Resources help build nations and the availability of competent human resources is the foundation of this process. For it is humans who can utilise the resources and turn them into finished goods. Good human resources provide better overall production, which results in favorable economic circumstances. The key to cement quality in human resources is education.
In a developing country like India, we have developed and under-developed areas. This variation results in unequal access to education. According to the 2011 Census, Bihar had the lowest literacy rate of 47% compared to Kerala which had the highest rounding up to 91%! Juxtaposing the literacy rates of these two states shows us the unequal access to education across India.
There are a variety of factors that cause these inconsistencies. Racial and gender discrimination, financial instability, social and cultural stereotypes, and lack of necessary institutions are some of the factors that may deny access to education.
Owing to the stereotypical social construct that exists in India, racial and gender discrimination has held back countless young children from enjoying the access to education. Gender discrimination exists in our country to this day as young girls are denied education. We can see that statistically male literacy rate is higher than female literacy rate (Male literacy rate ~ 78.8% while Female literacy rate ~ 59.3%). Racial discrimination is not as prominent these days as it was before independence and a short while after it, but it isn’t non-existent. No institution can deny someone’s right to education based on their race, but the social tension caused by racial difference does have a small amount of effect on communities. Some people simply lack the financial resources to educate their child or themselves. Even though government schools take a minimum amount of money (or no money at all), they might not be close by for them to attend.
Indian education system lacks uniformity. We have different curriculums that change state wise. The ideal curriculum will be uniform, as the same pattern of study will be followed throughout the country. This uniform curriculum will make way for the government to introduce public schools which will provide the same education as that of private schools (making it more like the developed US system of education). When public and private schools teach the same curriculum, we will have achieved true equality throughout the country mainly in terms of knowledge and quality of education. This proposition is a far-fetched concept in contrast to the current system, and it cannot be implemented in a day. It will have to be a long drawn and well thought out process.
As of now, the government has taken a few measures to ensure the underprivileged children have access to education. Some of which are: mid-day meal plans which encourage students to come to school, schools for the immigrants (mostly tribal communities who move from one place to another), introduction of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan (the 86th amendment of the Constitution of India states that education is the fundamental right of children between the ages of 6-14), etc.
We have to contribute to the growth of our nation, be it in the smallest possible way. We can spread awareness about education, and help communities around us break the bounds of social-economic barriers which hold them back and stop their development. At the end of the day, we all are the citizens of this country and of this world and growth is always in the best benefit of someone or the other.