1/2 of the world’s 735m students are expected to be educated in primary and secondary schools by 2022.
But that is just the start.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), only 25% of India’s population will be in primary education by 2022, compared with 75% in China, 77% in Bangladesh and 91% in Nepal.
By 2030, the proportion of primary school-age students will be less than 2% of the country’s total population.
This will put a strain on the countrys education system.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has warned that India’s current education system will be “untenable” in the future.
The report, entitled Education in the Twenty-First Century: Lessons for the World, says India’s primary and higher education system must improve to meet the needs of its growing population.
“India is a country with a long-term commitment to providing quality primary education to all its citizens and a low enrolment rate in primary schools,” it says.
“There is no doubt that the current system cannot meet this challenge.”
What is the primary education system?
India is the only country in the region that does not provide free primary education.
The government provides a basic level of primary education for children from 6 to 12 years of age but only for those who can afford it.
The primary school fees are based on family income and a child is assessed on his or her ability to pay.
The fees range from about Rs.50 ($5.30) for a year for children under 5 years old to Rs.70 ($8.50) for the eldest child.
The Government of India says its primary school system is a success.
But what happens to the funds that go to it?
“The main burden falls on parents and their children to pay for primary education, and the State has the power to transfer some of these funds to the State Council of Higher Education (SCHE) or the State Education Authority (SEA),” said Rajesh Sankaran, a professor at Delhi University’s School of Law.
“The problem is that the funds are not used as efficiently as we might like.”
What do the students need to learn?
India has one of the lowest literacy rates in the developed world, with nearly one-fifth of the population failing to read and write at home, according to the World Bank.
This puts many students at a disadvantage in the workplace.
The country has a large workforce of less than 1m people, which is the third lowest in the global economy.
Many are drawn to education because of the opportunity to learn about the world and to apply their skills to the workforce.
India has over 20,000 private schools, many of which are run by non-profit organisations, and over 70,000 government schools.
“If you want to have a good job, you should be able to learn the subject of your choice and do well,” said Arvind Pankaj, an entrepreneur and a leader in the business community.
“That’s why there are so many colleges in India.”
A key focus of the new education system, the report says, is to ensure access to quality education.
“While primary education is an essential element in the countryís ability to grow and succeed in the 21st century, we must also ensure access of primary and vocational education for the people,” the report concludes.
What do the teachers need to know?
In India, teacher-teacher ratio is close to one-third.
Many schools have very few teachers.
In rural areas, rural schools have a very small teacher-student ratio.
“We have to find ways to improve the ratio in primary school so that the teachers have an opportunity to help students learn,” said K.P. Kishore, who heads the Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSN), a teacher training institute.
The school curriculum needs to be simplified and there should be a focus on reading, writing and maths.
The new education systems must address other challenges.
The India Educational Reform Act, passed in 2014, was aimed at improving access to education and creating jobs.
But it does not address the challenges that the education system faces, said Pankai.
The report says that India has a number of challenges, including the lack of a national curriculum and a lack of teacher training institutions.
But most of these challenges can be tackled if we invest in education, said Kishor.