Even after years of development and improved literacy, India still continues to face socio-economic challenges in education. The economic disparity in India is the cause leading to inequality in education. The colonial period gave us a well-established school system which was a luxury and neglected the backward classes. Post-independence the main challenges were eliminating gender disparity and making education more accessible to all classes. There have been deliberations and policies being made to counter the challenges. The government policy regarding girl child education has made significant changes. Free and compulsory primary education was added as a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution in 2002 which came as a relief for marginal communities. However, the importance of education was still restricted to reading and writing the name in order to get done with minimal paperwork which the marginalized class will ever face. There was a paradigm shift when the reservation policy of 25% for the marginalized communities was introduced in the private schools under Right to education through a Supreme Court judgment in 2012. These policies have definitely been a positive initiative but still lack at some points in bridging the gap between education and socio-economic conditions in the society. Even if the children from various backgrounds get a seat in highly reputed schools, they fail to cope-up with the rising demands of everyday school activities and dealing with studies as their parents being uneducated are unable to contribute to their studies. Also, accessibility is a major problem due to poor economic conditions. Recently all the educational institutions were shut for months due to the virus-induced pandemic which has adversely affected the educational system in India. In this situation, all the education went online and technology came in handy which became another barrier to education. The marginalized community was unable to attend online classes because of being stuck in remote areas with poor network quality due to lockdown. There were families who could not even afford smartphones and internet services. Therefore this has been a lesson for all of us and we still have a long way to go. We must realize the importance of technology and the reach of education to all classes.
Written by- Anchal Singh