literate women was 28.5% but with concentrated efforts by 2001 the literacy rate exceeded to 50% with female literacy in the being 54.16% but it was low as per the world standards. The government then launched Saakshar Bharat Mission for Female Literacy aiming to curtail the female illiteracy by half. In 2011 as per the Population Census of India the Literacy rate of India reflected improvement of approximately 9%. It consists of male literacy rate 82.14% and female literacy rate is 65.46%. However, in Indian there is wide disparity between female literacy rates in different states.

The educational growth rate of 2011 and the wide difference of male and female literacy rate can be judged from the following chart:

Literacy Rate in India

The chart suggests New Delhi, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Tripura, Goa, Daman & Diu, Puducherry, Chandigarh and Delhi are the top states with highest women literacy rate. The factors for low literacy rate in other states are:

  • Gender inequality
  • Girl child labor at a very young age
  • Economic exploitation and social discrimination
  • Low enrolment of girls in schools
  • Marrying girls at a young age
  • Low retention rate
  • High dropout rate

At present the Government and the other esteemed organizations are launching several other schemes for further improvement and enhanced state of literacy rate. The ministry for human resources development (MHRD) and The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) have drafted a ‘National vision for Girls’ Education in India – Roadmap to 2015′ aiming for a better approach for girl’s education. For the next one year Shiksha Ka Haq Abhiyan will be the keystone for implementing RTE. For this, the government will connect with the media, community and other stakeholders ensuring the perfect implementation of the plans at every step and level. For realization of the plans recently, in 2014 the government approved Rs 245 crore to relate women sections and minority communities with school education.

Education thus, boosts a woman’s self-esteem, het outlook, her employment opportunities and the confidence to deal issues single handedly. The government is thus taking significant steps for the realization of the dream of a fully literate society.

Image courtesy: centreright.in

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