Education in India isn’t something a new concept. It was always an integral part of the very foundation of the Indian society. With modern India, education too has taken a giant leap which has captured global attention not because of the number of illiterates the country has but the quality of education system it has evolved. The Indian economy has observed an immense growth in the recent past as an effect of the flourishing literacy rate in the country. With the history stretched back to the times of Vedas, Puranas, Ayurveda, Yoga, Arthasahtra…extending from formal education under the Gurukul system to the modern new age eLearning concept, India has for sure has travelled an exhaustive journey crossing each milestone. It would be extremely interesting to understand and analyze the present and future developments of the educational scenario in India. Education in India The present statistics states that primary education has crossed the mark of approximately two-third of the total population. Out of which, 40% of the population is illiterate and only 20% of the students go to schools. Since time immemorial, discrimination based on caste and gender has always been a major deterrent when healthy development of the society is in question. So to avoid such prejudice, the Indian Constitution has made elementary education a fundamental right for every child falling between the age group of 6 to 14 years. According to the 2001 census, the sum total of literacy rate in India is 65.38% where the female literacy rate is only of 54.16%. With the fact that only 59.4% of rural population is literate compared to 80.3% of the urban population, there is a humongous gap between rural and urban literacy rate.University Grants Commission (UGC) has been established by the Indian government to accelerate higher education system in the country. The chief role of UGC lies in controlling and co-coordinating the standards of higher education in the country.Current ScenarioWith a view to promote elementary education in the country, the Indian government has also prohibited child labor to protect children from working under unhygienic conditions. However, both free education and ban on child labor are difficult to be enforced simultaneously due to poor economic disparity and social conditions. Moreover, shortage of adequate resources and lack of political support are some of the reasons due to which the system has been adversely affected by the gaps that include high teacher-student ratio, poor infrastructure and insufficient teacher training. In fact, professionals from established institutes are often called to support vocational training for these kids.The government has initiated Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in 2001 with a view to provide instigate the education system and make its reach wider and more accessible to every child. The program focuses specially on girls and children with challenged social or financial backgrounds. In order to aid children firmer their grip in the computer sector as well, special schools are being set up in the rural areas.Education for the Marginalized in IndiaApart from Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the government has also introduced reservation system where 7.5% seats in the higher educational institutes are reserved for the Schedule Tribes (ST), 15% for the Scheduled Castes (SC) and 27% for the non creamy layers of the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Efforts are also being made to improve the education accessibility for the women section. The growing acknowledgment of concepts like eLearning and distance education courses along with expansion of the Open University system is also contributing a lot in standardizing education in India.However, in spite of constant efforts being put forth to develop qualitative education system in India, there are still some major loopholes and widespread prejudices. With renewed emphasis laid on the education sector in the 11th five year plan and increased expenditure in both primary and secondary education, this can eventually act as an analgesic for the chronic Indian educational system.
College education is the main investment in human resource and therefore plays a major role in the development of a country. The US government plays a major role in ensuring that Higher Education is affordable and easily accessible to the larger mass through different loans and scholarships. Nevertheless, there are some factors that have contributed to the unfortunate reduction of federal aid. According to a Study by the Joint Economic Committee, tuition fee in High Education Institutions has doubled in less than 20 years and seems to increase by the day. The study also showed that in 1995 High education was far much cheaper at a price of US$ 6000 including accommodation for public institutions. College financing is therefore a nightmare for the average parent.In the last 10 years, federal aid has increased by a margin of 65% margin but this has not helped in making education affordable. The cost of student loans is regularly increasing and this directly affects its availability. The upper and middle income earners are getting better deals, while the poor have to seek alternative Financing options. Some look out for Grants while others seek other scholarship chances for their education. Federal aid has gone down by 36% and this has left little if any hope for the poor students.Student loans are not perfect enough to seal the gap for the middle income earners as well. The tuition fees have rapidly increased in the last 10 years by a 45% margin, which in turn affects the benefits of the student loans. In general this system depends on student debts not considering the less fortunate families. Due to these factors, the gap between middle income earners and the poor who attend college has significantly increased. The fear of getting into debt has made many poor families avoid the loans altogether and hence never attend college. So what is the way forward and what should parents do in order to ensure they are better prepared to see their children through college?Saving for CollegeParents are supposed to contribute a certain percentage towards college education and while this is the case, there is a tendency of not saving. Whether your child wants to get a 2 year associate degree or a 4 year bachelor degree, planning in advance is important. There are several things you need to consider before you start saving and this includes the college the child is going to attend, the course they will be pursuing and the charges for the same.In this regard, community colleges are least expensive. They offer courses that range from $ 300 to $ 600. State colleges on the other hand are known to vary in cost though the average cost per course can be high or lower than $ 1000. Private universities are the most expensive and while this is the case costs vary from one school to another. Regardless of the costs, one thing you have to note is that college education is not cheap and you need to prepare in advance for the challenges that lie ahead.The dangers of not saving for collegeThere are several dangers posed by the lack of an early saving plan for your child’s college education. Top on the list is the fact that you deny your child the opportunity to pursue college education. As mentioned earlier, education forms the backbone human resource and failing to educate your child only places them at a disadvantage in the job industry. In the future, it is expected that college education costs are going to rise higher and lack of preparation only poses a serious threat towards continued education. The future is also unpredictable and preparing early is the only way to ensure you are forearmed and your child is set for college.Foreign Education and the CostsForeign education has been an alternative for some parents who have had it rough while trying to get their children an education. With the high increase in education costs in some of the leading cheaper foreign education destinations such as Asia and the Middle East, it is even more difficult for parents to meet the cost. This has led to an increase in the number of students searching for alternative funding such as scholarships and part time jobs. Yet, this has done little to alleviate the situation and make it easier for parents. Overseas education has roughly fifty scholarships and some countries do not allow students to work and study at the same time. Those who manage to get funding get lesser amounts and this is because of the recovery from the Global meltdown. It is for all these reasons that parents need to look for alternative financing options for their kids’ college education such as independent scholarships. For more information refer to financingcollegeedu.com