India has many accomplishments to celebrate in the education sector. At least 70 million children attend pre-primary school in India. The Country has a near universal primary enrolment and there is a consistent increase in upper primary (lower secondary) class participation with seven states having reported improved learning outcomes.
Nonetheless, much remains to be done as most children who are in school are not learning at grade appropriate levels. Children are being pushed out of the education system due to poor quality - teacher-centric teaching and learning practices with content that is abstract to students.
Nearly six million children in the age group of 6-13 years in India remain out of school and the majority are from marginalized communities including Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and religious minority groups.
Some 29 per cent of girls and boys drop out of school before completing the full cycle of elementary education. The numbers become contentious and alarming when one includes post elementary and high school. They are often the most marginalized children. UNICEF is working with partners to reduce the number of out of school girls by 1.45 million in six states of India.
The majority (75 per cent) of out of school children are concentrated in six states: Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajsthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
UNICEF has a strategic engagement with the education sector in India in partnership with government and aims at making education relevant for the diverse communities of the Indian society, adapting the philosophy of education and the values it promotes.
Given that about 29 per cent of children who begin Grade I, do not make it through elementary education and of those who complete, nearly half of them are not achieving basic proficiency level in reading and numeracy. The severe deficiency in learning hinders children in fully participate with the next levels of education, our work aims to enable quality, grade-appropriate education from early childhood through elementary for all children.