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Education in Rural India: Schemes for Women and Youth

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Published: 27th Jan, 2021

Education in Rural India: Schemes for Women and Youth
  • The vision of a modern India, free from poverty, rests overwhelmingly on the growth and development of rural India. Challenges are abound on every front—from lack of resources to infrastructural bottlenecks to social constructs.
  • Education for children and skill training for adults is ultimately the only way to help rural Indians escape the poverty trap.
  • Coming to rural women, though there has been enhanced access to education over the years, those who are more educated remain unemployed because of the unavailability of formal jobs and low wages.
  • Retaining children remains a challenge for the schooling system. According to government data, in 2015-16, Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) was 56.2 percent at senior secondary level as compared to 99.2 percent at primary level.
  • The decline in GER is higher for certain socio-economically disadvantaged groups, based on: (i) gender identities (female, transgender persons), (ii) socio-cultural identities (scheduled castes, scheduled tribes), (iii) geographical identities (students from small villages and small towns), (iv) socio-economic identities (migrant communities and low income households), and (v) disabilities.
  • As per the National Sample Survey Report (71' round), more than 12 percent of rural households in India did not have secondary schools within 5 km whereas in urban areas this percentage is less than one percent.
  • According to the 2018-19 all-India survey on higher education (AISHE),GER in higher education in India is 26.3 percent, which is calculated for 18-23 years of age group. GER for male population is 26.3 percent and for females, it is 26.4 percent. For Scheduled Castes, it is 23 percent and for Scheduled Tribes, it is 17.2 percent as compared to the national GER of 26.3 percent.
  • According to the 2018-19 data, 53 percent colleges are located in rural areas while 11.04 percent colleges are exclusively for females. About 70 percent of people in India belong to the rural areas.
  • According to the PLFS Survey, unemployment rate in India was 5.8 percent in 2018-19. It was 5.6 percent among males and 3.5 percent among females in rural areas, while the rates were 7.1 percent among males and 9.9 percent among females in urban areas.

Rooting for Rural Education

Samagra Shiksha Scheme

  • An integrated scheme for school education with effect from 2018-19, which envisages the 'school' as a continuum from pre-school, primary, upper primary, secondary to senior secondary levels and subsumes the three erstwhile centrally sponsored schemes -SarvaShikshaAbhiyan (SSA), RashtriyaMadhyamikShikshaAbhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • Bridging gender and social category gaps at all levels of school education is one of the major objectives of the scheme.
  • Under the scheme, provision has been made for giving preference to Special Focus Districts (SFDs), Educationally Backward Blocks (EEBs), Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts, and aspirational districts.
  • The scheme provides for infrastructural strengthening of existing government schools based on the gaps determined by Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) and proposals received from respective States/UTs.
  • Various interventions have been targeted to promote education, which include opening of schools in the neighbourhood as defined by the State, provision of free text-books up to Class VIII, uniforms to all girls and SC, ST, BPL boys up to class VIII, provision of gender segregated toilets in all schools, teachers' sensitisationprogrammes to promote girls' participation, construction of residential quarters for teachers in remote/hilly areas/in areas with difficult terrain.
  • In addition, there is a provision for twinning of schools under which well-functioning private or government schools in urban or semi-urban areas are linked with schools located in rural areas for interaction and exchange of experience.
  • Meritorious students belonging to the economically weaker sections can avail the benefit of scholarship under National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme.

Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNVs)

  • The main objective is to provide good quality modern education -- including a strong component of inculcation of values, awareness of the environment, adventure activities and physical education — to talented children predominantly from the rural areas without regard to their family's socio-economic condition.
  • The Navodaya Vidyalaya Scheme envisages opening of one JNV in each district of the country.

Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS)

  • Introduced in 1997-98 to provide quality school education to Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in remote areas and to bring them at par with the general population.
  • As per Budget announcement 2018-19, every block having 50 percent or more ST population and at least 20,000 ST persons is to have an EMRS by the year 2022.

Mid-Day Meal Scheme

  • Scheme is targeted at young children studying upto Class VIII, it is one of the most successful programmes for keeping young children from disadvantaged sections like poor, dalits, tribals, girls and children of labour work force in schools.
  • Approximately 11.59 crore children in around 11.5 lakh schools benefit daily from MDM.

Targeted intervention for Girls (under Samagra Shiksha)

  • Opening of schools in the neighbourhood as defined by the state.
  • Provision of free text-books and uniforms to girls up to Class VIII.
  • Provision of gender segregated toilets in all schools.
  • Teachers' sensitization programmes to promote girls' participation, provision for self-defense training for the girls from classes VI to XII.

Kasturba Gandhi BalikaVidyalayas

  • KGBVs have been sanctioned in Educationally Backward Blocks (EBBS) under SamagraShiksha, which are residential schools from class VI to XII for girls belonging to disadvantaged groups such as SC, ST, OBC, Minority and Below Poverty Line (BPL).
  • Presently, 4881 KGBVs are functional in which 53.42% are girls belonging to SC/ST communities.

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme works to develop an enabling environment for girl child education. It is a tri-ministerial, convergent effort of the Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
  • Specific objectives are:
    • Prevent gender biased sex selective elimination.
    • Ensure survival and protection of the girl child and
    • Ensure education and participation of the girl child through coordinated and convergent efforts.
  • Evaluation of BBBP scheme carried out by National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) in August 2020 has indicated a positive behavioural change towards the value of girl child.
  • As per Health Management Information System of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, sex ratio at birth has been set as a parameter for monitoring the progress of this scheme. The sex ratio at birth has shown an improvement of 16 points at national level from 918 (2014-15) to 934 (2019-20).

Empowering the Rural Woman

Mahila Shakti Kendra Scheme

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme under Ministry of Women and Child Development to empower rural women through community participation to facilitate women centric schemes and provide a foothold for Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP)
  • Capacity building of women collectives is envisaged in collaboration with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) co-operatives societies/KrishiVigyanKendrasin not more than 50 percent of the MSK blocks in the 115 aspirational districts to address livelihood needs of women, particularly those in remote/ vulnerable areas where women are not in a position to move out individually of their immediate surroundings for formal skill training.

Adult Literacy Programmes

Saakshar Bharat Programme (operational till March 2018)

  • It went beyond the '3' R's (i.e., Reading, Writing and Arithmetic); for it also sought to create awareness of social disparities and a person's deprivation on the means for its amelioration and general well-being.

PadhnaLikhnaAbhiyaan(replacing Saakshar Bharat Programme)

  • It focusses on achieving 100 percent literacy by 2030.
  • Under this scheme, massive literacy projects will be launched in the tribal and forests areas, prisons, slums, etc., with technology as a facilitator.

Skills Training in Higher Education

  • The National Education Policy 2020 envisages that the school curriculum and pedagogy will aim for holistic development of learners by equipping them with key 21st century skills and reduction in curricular content to enhance essential learning and critical thinking.
  • The policy emphasizes integration between vocational and academic streams in all schools and higher education institutions in a phased manner.
  • Vocational education will start on school from the 6th grade and will include internship.

Scheme for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS)

  • SHREYAS is a programme conceived for students in degree courses, primarily non-technical, with a view to introduce employable skills into their learning.
  • It aims to cover 50 lakh students by 2022 by providing 'on the job work exposure' and stipend.

National Apprenticeship Training Scheme (NATS)

  • Instituted by Board of Apprenticeship Training/Practical Training, Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • It provides skill training to fresh graduates, diploma holders in engineering and technology and Plus 2 vocational pass-outs, which rural youth can take advantage of.

Pradhan MantriKaushal VikasYojana (PMKVY)

  • Implemented by Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship with an objective to provide skilling to one crore people under Short Term Training (STY) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) across the country for four years i.e. 2016-2020.
  • Under this scheme, post placement support of 1500/- per month per trainee is applicable for special groups including women for 2-3 months post training.


  • The current public expenditure on education in India has been around 4.43 percent of GDP (Analysis of Budgeted Expenditure 2017-18) and around 10 percent of the total government spending (Economic Survey 2017-18).
  • The National Education Policy 2020 states that the Centre and states will work together to increase the public investment in education sector to reach 6 percent of GDP at the earliest. Within this gigantic exercise, we need to especially track the path that rural women and rural youth.

Verifying, please be patient.

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