To avoid squandering its demographic dividend, India must make substantial reforms in its education sector and the country needs to raise workforce participation from 58 per cent to 80 per cent to be at par with China, says a report.
According to global consultancy firm PwC, the nation’s education system has benefited the upper class, producing a number of global CEOs. But it hasn’t worked for the masses: because education is not yet available to everyone.
India has the largest illiteracy rate — 33 per cent in the world.
“The link between poor education and India’s low labour-force participation is obvious. Low participation can have serious social and economic consequences, including unrest among young people,” the report said, adding that India needs to raise workforce participation from 58 per cent to 80 per cent to be at par with China.
Achieving these targets will require innovative solutions across the education value chain. Like technology-enabled solutions are well suited for higher grades and vocational education, while the brick-and-mortar format is best suited for elementary education.
According to the report, to meet the desired outcomes of improved enrolment, India will need to add another 500,000 schools with a shift in focus towards higher grades.
In addition, these schools need to have basic infrastructure facilities that enable fewer dropouts. For instance, roughly 63 per cent of government schools in rural India do not have usable toilet facilities which results in lower retention of female students.
In addition, improving the quality of education would require pervasive dissemination of quality content and teaching standards.