Education: A Right and a Privilege

Why does the community have this need?:

India currently has a population of approximately 1.36 billion people and is still growing. One result of this is the education system is overcrowded. Government schools are filled beyond capacity and are unable to provide students with the materials they need to thrive. Private schools also face the challenge of large class sizes without enough highly qualified teachers. However, a good education is the key to getting a well-paying job to support a family and raise a person's economic status. This is particularly important for members of the lower castes. "Caste" is a system of discrimination that perpetuates class difference and has allowed violence against lower castes, especially those considered “Untouchable.” Although the country formally banned the caste system, it continues to influence Indian society. Education is an opportunity to reduce the visibility of caste boundaries, and those who gain access to their right to education will benefit. However, not all children are able to attend schools that provide more than the most basic education.

Is this need being met? How?:

The Right to Education Act passed in 2009 was a huge step in the process of expanding children’s access to education. However, many schools do not have enough applicants from poor backgrounds and lower castes to fill the 25% quota reserved for scholarship students. There are non-governmental organizations working to connect students to schools and help everyone take advantage of their right to education. As a result, many students are in school who otherwise would not be receiving the education to which they are entitled. There are also kids who slip through the cracks.