The Challenges of Education In Rural India

When we talk about Education in India, we can’t just talk about how Education in Urban cities of India, without going deep into rural Education that constitutes almost 90% of the schools being located in rural areas. When we think about bring in a reformation in Education, we have to point out what all prevent the Education system in India to develop. The most common problems that hinder the growth of Education in rural India can be pointed out as:

Lack of proper transportation most villages have poor connectivity from one place to another, despite efforts by local governing bodies to build schools, often go in vain. Children, most of times have to walk miles to reach these government funded schools and this often demotivate them to attend the school on regular basis.

People belonging to remote rural areas have meager incomes, which at times is to less to sustain a family of may be four or five. Most likely, children from these families won’t not be sent to schools, instead would be asked to assist the earning member of the family to add up some extra income. On the other hand, Teachers in rural educational centres in villages are paid poorly, often leading to lack of attention by teachers, ultimately forcing the student to suffer.

Lack of proper infrastructure at these rural schools is also a big concern. Most of the school don’t have proper classrooms, teaching equipment, playgrounds and even basic facilities like sitting chairs, blackboard etc. Thus, the poor condition of schools is the big reasons to away the students.


A comprehensive survey conducted by the NGO pratham, called ASER (The Annual status of Education Report)- which has reached about 3,00,000 households and 7,00,000 children’s, spanning every rural district in India – has put out interesting and alarming statistics.

  • 4% of std. III  Children cannot read words in their own language.
  • 1% of std. III Children cannot solve a 2-digit subtraction problem.
  • 5% of std. V Children cannot do a simple division problem.
  • 8% of the std. V Children cannot read a std. II level text.

This is definitely a cause of worry. Rural schools are not only failing existing students, but also poised to fail the 15.8 crore (158 million) children in the age group of 0-6 who was slated to join the ranks of primary school goers in the coming years.


Secondly, families in rural India struggle to make ends meet. Their low income is hardly enough to cover daily supplies of food and shelter let alone Education. Children are needed to work in fields, which eventually mean that they drop out school, usually after their primary Education. A report by UNICEF estimates that there is a 40-percentage point difference in attendance rate between primary (69.4%) and secondary (39.1%) students coming from poor families. Also, more children in the age group of 5-14, whose parents are not educated, seem to be opting to go for work instead of staying in school (UNICEF report). Clearly financial stability and awareness of the opportunities provided via a good education are big factor in ensuring continued education in these families.


The opportunities for improving rural Education are endless. Government do their part, but NGOs and private-sector companies will play a vital part as well.Unites seed fund has made it first Education-sector investment in Hippocampus Learning Centres, a for-profit Bop start-up that’s already improving the Education of children across 80 villages in south India.

The role of the Education in facilitating a social and economic progress is well accepted. Access to Education is critical to access emerging opportunities that accompany economic growth. Keeping in view of this accepted fact there has been a major thrust on Education since Independence; but as far as ensuring quality Education in rural India is concerned it has always been one of the biggest challenges for the government.

The Education sector has received considerable attention in the recent Budget (for the year 2011-2012) too – which has announced a significant increase of 24 percent in the total allocation for Education sector. The existing operational norms of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have also been revised to implement the right of Education to free and compulsory Education, which has come into effect from 1 April 2010. Allocation to achieve the objectives of the Right to Education (RTE), which has been aligned with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, were hiked from Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 21,000 crore. While this is targeted at strengthening elementary Education, the centre is now focusing on “Vcationalisation” of secondary Education, which will enable students to pursue job-oriented courses at the plus to level. Initiatives has also been taken to increase retention of Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) students in class IX and X but introducing a pre-matriculation scholarship. The human resource development (HRD) ministry’s allocation have gone up to Rs 52,057 crore from last year’s Rs 43,836 crore. Though the recent budget seems to be providing a major impetus towards the country’s overall Education growth but due to various socio-economic factor, India’s Education program continues to be denigrated. Of the biggest victims of the Educational system are those living in rural areas?

Still issues of quality and access remains areas of concern particularly in the sphere of rural areas continue to be deprived of the quality Education in India. Children in rural areas continue Education in India. Children in rural areas continue to be deprived of quality Education owing to factors like of competent and committed teachers, lacks of textbooks or teaching-learning materials, and so on. A large number of teachers refuse to teach in rural areas and those that do, are usually under qualified. The much publicised mid day meal scheme meant to reduce drop-out rates in school, seems to be not yielding the desired results due to alleged misappropriation of funds meant for the scheme, mismanagement, lack of seriousness among the implementing authorities, diversion of funds, lack of awareness among the parents of poor children, etc.

The next most pressing challenge is to boost the access in rural areas to secondary Education, particularly for girls, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and minorities as well as to ensure availability of technical and vocational Education and skills. At this level of the Education system the private sector is growing rapidly and playing an imperative role of service provider.

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