415 million Indians have never been to an educational institution
“You can determine the state of a nation by examining the status of its women,” Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru noted.
No less than 415 million people in India, nearly three times the population of Russia, have never attended an educational institution, of which 242 million (58%) are women, a IndiaSpend analysis of census data reveals.
The data reveals three major trends:
No less than 1,403 women have never attended an educational institution for every 1,000 men who have not. The ratio increases sharply from 17 years to the 30-34 age group where it is 2,009 years, which means that for every man who has never attended an educational institution, there are two women who haven’t.
In terms of school attendance, the number of women per 1,000 men remains fairly stable until the age of 16, and drops considerably from 17 to 24. And more women than men (over 24) attend school after marriage, especially in rural areas.
For colleges, the ratio is fairly stable in the 18-19 age group, but begins to drop from the 20-24 age group. The trend observed in colleges is ultimately reflected in a decrease in the number of women entering the labor market.
The sex ratio in India (number of women per 1,000 men) is 943, but only 845 women currently attend any educational institution (including schools, colleges, vocational training centers, literacy centers and other institutions) for 1,000 men who do so.
No less than 314 million people in India currently attend an educational institution of which only 45.7% (144 million) are women.
The pan-Indian ratio fluctuates between 905 and 885 in the 0-14 age groups and begins to decline from the age of 15. The 25-29 age group has the worst ratio with 587 women ever attending school per 1,000 men.
A closer look at the data reveals that women in rural India fare worse than urban India. Only 837 women are enrolled in an institution in rural India per 1,000 men compared to 861 in urban India.
There are two main reasons for these trends, according to Rakhee Badhwar, Rajasthan State Program Manager at the Center for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), an advocacy.
Early marriage of girls. As soon as a girl turns 17 or 18, parents start to worry about marriage, especially in rural areas, Badhwar said. According to census data, up to 41.3% of girls in India are married before age 19.
Lack of transport. Most often, schools and colleges are located far from girls’ homes in rural areas. Security concerns and lack of transportation prompt parents to prevent girls from attending schools / colleges.
Almost 17 million Indian children are married between the ages of 10 and 19 – 6% of the age group, as IndiaSpend had reported earlier.
Of these married children, 76%, or 12.7 million, are girls, according to census data. Only four million boys in this age group are married, which reinforces the fact that girls are significantly more disadvantaged.
The rural-urban divide is evident: 47.3% of 19-year-old women are married in rural India compared to 29.2% in urban areas.
Women drop out of high school, but changes occur in rural areas after marriage
Across India, 872 women attend schools per 1,000 men. This ratio begins to decline from 17 years to the 20-24 age group, where it is 656, and then increases in subsequent age groups.
Although India has achieved impressive primary school enrollment levels – 101.4% IndiaSpend reported – the number plunges to 52% at upper secondary level.
The data also revealed an interesting trend – 1.55 million women over the age of 24 attend school – including 1.19 million (77%) in rural areas, contradicting the usual trend.
âYes, there has been some awareness in rural areas for continuing education after marriage, but it needs to be strengthened,â Badhwar said.
There are several adult education programs run by non-governmental organizations (NGOs): TaraAkshar by Development Alternatives, Adult Literacy Program (Women) by Pratham and Education for Adult Women by PRAYAS.
The Ministry of Human Resources Development manages the Sakshar Bharat (Literate India) program to promote adult education.
Fewer women attend university; India has one of the lowest female labor rates
As the data reveals, the high enrollment rate of girls in school does not translate into university enrollment.
Currently, only 691 women attend university for every 1,000 men. The ratio drops from 825 in the 19-year-old age group to just 531 in 25-29 year-olds.
The absence of women in colleges translates into fewer women in the workforce and, therefore, a lower contribution to the country’s GDP.
At 17%, Indian women contribute less to the country’s GDP than the world average of 37%. In contrast, China registers 41%, sub-Saharan Africa – often considered the most backward region in the world by many indices – 39% and Latin America 33%, IndiaSpend had reported, based on a report from the McKinsey Global Institute.
To increase the number of women in the workforce over a decade, India needs to close the gender gap in primary and secondary education, upgrade skills, strengthen legal provisions for women and enforce laws. laws, according to the report.
The Ministry of Human Resources Development last year announced the Pragati One Girl Per Family Scholarship – with an income of less than Rs 6 lakh per year – for technical education in colleges across India.
Click here for raw data.
(Saha is a freelance journalist based in New Delhi.)
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