Education is a basic human right. Yet those who need education the most – children living in poverty – are the least likely to attend and complete school.

“Children in poor countries face many barriers to accessing an education. Some are obvious – like not having a school to go to – while others are more subtle, like the teacher at the school not having had the training needed to effectively help children to learn.”

(1) “10 Barriers to Education Around the World”

“One in six adults on the planet cannot read or write. Some 600 million women and 300 million men, 99 percent of them in the developing countries, remain illiterate. Some 115 million children between six and eleven—one in five—are not in school.

Of those who go to school, one in four drops out before completing five years of basic education — when research shows that adults with less than five to six years of education remain non-numerate and functionally illiterate. South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are the three regions where these problems are most severe.

Moreover, throughout the developing world, the quality of primary, secondary, and university education is rarely up to the standards required by the new world economy. And globally, we’re far away from seeing the emergence of a badly needed system of international accreditation.

Education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality and for laying the basis for sustainable growth. It has strong links not just to productivity growth but to improved health, to the ability to understand the need to care for the natural environment, and even to population stabilization. Girls’ education, for example, brings one of the highest returns known in the field of economic development. So education, like poverty, is an “underlier” issue par excellence, and both are strongly linked. Other global issues will be easier to solve if education is successfully tackled at a global scale.

Finally, the new world economy, with its knowledge intensity, requires a leap forward in each country’s education effort — from primary to higher education, and even to lifelong learning and the accreditation of competencies. If that does not happen in a very large number of countries, expect even greater inequalities between countries over the decades to come.

(2) Rischard, Jean-Francois. “High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years To Solve Them.”

India is the largest democracy in the world, with remarkable diversity among its population of 1.3 billion which makes up about 20% of the world’s population. Almost 70% of Indian population is rural. The adult literacy rate stands at about 60% – and this is significantly lower in women.

Education in India comprises of government, government aided and private institutions.

With the population growth rate of 1.5%, there is tremendous pressure on the education system to provide quality education at affordable prices, and thereby improve the literacy rate.

Today in India, there are over 65 million children of primary school age (5 to 11 years old) are not attending school.

Many of the poorer areas of India lack educational facilities. Even when schools are relatively close, the poorest families
often cannot afford to send their children to the nearest school.

With around 296 million illiterate citizens above the age of seven – the majority of whom are women – the government has initiated various programs and missions for the quantitative expansion of education.

In the present decade, the government has been trying to spread education to the most remote parts of the country with the help of various schemes to attract children residing in rural areas to attend school. Examples are the Midday Meal Scheme, and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All).

Despite mammoth efforts by the authorities, there are at least 50 to 60 million children in the age group of 6 to 14 years who are deprived of basic primary school education. Social and economic factors, as well as accessibility, are significantly responsible for this problem.

According to District Information System for Education (DISE) in India in 2009, only about 16.65% of schools in India have computers and 39% have electricity. Of which, only 6.47% of primary schools and 33.4% of upper primary schools have computers, and only 27.7% of primary schools have electricity. Learning in poorly furnished schools was not conducive, resulting in poor quality education.

Furthermore, the absence rates of teachers and students were high, while their retainment rates low. The incentives for going to school were not apparent, while punishment for absence was not enforced. Despite the government’s decree on compulsory education and the child labour ban, many children were still missing classes to go to work.