[Answered] Discuss various challenges in increasing access to education to students from deprived backgrounds? How these challenges can be removed?

Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual Introduction.
Body. Various challenges in increasing access to education. Reforms needed.
Conclusion. Way forward.

Access to education is a major bottleneck in Indian education. Currently there is a situation of relatively lower enrolment rates in upper primary and secondary education. Ensuring mobility of students from elementary to primary to secondary to tertiary education is a key challenge. Relatively slower progress in reducing the number of illiterates is also a huge challenge.

Various challenges in increasing access to education:

  1. A lack of funding for education: Developing countries can’t rely solely on their own financing for education, there’s also a need for more foreign aid. Lack of funds lead to inaccessibility of education due to poor schools or lack of teachers.
  2. Having no teacher, or having an untrained teacher: Teacher effectiveness has been found to be the most important predictor of student learning. There aren’t enough teachers to achieve universal primary or secondary education, and many of the teachers that are currently working are untrained. As a result, children aren’t receiving a proper education. 
  3. Poor Infrastructure: A child cannot learn without the right environment. Children in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are often squeezed into overcrowded classrooms, classrooms that are falling apart, or are learning outside. They also lack textbooks, school supplies, and other tools they need to excel. It’s not just a lack of classrooms that’s the problem, but also all the basic facilities you would expect a school to have — like running water and toilets. When girls don’t have access to safe toilets, they are often harassed or attacked when looking for a private place to go.
  4. The exclusion of children with disabilities: Despite the fact that education is a universal human right, Many disables are being denied access to school. Students with disabilities have lower attendance rates and are more likely to be out of school or leave school before completing primary education. They are suspended or expelled at a rate more than double the rate of their non-special education peers.
  5. Distance from home to school: For many children around the world, a walk to school of up to three hours in each direction is not uncommon. This is just too much for many children, particularly children living with a disability, those suffering from malnutrition or illness, or those who are required to work around the household. Many children, especially girls, are also vulnerable to violence on their long and hazardous journeys to and from school.
  6. The expense of education: Many of the poorest families, school remains too expensive and children are forced to stay at home doing chores or work themselves. Families remain locked in a cycle of poverty that goes on for generations.

Reforms needed:

  1. Appropriate regulatory and monitoring rules and mechanisms should be designed for private pre-schools.
  2. Curricular reforms should be carried out to meet the emerging aspirations and align to national goals of social cohesion, religious amity and national integration.
  3. Each State should undertake a detailed exercise of school mapping to identify schools with low enrolment and inadequate infrastructure.
  4. Minimum standards for provision of facilities and student outcomes across all levels in school education should be laid down.
  5. Framework and guidelines for ensuring school safety and security of children should be developed.
  6. The government should should steps for reaching the long pending goal of raising the investment in education sector to at least 6% of GDP as a priority
  7. Instead of setting up new institutions, which require huge investments, priority of the Government should be to expand the capacity of existing institutions.

India currently has the highest number of non literates in the world. Research highlights the importance of early childhood education. Participation in pre-school education remains low in the country. Expanding access to early childhood education and provide equal opportunity to all children to prepare them for formal education should be a priority task.

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