In 1947, India gained its independence from Britain. In 2018, some aspects of British culture remain. One aspect being education. India’s education system is similar to most Western countries’ systems. They teach arithmetic, reading, writing, etc. Throughout their education, they have tests that require passing in order to get to the next level in school. The levels are as follows: Pre-Primary, Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Secondary, and Upper Secondary. Primary school is often taught in local dialects (there are over 122 across the country). However, many schools teach in Hindi with English classes beginning in 3rd grade. Another similarity between the Indian school system and that of the United States is the presence of both private and public schools. In India, the ratio of public to private schools is 7:5 with about 70% enrolled in public schools (90% of children in the U.S. are enrolled in public schools). Within the private schools, there is often affirmative action which ensures equality in education for members of lower castes.
The largest difference between the school system in India and that in the United States is attendance. In both countries, registration is compulsory. However, in India, attendance is hard to enforce. Only about 50% of children in India go to school. The other 50% are often pulled out of school due to family finances. Children are needed at home to do work or to take care of younger siblings. Unfortunately, the importance of educating women is still not understood in many parts of India. This explains the disparity in the literacy rate. The overall literacy rate is 74% (86% in the U.S.). It is 82.2% for men and only 65.5% for women. To me, this gap is very disheartening. Though I know that progress is being made. I look forward to learning about the steps being taken to combat traditional gender biased beliefs and empower females while we are at the Vatsalya School.