India is a democratic nation that ensures equal rights to all its citizens. However, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Currently, 313 million people in India are illiterate or unable to read or write.
This is a problem that can be addressed through education.
The government has tried to solve this problem by building schools in villages and slums. They have also offered low-budget schools on the street corners, but these are mostly underfunded.
The government spends only 2.8% of its GDP on education, which is less than the average of 4% spent by developing countries and much less than developed countries’ 6%. More funds are needed to build schools and teachers’ salaries in India.
Since India is a vast country, both geographically and demographically, the government alone cannot bring all children into the fold of education. Even today, 17.7 million children in India are out of school.
The retention rate in schools is still abysmally low, and many children drop out even before completing class 8. The status of girl child education is even worse. The mindset that girls may not be educated as they are to be eventually married still prevails in Indian society.
In such a scenario, the role of civil society becomes all the more important to ensure that the benefits of education reach the lowest strata of society.
Several Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been working at the sheer grass root levels to extend education to underprivileged children in India. Since independence.
The role of NGOs in providing quality education has been a most welcome development in India. The NGO-sponsored schools are run to create a society that is inclusive and caring, and sensitive to its people’s changing needs. In the last three decades , since the inception of the National Policy on Education (NPE),
NGOs have played an increasingly important role in supplementing and complementing government initiatives.
Education is a prime responsibility of the state, and over the years, the government has increased its funding for education. However, a gap still exists between the funds allocated and the actual expenditure on education.
The poor quality of education imparted in government schools, the lack of facilities in government schools, and administrative obstacles to an equitable distribution of public resources have increased the demand for alternative modes of schooling.
Government policies do not focus strongly on budgetary allocations for school infrastructure or teacher training. The government fails to provide these facilities on time, and hence, NGOs have taken up this responsibility.
Despite several programs initiated by the government and increased funding from the central and state governments, a large part of the society remains beyond the reach of state-sponsored initiatives. NGOs have responded to this situation in partnership with government programs.
There is a growing appreciation of the role of NGOs, both at the central and state levels. The Ministry of Education has been promoting for-profit partnerships with NGOs for improving primary education.
Interest in such partnerships has been particularly strong in low-literacy districts, where poor government school infrastructure and facilities. Some states have also initiated schemes to support NGOs.
NGOs have also been an important part of the national ICT strategy, aiming to provide equitable access to computers and education. Many NGOs have responded positively to this initiative, incorporating computer provision in educational programs.
There are around four NGOs for every 1,000 people in urban areas and 2.3 NGOs for every 1,000 population in rural areas
The growth of NGOs in education is not only because of their contribution to the provision of basic services but also because they work more and more as agents of change.
Government schools are limited by their size, scope, and reach. On the other hand, NGOs are more flexible and innovative in providing opportunities to the underprivileged.
NGOs are engaged in multiple roles in India. In education, they supplement government initiatives by providing a complementary role in providing critical services. They also work as a catalyst for change by creating awareness and mobilizing public opinion.
There is no denying that NGOs play an important role in improving access to quality education. Still, they must move beyond addressing the symptoms of inequality to focusing on structural issues related to education reform.
FAQ on Role of NGO in Education
Q1. What is the role of NGO in education?
NGOs work at the grassroots level to help underprivileged children access quality education.
They(NGOs) play an important role in supporting the most vulnerable children access their Right to Education through innovative ideas such as forming student groups and child-tracking system, holding awareness workshops with parents to ensure that they send children to school and form parent committees to ensure that schools are run properly.
Q2. What are the objective of NGOs in India for Children Education?
- Increasing the enrollment in schools.
- Developing learning skills in local schools & communities.
- Make education reach to such masses who are unable to attend formal schools due to reasons like poverty, proximity distance, health issues, etc.
- Replicate their education models and scale them up to serve large number of children to achieve a large-scale impact.
- Provide inclusive education to children with special needs.
- Vocational training to children with permanent disabilities.
- Work as a catalyst to bring sustainable change in the lives of the children with a life-cycle approach of development.