In India, education is considered to be a fundamental right for children up to the age of 14 years. The government has, therefore, created several political cues to eradicate inequality and five universal access to education for all learners. In educational institutions, inequality is often related to access and outcomes. According to Article 45 of the Directive Principles of State Policy,
“The State shall endeavor to provide, within ten years from the commencement of the Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they attain the age of 14 years.”
Equality ensures that every student has equal access to a high-quality education regardless of their social background. It also ensures that all students are accountable to the same standards and objectives without taking into account their circumstances, abilities, or experiences. However, in inequality, there may be an unequal distribution of the same.
Gender Concerns Related to Access and Enrolment Systems
Some gender concerns related to access and enrolment systems are as follows:
Lack of Coordination
There is a lack of coordination between the local community and the educational institutions which leads to issues in universalizing education.
Even though education may be free, there are still some expenses parents have to incur and those belonging to a poor social class may therefore refrain from sending their children to school. Many families still believe that girls should get married instead of getting educated.
Lack of Motivation
Those who belong to a poor socioeconomic economic background may not consider education to be important. They motivate girls to get married instead of becoming educated.
Lack of Resources
Even with the government’s provision of learning resources, it continues to be inadequate for quality education.
An Attitude of Indifference
There is an air of indifferent attitude by the higher authorities which leads to a lack of effort in the universalization of education.
Ignorance by Parents
Despite the government’s efforts to offer free and compulsory education, many people living in remote areas still ignore sending their girl children to school and believe that they should be doing household work instead.
Lack of Funds
There is an inadequacy of funds due to the various schemes and programs which leads to a lack of learning resources and materials.
Steps Taken by the Government to Reduce Inequality
Some steps taken by the government to reduce inequality in education are as follows.
The Kothari Commission (1964)
The Kothari Commission was an ad hoc commission formed by the Government of India under the Chairmanship of Daulat Singh Kothari on 14 July 1964 and dissolved on 29 June 1966. He was the chairman of the University Grants Commissions (UGC) when the Kothari Commission was formed. The Commission consisted of twenty members who were experts in the education domain and based out of the UK, USA, Japan, Sweden, and France.
National Policy of Education (1986)
The main goal of NPE was to universalize elementary education through facilities such as quality education, trained teachers, and adequate teaching and learning materials. It also took steps to remove inequality and discrimination based on social criteria.
Sarvarva Shiksha Abhiyan
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is a flagship program started by the government of India in 2001. It was developed to achieve the Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE). The provision of legal backing for SSA occurred when the Indian Constitution under Article 21 A, made free and compulsory education for the children in the age group of 6-14 a fundamental right in.
Right To Education Act
The Right to Education Act (RTE) is enacted to make the right to education a fundamental right in the country. It marks a watershed in the Indian education system and that is why it is essential legislation. In August 2009, Parliament passed the act, and came into force in 2010. Following this, India became one of the 135 countries that have made education a fundamental right of every child.
Students belonging to a poor economic background and possess a good learning ability to receive various scholarships at different levels of education such as pre-matric, post-matric, national fellowship, national overseas scholarship, free coaching, and more.
The government has been taking many measures to universalize education and reduce gender inequality through programs such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Kothari Commission, and National Education Policy to name a few.