Women education in India and role of different sectors

The paper analyzes the role of various organizations, communities and stakeholders in the issue of women education in India. Women constitute nearly half the population of the world and 46.5% of the total population of India. Education for women is the most effective and best way to improve the nutrition, health and economic status of a household that constitutes a micro unit of a nation's economy and lack of education for women can be impediment to country's economic and social development. Women's education plays an important role in overall socio-economic development of the country. Educated women tend to promote education for their girl child along with providing better guidance to all her children. Moreover, educated women in India can eradicate the problem of infant mortality rate and high growth of population, for instance a recent survey found out that infant mortality is inversely related to the mother's education.

Stakeholder Analysis

In creating awareness and facilities for women education in India many communities are having a stake. Some of the communities/autonomous bodies working for the cause are:

  1. Government of India (as an autonomous body)
  2. Women human Rights Organizations
  3. All India's Women's Education Fund Association and
  4. Other Non-Government Organizations (NGO's)

All the above mentioned government and private bodies actively work for the development of education for women in India either individually or in conjunction with any other body. The role of each of the above mentioned organization in promotion of women education in India is as follows:

GOVERNMENT OF INDIA: Government of India as an autonomous body is always committed towards the development of education for women. Thought its various policies and strategies it has always worked towards increasing the female literacy rates in India. Until 1976, education was a state subject. But since its transfer to the concurrent list of constitutional amendment prior to 1976, government has played an active role by sponsoring schemes on promoting education for girls. Some of the programs and strategies adopted by the government of India for the cause are:

  • National Literacy Mission for imparting functional literacy: (http://www.nlm.nic.in) Government has formed a national literacy mission for imparting fictional literacy and contributes towards literacy campaigns to female literacy. Total literacy campaigns are launched since 1998 and since then they are making efforts to create an environment in which women demand information and knowledge and empowering themselves, infuse confidence in women about the possible change provided they work collectively, promoting the message that education is a pre-condition for fighting against their oppression. By promoting all these messages among the society and especially women, till now they have been successful in promoting the progress of women education in India.
  • Universal Policy for Elementary Education: The government of India through this policy highlighted the plight of an Indian girl child and stressed the need for Univesalization of the elementary and primary education as the way of addressing the issue. This policy also addressed the issue of gender equity and women's empowerment.
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: (http://ssa.nic.in, 2008) This is one of the program initiated by Ministry of Human Resource development in India which works for the same motive i.e. Univesalization of the elementary education. Under Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan 86th constitutional amendment act was passed in 2002 that made primary education a fundamental right for children between 6 to 14 years. The state determined to provide free and compulsory education to children within this age group. This was a path breaking legislation in India, showing major commitment towards the cause of promotion of education for women in India.

Through these efforts Government of India has made a sincere effort towards women education, and it was through these efforts that the trend of women educating saw a sharp change. Some of the changes observed by continuous effort of government are improved access to schooling, upswing enrolment in girls, decline in dropout rates and out of school girls, more girls being promoted to upper primary level, increased awareness for girl education in states with lowest female literacy rates.

WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION: There are few human rights organizations in India (some of them government sponsored while some being private autonomous bodies sponsored by corporate as a part of their corporate social responsibility), that has shown a sincere effort in working for the cause of women education in India. Thought the effort of these human rights organizations revolve mainly around the fundamental rights of women in India but still, in recent past these organizations have come up substantially towards creating awareness among the society, especially in states with very low female literacy rate. In some places in India, there are many girls school run by these organizations, in fund partnership with major corporate bodies. These provide elementary education to girls, either free of cost or at a very affordable price with the provision of earning scholarships. Thought these schemes are not as effective as strategic framework of government but still women human rights organizations are doing substantial progress in India to promote education for women.

ALL INDIA'S WOMEN'S EDUCATION FUND ASSOCIATION (AIWEFA): (http://www.aiwefa.org, 1995) It is a Non-Government body with special consultative status with the economic and social counsel of the United Nations. This is one of the oldest associations in India. Since its inception in 1929, by a group of visionary women including Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Sarojini Naidu and Lady Dorothy Irwin, it has constantly worked towards the objective of putting power into the hands of women. AIWEFA was set up to advance the issue of education for Indian women and recognizing this issue as the catalytic agent for social change. Since then it has worked towards the cause by organizing seminars focusing strategic leadership for rural women, convening an international conference named 'women on the march' and organizing legal literacy programs. By promoting girl education in India AIWEFA has achieved success to the far that it has got the chance to attend UN conference for women.

OTHER NON GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS (NGO'S): Many NGO's has played an influential role in Literacy training to improve the self-sufficiency of women in rural India. Realizing the role of women in economic development of the country, major goal of all NGO's is improving the literacy rate of women in rural India. Women literacy has been included as the goal of each NGO project all over India. Many of the NGOs in India are funded by nig corporate bodies, which divert a part of their business investment in these projects as a part of their corporate social responsibility. Active literacy programs are launched in many NGO's where women are being instructed in educational skills required to accomplish self-sufficiency goal. (J.park, n.d.) One of such project was Vanasthali Rural Development project in Pune with the total budget of 56 million. It operated in seventeen villages offering preschool training to young women. Although competition for funds (through corporate and Govt.) make it tempting for them to overstate their goals, still NGO's operating in the country are doing a lot of progress for the development of women education in India.

So, India is committed towards the development of women education and growth of female literacy rate. The initiative of government and various other organizations (like NGO's and human rights) through investment and infrastructure in developing education has lead to the significant progress in the performance of women education in India. With regard to facilities in schools, thought it has improved significantly but a lot more needs to be done. Education system in India needs focused approach towards women centered educational infrastructure so as to improve female literacy levels in India and to reduce women drop-out rates. Following the efforts made, India is expected to see a steep hike in the literacy rate of women in the census of 2011.

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