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  • Writer's pictureSriram Elango

Education in Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh, a beautiful state containing tourist-attracting destinations such as the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort has long been established as a region full of riches and beauty. Submerged under this elegant veil however, a vital problem regarding equal access to education cripples the lives of many children, leading the state to have the highest percentage of working children in India.

Despite tremendous efforts to further lift the literacy rates, from 28 percent in 1981 to 73 percent in 2020, Uttar Pradesh’s massive population and profound illiteracy rates within rural regions illustrate the dire condition of the education system. Lagging behind the average literacy rate of India itself, reforms are needed to ensure Uttar Pradesh’s success as a prosperous state.

Critical to the root of the problem, the deteriorated nature of government schools within Uttar Pradesh has prompted many families to move to private schools, leaving those most economically challenged to continue learning in insufficient public education systems.

The District Institute of Education and Training investigated this issue, conducting a study on teachers within government schools in Uttar Pradesh. Within this analysis, a test was given to teachers regarding the subject of Hindi, the state’s official language. Of the 296 teachers tested, 70 percent of teachers scored less than 50 percent.

Poor families who rely on public education for their children are continuously stuck in a perpetuating cycle of illiteracy and inequality, causing the entire state to suffer as a result of the loss of many possible innovators and leaders. Endlessly seen throughout the state’s extensive history, Uttar Pradesh continues to be, and may forever be, a state that provides rich educational opportunities for the elite few, and a state that ignores its impoverished masses.

Government schools within Uttar Pradesh remain a symbol of poverty, with many schools simply containing a room and a window without access to water, electricity, ventilation, and more. High temperatures in classrooms have led to widespread usage of books as fans, and insufficient education has spurred many children to leave school to further aid their families through working jobs. Child labor has continued to increase rather than decrease, with 1 in 5 child laborers across India belonging to the state of Uttar Pradesh.

With children moving towards the horrors of child labor and away from the government schools in Uttar Pradesh, it is transparent that the educational system is in need of dramatic reforms. Fortunately, under the “Mission Shakti” campaign carried by the Uttar Pradesh government, children suffering under terrible child labor conditions are now being admitted back to more developed primary schools, with food and other supplies being provided. Though a beneficial reform, larger steps need to be made to save over 250,000 children already working in painful conditions.

Integral to India’s rapid economic expansion and emergence as a global superpower, children across the nation are in need of adequate access to education - an investment that will prove beneficial as the children of today soon lead India into its future. The incredible responsibility the Uttar Pradesh government has is indescribable, for it holds the ability to both transform the lives of its most suffering populations, as well as accelerate India’s path to prosperity.

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