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POVERTY is destroying EDUCATION in Rural Regions of India

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POVERTY is destroying EDUCATION in India
There is a general presumption among many policy makers that secondary and higher education is not necessary for economic growth and development. On the other hand, it is literacy and primary education that is argued to be important. Estimates on the internal rate of return also contributed to strengthening of such a presumption.

Increased national and international concerns for Education For All, also led to overall neglect of secondary and higher education in many developing countries. The problem of resource scarcity added further to the problem. Accordingly, secondary and higher education do not figure on the poverty reduction agenda of many poor countries.

Children (under 15 years of age) growing up in poor and/or nutritionally deprived households also live with a number of layers of deprivations that stifle their freedom to actively participate in and benefit from elementary school education. Lack of health care, limited access to quality schooling and opportunity cost of participation in education are some of these layers. Human Development Report 2010, using Oxford University's newly developed Multidimensional Poverty Index, adds more dimensions to poverty measures over and above those of the Indian Planning Commission's (2009) new measure or absolute poverty used in this paper. These enrich our understanding but do not directly deal with children growing up in absolute poverty and non-participation in schooling. This issue can be meaningfully explored with household as the unit of analysis.

The period between 1993 and 2005 has been one of major policy shifts and reforms in India. Growth rates of total and per capita income have accelerated. Population growth and absolute poverty have been declining. Uneven pace and patterns across states and households have accentuated pre-existing dualistic patterns and in equalities. This paper reports analysis of household data from National Samples Surveys for the years 1993-94 and 2004-05 from the perspectives of child poverty and participation in or exclusion from school education. The findings on interstate and inter-household disparities have immediate relevance for policies aimed at implementing the Free and Compulsory Elementary Education Law of 2010.

Increasing child poverty in the age group 10 to 14 in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa, MP and Delhi has serious implications for potential increase in child labour and potential violation of Compulsory Elementary Education Laws unless corrective policy measures are taken. Policies dealing with overall poverty reduction, child focused poverty reduction, provision of Anganwaries and implementation of elementary education laws to be successful would need to get commitment from and cooperation of six major states of India, namely UP, Bihar, MP, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Orissa. These states would also require major inputs of financial, organisational and institutional resources for meaningful implementation of the new elementary education law.

The IIEP is an integral part of UNESCO and undertakes research and training activities that address the main priorities within UNESCO's overall education programme. It enjoys intellectual and administrative autonomy and operates according to its own special statutes. The IIEP has its own Governing Board, which decides the general orientation of the Institute's activities and approves its annual budget.

The IIEP's mission is capacity building in educational planning and management. To this end, the IIEP uses several strategies: training of educational planners and administrators; providing support to national training and research institutions; encouraging a favourable and supportive environment for educational change; and co-operating with countries in the design of their own educational policies and plans.

According to a 2011 poverty Development Goals Report, as many as 320 million people in India and China are expected to come out of extreme poverty in the next four years while India's poverty rate is projected to drop to 22% in 2015. The report also indicates that in Southern Asia, however, only India, where the poverty rate is projected to fall from 51% in 1990 to about 22% in 2015, is on track to cut poverty by half by the 2015 target date.

One cause is a high population growth rate, although demographers generally agree that this is a symptom rather than cause of poverty. While services and industry have grown at double-digit figures, agriculture growth rate has dropped from 4.8% to 2%. About 60% of the population depends on agriculture whereas the contribution of agriculture to the GDP is about 18%. The surplus of labour in agriculture has caused many people to not have jobs. Farmers are a large vote bank and use their votes to resist reallocation of land for higher-income industrial projects.

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