The educational situation in India has certainly been improving over last 15 years but a much stronger focus on higher primary and secondary education is required in order to enable India to continue its economic expansion further into the 21st century.
India's institutes of higher education have been delivering the graduates who are behind India's international reputation of providing the international business community with highly qualified young professionals. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) for example has by now a world renowned reputation. But as economic development progresses the pressure on India's educational institutions to deliver more and better educated young professionals increases.
The last 15 years the subsequent Indian governments have focused mostly on improving the elementary school situation as this forms the basis of any education infrastructure. States with the highest number of literacy rates increase :
Ref : India Ministry of Education
Increase of Literates
(Growth figures measure the real growth in literacy numbers whereby the population increase is also taken into account; they therefore reflect real growth and not relative growth levels)
These 2001 figures show also the real situation of the education level in 1991 and the enormous need there was for establishing the basics first.
India's primary education students number over 200 million which is an increase of over 21% compared to 15 years ago. In that sense not only relative numbers but also absolute numbers have increased.Enrollment Figures in % :
Lower Primary Education Boys 6-11
Lower Primary Education Girls 6-11
Higher Primary Education Boys 11-14
Higher Primary Education Girls 11-14
Secondary Education Boys 15-18
Secondary Education Girls 15-18
Tertiary Education Boys 19-24
Tertiary Education Girls 19-24
Ref. Table : http://www.im.org
However the increase in numbers concerning secondary and tertiary education pupil levels need now to improve as well.
The student population that progresses from primary to secondary education is only 1/3 of the total student numbers. These are of course general numbers. The situation per individual state might differ greatly. E.g. the state of Kerala is famous for its high educational standards and ranks as the no. 1 state when it comes to overall education levels.
Although still low the level of tertiary female students has doubled the past 15 years and more women than ever before are receiving better education.
The gender-gap is decreasing in many states.
The top best performing states :
Gender Gap Literacy %
Ref : India Ministry of Education
The national education program SSA (Hindu abbreveation) is aimed at providing all children with lower primary education by 2007 and higher primary education by 2010. The SSA program combines a complete infrastructural package with which individual states are able to reach as many students as possible and where girls receive special attention in many ways e.g. childhood education centers for alternative sibling care as many young girls have the task to look after their younger brothers and sisters while performing other tasks of life. These type of programs enable the girls to remain in school.
With lower primary education systems in place, higher primary education targets set and on their way to be met, the government must now start to develop programs that ensure a higher enrollment of students at the secondary education level. Only that will ensure higher student enrollments into tertiary education which in turn is vital for the future development of the country.
When India will be able to double the numbers of students enrolled with secondary and tertiary education institutions then it will also be able to take and maintain its position among the most influential nations in the world.