After a dismal performance in the Social Progressive Index , India has performed exceedingly well in the Unesco's Education For All initiative. India has made remarkable strides towards ensuring universal education. A new global report shows, while access is almost universal now, quality of education is still poor.
The report states, first and foremost, India is highly likely to complete EFA's first goal of 80% enrolment in pre-primary education by 2015 . It has already reached the second goal of universal primary enrolment, and will be just short of universal youth literacy by 2015. The one goal India will not reach is to reduce adult illiteracy by half (India has reduced it by 26%).
India is also the only country in South and West Asia to reach gender parity for primary and lower secondary enrolment. It has also made enormous progress in improving the quality of education, however, in this field a great deal of work still remains.
Not all the countries have performed as well as India. Only 25% of the countries have reduced adult literacy by half, and women continue to make up two thirds of the illiterate. Less than half the countries have achieved gender parity at the secondary level.
"Overall, not even the target of universal primary education was reached, let alone the more ambitious EFA goals, and the most disadvantaged continue to be the last to benefit," says the report.
Nevertheless, there have been very important achievements that should not be underestimated. For instance, nearly half of all the countries have achieved universal primary, pre-primary and lower secondary enrolment and two thirds of the countries have achieved gender parity at the primary level.
All this goes to show the importance international organisations are putting on education. India has made dramatic changes in its education policies over the years and has taken important steps in improving the system for its citizens. However, there is still a long way to go, the efficiency of public spending in India comes into question as does curriculum and teaching methods.
Before India can achieve universal education standard there is a lot of work to be done.