"Isn't school in India supposed to be free?"
The children in the Career Pathways Program attend a private school. Their tuition and school fees are part of what the Career Pathway Program funds. One of the questions we often get is, "Why do you send them to private school, when public school in India is free?". Perfectly logical question, so read on for the equally logical explanation. :-)
India passed a law in 2009 called the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) which mandates that all public education be free including fees for books, lunch, and exams. But...this law only mandates free public education up to class 8 (age 14). That leaves children in class 9 through 12 exempt from free public education. Many of the children in the Career Pathways program are in classes 9 and 10. In order to apply for acceptance into a college degree program, students must complete class 12.
Another factor in the decision to send children to private school has to do with location. Out in the more remote village areas, the local public school may be several miles away or more. This happens to be the case for the children in Kakdwip who are in the Career Pathways program. Girls are particularly vulnerable in India, so it wouldn't be safe for them to walk long distances to and from school each day. In Kakdwip, there is an excellent private school with reasonable fees directly next door to the children's home.
Even if there was a public school within easy distance, the quality of free public education in India is poor. A popular on-line news site, Indian Express, stated in an article published last year, that "70% of the country’s school students still depend on inadequate government schools – where teacher quality is abysmal, attendance is poor, infrastructure non-existent, and corruption rampant." The non-governmental organization, Pratham, conducts a study in rural areas published as, "The Annual Status of Education Report". The report states that after three years, 60% of students still cannot read, except for their first name maybe, compared with 54% four years ago. Nearly 20% of students surveyed from Class 2 didn’t recognize the numbers between one and nine, and only 25% of students in Class 3 could do subtraction.
The goal of the Career Pathways Program is for each child to receive a quality education that will give them the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty in their lives. The private schools they attend are giving them just that. Many of the children have dreams of becoming teachers, nurses, doctors, and engineers. With a quality education, the chance of passing the high school exit exam and moving on to a college degree program is much greater.
We believe every child deserves to have the opportunity to achieve his or her dreams. What do you think?
Sponsor a child in the Career Pathways Program! $35 per month provides education, nutritious meals, vocational education, and will eventually help send them to a career skills training or college degree program.
Click the box below to learn more about the children who need a sponsor.