History of Women’s Education in India:
In the Vedic period women had access to education in India, they had gradually lost this right. However, in the British period there was revival of interest in women’s education in India. During this period, various socio religious movements led by eminent persons like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar emphasised on women’s education in India.
Mahatma Jyotiba Phule, Periyar and Baba Saheb Ambedkar were leaders of the lower castes in India who took various initiatives to make education available to the women of India. However women’s education got a fillip after the country got independence in 1947 and the government has taken various measures to provide education to all Indian women.
As a result women’s literacy rate has grown over the three decades and the growth of female literacy has in fact been higher than that of male literacy rate. While in 1971 only 22% of Indian women were literate, by the end of 2001 54.16% female were literate. The growth of female literacy rate is 14.87% as compared to 11.72 % of that of male literacy rate.
Strategy and Policy Adopted By Go3 for the Development of Women Education:
Educate a man and you educate on person. Educate a Coman and you educate the whole family: Jawaharlal Nehru
Women’s education in India has been one of the major issues of concern of Government of India as well as the society. It is because of the fact that today the educated women play a very significant role in overall development and progress of the country. Woman holds a prominent position in the Indian society as well as all over the world.
Nevertheless eradication of female illiteracy is considered as a major concern today. In recent then, GOI has established a number of institutions for the educational development of woman and girls. These educational institutions aim for immense help and are concerned with the development of woman.
The constitution of India not only grants equality to woman but also empowers the state to adopt measures of position discrimination in favour of women for neutralizing the socioeconomic, educational and political disadvantages that they could be facing.
The fundamental rights, among other ensure equality before the law, equal protection law, prohibt discrimination agoint any, on grounds of religion, race caste. Sex or place of birth, and grant equality of opportunity to all citizens is matters relating to employment.
One of the recommendation of National Policy of Education (1986) by the Government of India is to promote empowerment of women by way of the agency of education and it is considered to be a landmark in the approach to women’s education of illiterate.
Women education has assumed special significance in the context of India’s planned development, as it is incorporetor in every five year plans as the significant programme for the development of women.
The Third, fourth and other Interim plans (1961 – 74) accorded high priority to educate women. The National Literacy Mission is yet another position step towards eradication of illiteracy in the age group of 15 – 35 years.
Universalization of elementary education, enrolment and relention of girls in schools, promotion of balwadies and crutches, raising number of school and colleges of art, science, and professional for girls, politechniques, girls hostels, multi-purpose institutions and adult education programmes are some of the steps being taken by both central and state governments in India to increase up womens education.
Importance of Women’s Education in India:
Women’s education in India plays a very important role in the overall development of the country. It not only helps in the development of half of the human resources, but in improving the quality of life at home and outside.
Educated women not only tend to promote education of their girl children, but also can provide better guidance to all their children. Moreover educated women can also help in the reduction of infant mortality rate and growth of the population.
Gender discrimination still persists in India and lot more needs to be done in the field of women’s education in India. The gap in the male-female literacy rate is just a simple indicator. While the male literary rate is more than 75% according to the 2001 census, the female literacy rate is just 54.16%.
Prevailing prejudices, low enrolment of girl child in the school, engagements of girl children in domestic works and high dropout rate are major obstacles in the path of making all Indian women educated.