India’s Education Boom Holds Promise for Women’s Empowerment and Growth in 2024

India Women Empowerment

As Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gears up to present the interim budget on February 1, a recent government report titled ‘The Indian Economy: A Review’ brings to light an encouraging trend in India’s education sector. The report, released on January 29, highlights a remarkable surge in the ratio of females attending school and colleges, indicating a significant shift towards gender parity in education.

India Strides in Higher Education

A standout figure from the report is the female gross enrollment ratio (GER) in higher education, which has seen a fourfold increase from 6.7% in 2000–01 to 27.9% in 2020–21. This growth is not just in numbers; it signifies a changing societal attitude where the value of educating women is increasingly recognized and acted upon. In a comparison that underscores this progress, the GER for girls stood at 27.9% in 2020 versus just 12.7% in FY10. The total enrollment in higher education has also jumped from 3.4 crore in 2014 to a commendable 4.1 crore students in 2023.

Doubling Down in Senior Secondary Education

The advancements are equally impressive at the senior secondary level, where the female GER has more than doubled from 24.5% in FY 2004–05 to 58.2% in 2021-2022. Over the past 18 years, these figures paint a picture of an education system that is increasingly inclusive and supportive of female students.

A Review in Place of Economic Survey: India’s Education

In a deviation from the norm, the government is not presenting the Economic Survey this year due to elections. Instead, the ‘Indian Economy–A Review’ prepared by CEA V Anantha Nageswaran’s office serves as a testament to the educational strides made since the Narendra Modi government came into power in 2014. The number of universities has notably risen from 723 in 2014 to 1,113 in 2023, a reflection of the expanding infrastructure to support higher education.

Empowering Women Through Education

The report also emphasizes that women are enrolling in tertiary education more than ever before. The Eleventh Edition of the CII-Wheebox India Skills Report, which draws from the National Employability Test, shows a significant rise in India’s youth employability rate, up to 51.3% from 33% a decade ago.

1.2 lakh schools have been brought under ICT and digital initiatives, with 8,619 schools covered under vocational education. Additionally, to ensure better sanitation facilities, 28,447 separate girls’ toilets have been constructed.

As the report and the upcoming budget shine a light on India’s educational achievements, the focus remains on continuing to empower women through education. This steadfast commitment is not just about increasing numbers but about building a foundation for a more equitable and prosperous future.

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