K-12 School Education Scenario in Rural India

Education in rural India has always been a great subject of discussion and we like bringing it into the light such that we eliminate the problems around us and make this society a better place for learners.

We as a true supporter of quality education believe that education is only the weapon which can bring the desired revolution covering all the major aspects of the socio-economic infrastructure existing in the country and enrich the human goals of living a meaningful life.

India is a home for millions of young people where every individual life with a dream of getting well educated, acquire a good job and contribute in the country’s growth directly or indirectly by seeking for settling down traditionally.

Putting a short glance on the actual scenario of K-12 education in rural India, clearly indicates that the educational practices have affected the existing generation living in the backward area of the society.

Reports state that the foremost reason behind the slow and improper growth of the young individuals in India is nothing but the negligence and carelessness towards the basic K-12 education in the remotest part of the country.

According to the data shared by UNESCO and information published in www.theirworld.org, around 0.9 Billion people in the world cannot read or write. 0.287 billion or 37% of the world's illiterate people are Indian population.

Since decades, educational leaders and government policies have been failing in bringing up the quality education consisting of global exposure in rural India and couldn’t resolve the existing issues in schools in rural India.

Poverty and illiteracy are directly proportional to each other - and with the 2nd largest population in the world, India is home to 1/3 of global poverty.

The poverty line of Indians is 22% and it has been evaluated that more than 1/2 of India’s population lacks even basic education and literacy skills.

An overview of K-12 Education in Rural India

India is the place where we find the highest rate of illiterate population in the world. The Indian educational system, especially sectors that rural poor, below poverty level (BPL) continues to be afflicted with a host of end number of problems, so, here we’re trying to make an attempt to mention some of the major issues which are faced by a large number of population residing in rural India.

The educational goals in rural India have rarely been considered as a serious subject matter and have always kept on hold whenever the time came upon taking strong actions on required educational situations.

Due to lack of attention towards the K-12 educational infrastructure in rural India, the schooling in the rural section has literally got affected and resulted in the failure of the education system.

Statistics indicate that one of the biggest concerns of educational leaders across the world, and especially in India, is making the current generation learners future-ready for Industrial 4.0.

Today, in the 21st Century, India is moderately young as a country with around 25 million youth population being added each year. However, India's high youth population would be of limited help to the Indian socio-economic infrastructure if global level education is not provided across India, especially in the rural section of Indian states.

Major Challenges faced by the people in rural India

The main problem India is going through is that all the pedagogical practices are to improve the quality of education in urban areas while the rural learners and their education are ignored at some point. With 65 % of the population living in the remotest part of India, education there truly deserves much more personal attention, especially when it is afflicted with multiple problems like shortage of teaching staff and poor quality of teachers, and lack of useful resources.

According to a report given by Oxfam, India’s literacy rate has comparatively increased since the end of the British rule in 1947 - from 12% to 74% in recent times but still, India has the world’s largest population of illiterate people significantly.

The statistic of quality education has improved comparatively but the situation of learning practices has remained the same in rural India.

In the course of our work spanning Rural India, we have come across some glaring challenges, some of which that standout is mentioned under:

  1. Lack of English language skills is leading to poor grades as student is unable to decipher the text in the books, question papers and answer effectively.

  2. Though governments seem to be promoting education of the girl child aggressively, the social and cultural impediments continue to diminish the chances of the girl child.

  3. Despite the advocacy of NGOs and civil society groups, the change has remained slow to come. Lip service and draft policies are not translated on ground.

  4. The importance of early education is tremendously underappreciated in rural India. The concept of preschool has been introduced through Aanganwadis yet there are places where early childhood education is unheard of. 

  5. School Infrastructure in rural India has always been neglected, thereby the unavailability of requisite educational facilities impacting the learning adversely.

  6. Lack of quality teaching faculty and educators are making education inaccessible.

  7. Teachers are kept on a temporary basis and then they do not try to continue their work at that place because it does not motivate them to deliver, and then they choose to quit and runoff from the place. Here, the government is expected to take responsibility for this situation.

  8. Lack of teacher training programs to motivate the teaching staff.

  9. Unavailability of the education aid and technological resources in the schools is leading to a lack of awareness, especially technological exposure in learning methodology.

  10. Insufficient funding for educational projects in rural India.

  11. Students in rural area fail secure grades at par with the urban learners. And the core reason behind this is nothing but poor availability of the required resources.

Following all the above situations, there are minimum possibilities for the students and learners to enjoy any of the career opportunities at their local residing area.

How to overcome these challenges?

The educational scenario in rural India really needs improvement and some strong actions are recommended.

  1. First, K-12 educational infrastructure must be taken care of, this will ensure the desired education is facilitated seamlessly.

  2. Requisite education aid must be made available.

  3. School environment must conduce education for girl children.

  4. Proper governance structure must be in place.

  5. Surprise school inspection should be performed by the higher authorities in rural regions so that the educators become punctual in delivering the expected educational outcomes to the generation living in that area.

  6. Facilitate teacher training more frequently and teacher exchange programs.

  7. The digital gadgets like computers, smartphones, projectors, etc. should be made available in schools so that the students get enough exposure to modern happenings in the world.

  8. School authorities in rural India should primarily focus on creating a learning atmosphere for the younger generation so that the students receive the motivation to learn and grow independently.

The storyline of the K-12 education in rural India inevitably revolves around the development and growth of the generation.

Understanding the global view of educational development, Indian rural areas need to get upgraded as early as possible, or else the history of Indian education will end up being unimpressive.

Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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