34% Muslim children have no access to pre-school: UNICEF
Out of 74 million children, in the group of 3-6 years in India, around 20 million did not attend pre-school and most of them belonged to disadvantaged and marginalised sections of the society, a UNICEF report said,on Tuesday.
According to “State of the World Children Report-2016”, released globally by UNICEF, around 34 % children from Muslim families, 25.9 % from Hindu families and 25.6 % from Christian families did not attend pre-school.
“Lack of access to pre-school education has a long-term impact on learning capabilities of a child. It is a continuum. When children enter primary school without going to pre-school they are likely to drop early and will not be able to fulfill their potential,” UNICEF India representative Louis-Georges Arsenault said, while releasing the report.
According to the government’s National Survey for Estimation of Out-of-School Children conducted in 2014, more than 60 % of children dropped out before completing grade 3, he added.
The study also found that implementation of Right To Education (RTE) Act has led to a drop in the number of out-of-school children, aged 6-13 years, to six million in 2014 from eight million in 2009.
However, 36 % of children drop out before completing elementary education and about half of them are from marginalised and deprived groups, it said.
Highlighting lack of quality education, the report citing the National Achievement Survey (2014), said “less than half of Class V students correctly answered reading comprehension and mathematics question posed to them.”
Expressing the hope that the new education policy will address these lacunae, Arsenault said “New Education policy with its vision for India as a knowledge superpower really calls for building the goal of Right To Education Act and moving beyond elementary education and extending it to include pre-schooling and also competition in secondary education.”
Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, HRD Ministry, S C Khuntia said “we are formulating a new education policy and have formed a committee in the ministry to look into these issues.”