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The annual Status on education Report was recently Released by Pratham, a Non-profit Organization.


The ASER is a biennial publication & a citizen led household survey that provides a snapshot of the status of schooling & learning of Rural children in India.

The ASER assess the foundational reading & Arithmetic abilities of children in the age group of 5-16 years & collects information on enrolment of children in pre-school & school.

Highlights of the Survey:

Literacy: 25% of rural youth in the age group of 14-18 years cannot read a class 2 level textbook ‘fluently’ & of 57% that can read in English cannot understand the meaning.

Numeracy: more than 50% struggle with division & over 60% are able to do budget management task; about 37% can apply a discount & only about  10% can calculate repayment.

Digital awareness:  90% of youth owns a smartphone & uses social media but just about half of them are familiar with the online safety setting.

Vocational education: only about 5% of the Youths took vocational training, most of which were 6 months or less

Enrolment: 86% in the age group of 14-18 years are enrolled in an educational institution


Foundational literacy & Numeracy?

FLN refers to the skills of the students to perform basic arithmetic calculations, read write and understand basic texts by the end of grade 3.

The National education policy 2020 accords highest importance to the achievement of Foundational literacy & Numeracy.

Literacy skills:

  • Identify letters, & words
  • Read & understand Simple sentences.
  • Listen with comprehension.



Numeracy Skills:

  • Identify & count numbers.
  • Find missing numbers.
  • Perform basic addition & substraction.
  • Solve word Problems.


  • Lack of early childhood care & education:

Brain development of children occurs prior to the age of 6 years, presently ECCE are not available to children particularly belonging to socio-economically disadvantaged groups.

  • Poor infrastructure & poor status of Anganwadi centres.
  • The medium of instruction is different from the mother tongue & therefore negatively impacts the engagement of the child student.
  • Low student to teacher ratio, as per the Right to Education Act(2009) the desired ratio is 1:35.
  • As per the GHI 2023, India has the highest child wasting rate (18%) & the children are malnourished which adversely impacts their learning capacities.


National initiative for proficiency in reading with understanding & numeracy (Nipun) Bharat programme was launched by the ministry of education in 2021 under the aegis of the centrally sponsored scheme Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan. The scheme aims to ensure every child attains foundational literacy & Numeracy by the end of 3th garde , by 2026-27.

The implementation mechanism is a five-tier set up; National-state-district-block-school.


Way forward:

  • Increasing budget allocation in FLN
  • Access to adequate nutrition as health and learning are intrinsically linked
  • Adoption of vernacular language/ mother tongue in Primary education

Ensuring & monitoring the implementation of the 200 days & 800 hours of instruction hours in school, as per the Right to Education Act 2009.

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Sources: The Indian Express 

Context: Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have intensified their attacks on ships in the Red Sea, citing revenge against Israel for its actions in Gaza. This has prompted the US and UK to launch strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen, leading to concerns about a broader regional conflict. The attacks have disrupted global trade routes, raising fears of a significant impact on the world economy.

Red Sea

·         The Red Sea is a semi-enclosed tropical basin, bounded by northeastern Africa, to the west, and the Arabian Peninsula, to the east.

·         The elongated and narrow-shaped basin extends between the Mediterranean Sea, to the northwest, and the Indian Ocean, to the southeast.

·         At the northern end, it separates into the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez, which is connected to the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Canal.

·         At the southern end, it is connected to the Gulf of Aden, and the outer Indian Ocean, via the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb.

·         It is surrounded by desert or semi-desert areas, with no major freshwater inflow.

Who are the Houthis and the Yemeni Civil War?

Houthi Origins: The Houthi movement, or Ansarallah, emerged in the 1990s under leader Hussein al-Houthi, advocating for Zaidism, a subsect of Shia Islam marginalized after the 1962 civil war. The Yemeni civil war began in 2014 when Houthi forces seized the capital, leading to a wider conflict in 2015 with a Saudi-led coalition attempting to counter them.

Current Humanitarian Crisis: The war has resulted in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with millions in need of aid, widespread displacement, and significant casualties. A 2022 ceasefire lapsed after six months, and efforts to bring a permanent end to the conflict have proven challenging.

Houthi Allies and Power

Iranian Backing: Iran supports the Houthis, providing weapons and technology. The Houthis are part of Iran’s “Axis of Resistance,” along with Hamas and Hezbollah, targeting Israel.

Military Capabilities: Houthi missile capabilities have shown improvements, posing a threat in the Red Sea. Their attacks on ships have forced major shipping and oil companies to suspend transit, impacting global trade.


Motives Behind Red Sea Attacks

Economic Impact on Israel’s Allies: The Houthis aim to inflict economic pain on Israel’s allies by disrupting shipping in the Red Sea, a vital trade route. The attacks could lead to increased costs, affecting global supply chains and potentially causing a shock to the world economy.

Championing the Palestinian Cause: Targeting Israel aligns with the Houthi agenda to gain legitimacy domestically and regionally. It may also strengthen their position in Yemen by countering Arab adversaries.


Global Response

Multinational Efforts: Operation Prosperity Guardian involves over 20 countries deploying naval forces to safeguard shipping in the Red Sea. The UN Security Council has approved a resolution urging the Houthis to cease attacks.

US and UK Strikes: In response to Houthi attacks, the US and UK launched strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen. President Biden emphasized protecting international maritime vessels and the free flow of commerce.

Houthi Defiance: Despite global responses, the Houthis remain defiant, vowing to continue aggression against commercial ships in the Red Sea.

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Sources: The Hindu 

Context: At a group discussion held by Life Skills Collaborative, most of the rural youth when questioned about their aspirations for the future said they preferred staying in their village.

What is main source of rural income? 

  • Farming is the main source of rural livelihoods, with children from many rural families supplementing their family’s income by working on family-owned farms. But the rural economy is experiencing a major occupational shift with more farmers quitting agriculture to join non-farming jobs, hinting at an agrarian crisis.
  • The National Sample Survey Office data recorded 34 million farmers leaving their farms and transitioning to other sectors such as construction during 2004-05 and 2011-12. This highlights the need for not only making agriculture an aspiring vocation among rural youth, but also creating alternative employment opportunities.


Initiatives by Government of India to Upskill Youth in Rural India

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): Launched in 2015, PMKVY is a flagship skill development scheme that aims to enable a large number of Indian youths to take up industry-relevant skill training to help them secure a better livelihood.

o    The scheme provides short-term training programs in various sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, construction, and more.

  • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY): DDU-GKY is a part of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) and focuses on the rural poor youth.

o    It aims to transform rural poor youth into economically independent and globally relevant workforce through market-driven training programs.

  • National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM): NRLM, launched in 2011, aims to reduce poverty by promoting diversified and gainful self-employment and wage employment opportunities in rural areas.

o    It includes skill development as a key component to enhance the livelihood options for rural youth.

  • Skill Development Initiatives under MGNREGA: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) includes provisions for skill development and wage employment in rural areas.

o    States may allocate a portion of their MGNREGA funds for skill development programs.

  • Rural Self-Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs): RSETIs are institutions established to provide training and skill development to rural youth, especially those from economically weaker sections.

o    These institutes aim to promote self-employment and entrepreneurship in rural areas.

  • Skill Development in Agriculture: Various initiatives focus specifically on skill development in the agricultural sector, including training programs on modern farming techniques, use of technology in agriculture, and agribusiness skills.
  • Digital India: The Digital India initiative aims to bridge the digital divide in rural areas by providing digital literacy and skills training.


How can education be improved? 

  • Effective rural education should be tailored such that technical as well as life skills, needed to empower youth in these areas, become accessible to them through formal education.
  • There are many ways this could be done, as educational evidence from other developing economies suggests such as Mexico’s tele-schools and Bhutan’s well-being-infused curriculum.
  • The tele-schools provide lessons on subject matters as well as values, thereby providing a much higher level of access to value-based secondary education for remote areas where secondary schools are scarce.
  • This has shown to have trickling benefits in the local economy with improved attitudes and increased aspirations among children and parents.
  • Organizations such as NIIT Foundation and Pratham Institute are working with children in rural areas to provide upskilling opportunities.

Hybrid life skilling programs are offered both by NIIT in collaboration with UNICEF through its self-learning platform, and Pratham, which offers courses in both industry-specific skills (such as in healthcare, electrical, construction) and life skills. By offering rural populations skills in fields like agricultural mechanization, pollution monitoring, nursing and digital technologies via e-learning, rural India can boost employability in both traditional and non-traditional trades, leading to a vibrant economy. 

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