India is the world’s second most populated country with a population of 1,3 billion (almost 18% of the world population). 50% are less than 26 years old and 30% less than 14.
Despite its sustained development rate and despite India being one of the major emerging economies of the world, social and economic disparities in the country are abyssal. 55.5% of the population earns less than $ 2 per day. 67% of out-of- school children come from Muslim communities or scheduled castes and tribes.
India also has the largest population of illiterate adults in the world (est. 287 million, according to the last census). Illiteracy is more important – up to a 20% difference – among women and scheduled castes and tribes, as well as in rural areas and in specific States (Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar).
Challenges related to education
Although education is a fundamental right, and perceived as the basis of a fair, inclusive and developed society, the challenges for providing schooling to children from poorer backgrounds are numerous:
- Access to school (insufficient number of schools, distances too long to reach the school).
- Cultural barriers (parents refuse to send their daughters to school).
- Poor quality of education in public schools and inaccessibility of private schools (cost).
- High rate of absenteeism (illness, tasks to be accomplished at home).
- The State lacks the means to maintain the existing public school infrastructures.
In vulnerable areas (poverty, remoteness, exclusion), these difficulties discourage parents from sending their children to school, thus directly impacting the percentage of out-of-school children.
Since 1992 ASED has helped to improve the situation by working with Indian associations which provide innovative and high quality education and professional training, in line with the country’s economic realities. The most vulnerable youth can thus escape the vicious circle of illiteracy and poverty and aspire to a better future that will improve their quality of life and that of their families and their communities. To know more : ASED India Strategy