Education is an effective tool for economically and socially excluded children and adults to escape poverty and participate in society to their full potential. Everyone must have access to education in order to completely unleash the transformative power of education and reach international progress markers. One method of guaranteeing greater access to quality education is to bind countries to particular criteria through law. The right to education act which was passed in August 2009, made India one of the 135 countries to make elementary education as a fundamental right for every child. This act entails free and compulsory elementary education for all children of the economically weaker sections of society. The act mandates that all children who fall in the age group of 6-14 must receive schooling. It makes the government responsible for the admission, attendance, and completion of their education. According to the 2011 Population Census, India's literacy rate has improved by around 9.2%. It has risen from 65.38 percent in 2001 to 74.04 percent in 2011, representing a 9 percent gain in the recent decade.
The literacy rate has definitely improved before, but the challenge of reaching out to everyone still remains. Even after having this act in place, students face many hurdles in getting their fundamental right to education. Many families expect their children, who are as young as 8-10 years old, to work and support their family as they are not able to recognize the value of education. Other than that, those who are willing to go to school face problems with commuting to the institution. Frequently, schools are located far away from the student's residence. Children in rural India need to travel several kilometers every day by foot to reach their schools. Along with this, many don't have access to essential tools like books, stationery, etc. The schools too lack infrastructural developments as they aren't equipped with computers, playgrounds, and proper classrooms. Communication is also a significant problem. Unfortunately, not every government teacher in India speaks their students' native language as public-school teachers are assigned to schools without regard for language. It leads to clashes as many students and parents aren't able to communicate smoothly with the teacher.
All of the above are barriers when it comes to attaining education. To overcome these and strengthen the Right to Education act by wide-spreading its reach, the government has announced several schemes into action. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was launched in 2001 to support the time-bound demands of the right to education. The National Scheme of Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education was established to enhance the enrolment of girls into schools. This scheme is for all girls; on enrolment in class IX, an amount of Rs.3000/- is put in the name of eligible unmarried girls as a fixed deposit, which they are entitled to withdraw along with interest when they attain the age of 18 and pass the Class X test. The world bank finances the STAR project or the Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States aims to provide equal access to education to all and revise the assessment scheme in the education institutions. This project includes providing training to the teachers and faculty along with updating the environment for learning.
The Pragati scholarship scheme, Mid-day meal scheme, schemes for vocational education, girls hostel scheme, and many such are introduced by the government, not just for elementary education but also for graduation and post-graduation, to educate each and every citizen and unlock their full potential.
The Umang foundation trust believes that a change begins with us and thus recognizes this and plays a crucial role in educating, counseling, and mentoring kids with employability skills. The Umang Learning Centre works towards providing the less privileged kids with the required resources and the volunteers help in their studies, building communication skills along with fun engaging activities. Even during the lockdown, online classes in vernacular medium schools were conducted to make sure that the student's learning does not stop.
The government has several schemes but along with the help of our volunteers and donors, our foundation gives a boost to education and learning. Our aim is to reach out to as many students as possible and to spread awareness by bringing in a sustainable change.