Azad India Foundation with other partner organizations has released a Bihar Education Fact Sheet. According to this fact sheet in Bihar, about 1.1 million children between the ages of 6 and13 are out of school. Bihar ranks second for out of schoolgirls across all Indian states. In Bihar only 8% of the approximately 76,600 schools provide some kind of secondary education. 107 are the average number of students in a secondary classroom; insinuating severe shortage of the trained and qualified teachers. Only 21% of girls enrolled in primary schools continue their education up to secondary level. Similarly, only 7% of enrolled girls continue their education up to higher secondary level. If we consider ASER 2018 findings on basic competencies of all boys and girls in Bihar, it shows glaring shortcomings.
The above data shows that as the children reach higher classes their learning capacities are simply unable to cope up with the pressure. As a result many children who are unable to acquire basic skills such as reading and arithmetic are left behind. This has created inequitable education system with little or no accountability.
India's Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 guarantees every child between 6 and 14 the right to free and compulsory schooling. However, the Act is not widely implemented across Bihar whereby only 1.2% schools adhere to 10 RTE norms and standards.
Many of those who are able to access schools leave without the knowledge and skills they need to enter the labor markets. This is culpable to the fact that there is a shortage of professionally trained teachers. Government reports suggest there is a shortage of 34% and 36% of teachers at elementary and secondary level. Data shows that only 52% of teachers are professionally trained and qualified.
These pervasive issues in Bihar's education system are impacted by underinvestment by the state government. Corruption impedes implementation of educational infrastructure allowing governments to spend adequate amount of their GDP towards education .While Bihar has disseminated significant efforts to improve investment in education Bihar's 2018-19 budget for education represented a 25% increase from the 2017- 18 revised figures and overall has allocated 18% on education in 2018-19,which is higher than the average expenditure allocated to education (15.9%) by other states in 2018-19 - it is still not enough to address the education challenges it faces. Bihar's per child spending on education is Rs 8526 (2015-16) as compared to Rs 14,615 on average across India.
The benefits of educating girls up to Class XII
Education, particularly formal secondary education, is the most effective way to develop the skills needed for work and life. It is considered one of the best investments to expand prospects of skilled and adequately paid employment.
Those with access to quality senior secondary education are significantly less likely than workers with only a lower secondary education to be in vulnerable employment or to work informally without a contract or social benefits.
Quality education can counteract the social factors that hinder women's labour market participation. Earnings increase by approximately 10% for each additional year of schooling meaning that education not only helps to grow the economy but also fights poverty.
Increasing the share of girls completing secondary education by 1% increases economic growth by 0.3%.
Research also shows that educating girls has aggregate development spillovers in an economy for instance, not only do girls break the poverty cycles for the next generation, they also make informed decisions about pregnancies and lower the government spending on women's health. Additionally, girls with employment also pay government taxes and strengthen economies.
Education serves as an important tool to empower women and girls, and is one of the most powerful investments to prevent child marriage and early pregnancy. With each year of secondary education reduces the likelihood of marrying as a child before the age of 18 by 5 % points.
Research shows that educating girls leads to the building of resilient economies. Educating girls allows communities to recover from man-made or nature induced conflicts much faster. Educated communities is the perfect brewing ground for establishing peace as education allows peace-building, conflict-management and developing tolerant communities. Education is transformative in that it increases the endurance of conflict.
Commit to allocate at least 20% of state public expenditure to education in line with the Incheon Declaration on recommendations.
Increase the number of free government aided bridge schools to help transition students who have dropped out or fallen behind back into formal education.
Bring forward reforms that will ensure all teachers receive professional training and introduce new methodologies to improve learning outcomes. Additionally, teachers' rights and incentives should be discussed in order to address the under-qualifications of teachers.
The leadership at the national levels needs to ensure transparency and accountability.
We need to see children who are trying to receive education not as dependent recipients of services but actually stakeholders of their own rights and right to have their voices heard so their decisions should be taken into account.