Despite gender parity in primary education in India, 41 per cent of girls drop out of school before Class VIII.
The United Nations Secretary-General launched the five-year Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in September 2012 to accelerate progress towards the Education for All goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals.
The 2013/14 Education for All Global Monitoring Report shows that a lack of attention to education quality and a failure to reach the marginalised have contributed to a learning crisis that requires urgent attention. About 250 million children, many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds, are not learning the basics, making it challenging for them to acquire skills for decent work and living.
The Global Education First Initiative’s has three main priorities: put every child in school, improve the quality of learning, and foster global citizenship.
In support of the global initiative, the UN Country Team in India, led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and United Nations Children’s Fund, and including ILO,UNDP and UNFPA, is focusing its joint advocacy and communications on the Global Education First Initiative for India, during the month of September 2014.
News from the Global GEFI:
Children and youth invited to help the UN raise awareness of disability, 1 December 2014
Elementary education in India is a fundamental right. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All Movement) is a flagship programme of the Government of India, initiated in 2000-01 to universalize elementary education. Interventions under the programme aimed at increasing the number of schools, ensuring that schools have drinking water and toilets, providing training to teachers and improving learning outcomes. Under the SSA, special focus on providing access to education to disadvantaged groups, minorities and girls, who are often left behind was also emphasized.
On 01 April 2010, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act in India initiated a rights based framework where every child between the age of six and fourteen years has the fundamental right to education. The RTE is a landmark legal provision in the Indian education system.
Read more on the Right to Education Act
There has been tremendous progress since the enactment of the Right to Education Act in India:
An estimated 8.1 million children between 6-13 years are out of school in India (source: All India survey of out-of-school children of age 6-13 years, SRI-IMRB, 2010), and millions more do not attend school regularly.
Despite achieving close to universal enrolment at primary level, 41 per cent children drop out before reaching Class VIII (source: Statistics of School Education, 2010-11, Ministry of Human Resource Development). The drop out rate is even higher for children from Scheduled Castes at 43 per cent and Scheduled Tribes at 55 per cent.
The number of schools in India that have separate toilet facility for girls has increased from 0.4 million (37 per cent) in 2005-06 to 1.24 million (88 per cent) in 2012-13. About 89 million girls in school now have access to toilets but seven million girls still lack access (source: DISE, NUEPA, New Delhi) .
There is an urgent need to provide access with a focus on equity, with special measures to bring in girls, children from disadvantaged groups and those with disabilities into schools.
2. QUALITY BASIC EDUCATION
Every girl and boy in India has the fundamental right to enjoy eight years of quality education, one that helps them acquire basic literacy and numeracy, enjoy learning without fear, and feel valued and included irrespective of where they come from. However, the quality of education remains one of the biggest challenges.
There is a need to shift from the Right to Education to the Right to Learn: children learn the basics of literacy and numeracy; schools are child friendly for conducive learning, and there are adequate teachers with professional qualifications for teaching.
Learning the basics:
An estimated 47 per cent of Class V students can read Class II text. National Achievement Surveys (source: NAS, NCERT, Class-3, Cycle-III, 2012-13) show that the overall national average score is 257 (on a scale of 0 to 500) for learning levels in language and 252 (on a scale of 0 to 500) for learning levels in mathematics. This means that many children in school are not learning the basics of literacy and numeracy.
Child Friendly Schools and systems:
The RTE Act makes child friendly quality education the fundamental right of every child. A child-friendly school (CFS) ensures every child an environment that is physical safe, emotionally secure and psychologically enabling. A child-friendly school with improved quality of education results in children staying in schools and thus accelerated realization of the RTE. The National guiding principles for CFS have been developed and need to be rolled out in the states.
Pupil Teacher ratio:
The RTE Act maintains that Pupil – Teacher ratio should be one teacher for every 30 students at the primary level and at one teacher for every 35 children at the upper primary level. 41 per cent schools at the primary level and 31 per cent schools at upper primary level meet the norm.
There are close to 7.7 million teachers in elementary schools in India, out of which nearly 60 per cent, i.e. 4.6 million are in government schools (source: DISE 2013-14). However, about 20 per cent of government teachers lack adequate professional qualifications, and many more lack the required skills, knowledge and attitudes to ensure effective learning.
3. GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION
The third priority of the Global Education First Initiative is to foster global citizenship, which aims to develop knowledge, skills, values and attitudes learners need for securing a world which is more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable (source: UNESCO 2014). The formulation of the goals for the post 2015 development agenda take into consideration the importance of Global Citizenship Education.
With 65 per cent of India’s population under 35 years of age, India is poised to become the world’s youngest country over the next two decades. In addition to access and quality education, global citizenship education in India can transform lives and give people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st Century.
The priorities of the Global Education First Initiative in India find resonance in the targets of the Right to Education Act. With 31 March 2015 approaching as the second important milestone of the RTE targets, recommendations to accelerate efforts to implement RTE targets for policy makers, educationists and practitioners are suggested:
|Slogan writing competition for the world education forum 2015
The Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) is running a twitter-based crowd sourcing competition for education partners to come up with a slogan for the World Education Forum 2015, to be held from 19-22 May 2015, in Incheon, Republic of Korea.
|Diverse societies, inclusive democracies: New skills for a sustainable world
25 November 2014
The first UNESCO MGIEP Distinguished Lecture by Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on ‘Diverse societies, inclusive democracies: New skills for a sustainable world’, was held at Teen Murti Bhavan, New Delhi.
|United Nations Public Lecture by Dr. Karan Singh, Member of Parliament
26 September 2014
|Education Policy Makers head to New Delhi for the Asian Summit on Education and Skills
18 September 2014
Education Ministers, policy makers and key educationists from Asian countries gathered in New Delhi for the India-led Asian Summit on Education & Skills. The inaugural session today was addressed by the Hon’ble Minister for Education of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Dr Farooq Wardaq; Hon’ble Minister of education of Nepal, Mrs Chira Lekha Yadav; Hon’ble Deputy Minister of Education of Malaysia, Mr P Kamalanathan P Panchanathan and Director and UNESCO Representative, Mr Shigeru Aoyagi.
|“Literacy and Sustainable Development”: 2014 International Literacy Day Celebrations
8 September 2014
The International Literacy Day, 8 September 2014, commenced with the prestigious celebratory event organized by the National Literacy Mission Authority, Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) at the Vigyan Bhawan, premier convention centre of Government of India in New Delhi. The highlight of the International Literacy Day celebration was the President’s address on the importance of the eradication of illiteracy in India. He reaffirmed India’s dedication in spreading adult literacy to marginalized and vulnerable groups, particularly girls and women. Smt. Smriti Irani, Honourable Union Human Resource Development Minister, directed the nation by urging the corporate sector to support the cause of the eradication of illiteracy.
|Launch of comic exhibit on “Right to Learn” on the occasion
International Literacy Day
08 September 2014
Marking International Literacy Day 8 September 2014, the United Nations Task Team on “Global Education First Initiative (GEFI)” in partnership with National Literacy Mission Authority, Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India and World Comics India, launched a comic exhibit on the “Right to Learn” at Dilli Haat, New Delhi. Dr. Ramakrishna Sura, Director, Directorate of Adult Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development released the comic newspaper. The comic exhibit is a collection of stories from children, youth and supporters reflecting their views on literacy and education, raising issues of Access, Equity and Quality Education for Life Long learning and sharing their aspirations of living in sustainable, prosperous and peaceful societies.
|Joint Forum and Media Sensitisation Meeting “UNiTE for Quality Education: Better Education for a Better World”
05 September 2014
5 September, 2014 marked the National Teachers’ Day in India. UNESCO New Delhi celebrated this occasion by attending and presenting at a joint forum organized by the representatives of three teachers’ organization, the All India Federation of Teachers Organizations (AIFTO), All India Primary Teachers’ Federation (AIPTF) and All India Secondary Teachers’ Federation (AISTF) as the members of the Education International (El).
|Global Skills Summit 2014
04 – 06 September 2014
ILO and UNESCO supported, as Institutional Partners, the 7th Global Skills Summit focused on “India’s Skill Ecosystem: from Design to Action” The Global Skills Summit initiated by FICCI brought together a wide range of domestic and international stakeholders to discuss and appraise new trends and technologies in skill development. Download the programmehere
|Launch of guidelines on Child-friendly Schools and Systems
04 September 2014
On the occasion of Teacher’s Day, UNICEF launched a set of guidelines that aim to make schools child-friendly and ensure secure, safe, rights-based, quality education, for each and every child. The launch was presided by Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India representative; Ms Kushal Singh, Chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and UNICEF Celebrity Advocate for Education Kareena Kapoor. The ‘Child-friendly Schools and Systems’ (CFSS) package highlights the need to keep continuous focus on the qualitative aspect of the Right to Education.
|School art and creative expression competition on the Right to Learn
The art work is a selection of some of the best entries received from a creative expression and art competition on the theme Right to Learn. In August 2014, the UN in India team on the Global Education First Initiative announced this competition and reached out to schools through their networks including UNESCO Associated Schools, UNESCO Clubs, Kendriya Vidyalayas and NineIsMine. Nearly 250 schools participated and over 2,000 entries were received including paintings, pencil sketches, comic strips, posters, collages, poems, stories, write-ups and slogans.
|The Right to Education with Equity: Access and Quality Education for All in India
The brochure prepared by the UN in India Task Team on Global Education First Initiative highlights the priorities for education for all in India: Access to Education with Equity, Quality Basic Education and Global Citizenship Education. It suggests ways in which the implementation of the Right to Education Act in India should be accelerated so that education for all is a reality for children in India..
|Right to Education Global Database
This unique global database on the right to education is designed to be a practical tool for monitoring, research and advocacy. It provides access to 195 country profiles and already hosts a library of over 1,000 documents including constitutions, legislations and policies on education in countries around the world.
The idea of developing such a database was born a few years ago. The objective was to offer a tool to strengthen the fundamental human right to education and spread information to the public on implementation at country level. Thanks to the several development phases, the database now enables users to access rich content through an interactive interface.
|Factsheet on Education in India
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is the primary source for cross-nationally comparable statistics on education, science and technology, culture, and communication for more than 200 countries and territories. The India fact sheet presents the latest available UIS data on key Education Indicators for India to identify trends at the national level.
|Thank Your Hero – Dr Kailash Maurya
Twice winner of the Ideal Teacher Award at the district and block level, in his 12 years as a teacher, Kailash Maurya has managed to bring over 600 kids, mostly from Schedule Tribes, to school in remote part of Uttar Pradesh. This wonderful teacher now has only one mission: to see that all children go to school and reach their potential.
|Speech by The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee On The Occasion Of International Literacy Day, 2014
08 September 2014, Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi
I am indeed happy to be present amidst you this afternoon in celebrating International Literacy Day. It is an occasion to remind ourselves of the significance of the ability to read and write. It is an opportunity to highlight the learning opportunities that can and should be taken up by those who want to learn these skills. It is a juncture when all the stakeholders reinforce their commitment to the common goals. Today, we celebrate the successful endeavours of individuals and organisations and we recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution for spreading adult literacy.
|Message From Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, Hon’ble Minister Of Human Resource Development On The Occasion Of International Literacy Day
08 September, 2014, Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi
International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8th September every year worldwide. It is an occasion to renew our resolve to eradicate illiteracy from our country. The empowering role of literacy and its significance for development have been recognized worldwide. Literacy opens up new horizons of opportunity and improves standards of life for all those women and men who live without access to basic reading and writing skills.
|Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO and Member of the GEFI Steering Committee on the occasion of the Joint UN Advocacy for Education Campaign, September 2014
This Joint Advocacy for Education Campaign comes at the right time on the right issue. India has made tremendous advances to meet the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals as well as the objectives of Education for All. The country has increased the participation of children in primary and secondary education, notably through the launch of The Right to Education Act in 2009. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Programme has been a flagship initiative to universalize elementary education across the country.
|Towards the Right to Learn
Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Representative to India says that India’s RTE is very progressive but there is a need to improve enrolment and learning outcomes
|Global Education First Initiative priorities for India
Shigeru Aoyagi Director and UNESCO Representative to India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, talks about GEFI priorities for India
|Education is a Human Right
“Education is a human right in itself and an indispensable means of realizing other human rights,”says Kishore Singh, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education.
|Implementing the RTE Act
Amraish Rai, National Convener, RTE Forum says that in 2013, only 10 per cent of schools in India were found to be RTE compliant
|200 days to implement RTE norms
Anjela Taneja, Head Policy, Global Campaign for Education says that the Government must prioritise adherence to RTE norms in a time bound manner and allow civil society to influence the agenda.
|Support Extension of RTE Act to Secondary Education
Did you know that children of mothers who are educated have better chances of not being undernourished, compared to girls who have never been educated. Investing in girls’ education is an important component of strategies to prevent child mortality, child marriage and teenage pregnancies
|Education for All: Towards Quality with Equity – India
India has made significant progress towards the goal of Education for All during the past few years. Keeping in view the pace of progress achieved till 2000, several programmes have been formulated and implemented since 2001 to advance the goal of Education for All. These policies and programmes have been implemented through the collaborative efforts of Government of India and the State/UT Governments, and through district level decentralized management structures, involving local bodies.
|All in school Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children
A Situational Study of India
The Global Initiative aims to improve the statistical information and analysis regarding out-of-school children, to identify the factors that contribute to their exclusion from schooling and to assess the effectiveness of existing policies. India is in a unique position in respect to many other developing countries as the decision to universalise elementary education has been a part of the national policy since the late 1980s.
|All Children in School by 2015: Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children: South Asia regional study covering Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
The South Asia study and the country studies aim to understand the scale of the problem of exclusion of children in the four countries as well as in the region. This study shows there are a total of 27 million children out of school in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, of whom 17 million are of primary school-age and 9.9 million of lower secondary school-age.
PM Modi’s Masterclass on Public Speaking and Leadership for Teachers’ Day
[Date: 04 September 2015, Source: NDTV]
President Pranab Mukherjee Turns Teacher For the Day: LIVE Coverage
[Date: 04 September 2015, Source: NDTV]
BJP STATES’ MINISTERS TO MEET AHEAD OF MODI’S EDU POLICY
[Date: 04 September 2015, Source: The Pioneer]
Maharashtra government to conduct fresh survey of out-of-school kids in November
[Date: 04 September 2015, Source: DNA]
Led by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and United Nations Children’s Fund, and including ILO, UNDP and UNFPA, the Task Team is supporting the Government of India’s implementation of the Right to Education Act.