Education, skill training imperative for reducing poverty: Study

October 6th, 2009 - 6:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) Quality secondary education and skill-based training are critical in breaking the poverty cycle in which millions of Indian families are caught up, a World Bank study said Tuesday.
“In India, the maximum job growth in recent years has taken place in the skilled services and manufacturing sectors. The country therefore needs to provide the 12 million young people who join the labour force every year with the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes and experiences,” said the study.

Comparing India with some other countries, the report said India has a lower gross enrolment rate to schools as compared to countries with lower per capita income.

India’s enrolment rate is 40 percent, compared to 70 percent in East Asia and 82 percent in Latin America.

Considering that the number of secondary school students is expected to increase to 60 million, the multi-lateral funding institution said India needs to dramatically improve access, enrolment and quality in secondary education, simultaneously.

Forty million children were enrolled in secondary school in 2008, the majority of them were boys, children from the urban areas, and those who belonged to the wealthier segments of the population.

Enrolment rates also vary between states, with 92 percent in Kerala, 44 percent in Tamil Nadu, 22 percent in Bihar, and 4 percent in Jharkhand. Of the total secondary students, 37 percent fail, and 11 percent dropout before exam.

“Private unaided schools provide 30 percent of total secondary enrolment nationwide (2004-05), up from 15 percent in 1993-94. Their dramatic rise, however, leads to the increasing inequality as poorer households cannot afford to pay the costs of their children’s secondary education,” said the report.

The government’s recently launched centrally sponsored scheme for secondary education - Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan - offers a tremendous opportunity to set up a mass secondary education structure, the report said.

The bank further urged the government to build public schools in places where private suppliers are unlikely to venture, introduce double-shift teaching in urban schools and invest in revising curriculum.

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