How We Work

Children in India

Education
India is a country with more than one billion people, and just one-third of them can read. Rapidly growing size of population, shortages of teachers, books, and basic facilities, and insufficient public funds to cover education costs are some of the nation’s toughest challenges. This is where Children in India are facing the basic challenges. According to a study, more than 30% of educational funds are allocated towards higher education, leaving the primary education in India in sway.
India is fourth among the top 10 nations with the highest numbers of out-of children in primary level. Furthermore, the rate of school drop-outs amongst students is very high. One of the main reasons behind this is poverty. When earning a livelihood and taking care of the members of the family becomes a primary matter of concern in one’s life, education stands a little or, very often, no chance of pursuance. For the underprivileged people in India, education is perceived as a high-priced luxury, and this negative outlook continues on with every new generation.
A disproportionate number of total out-of-school children in India are girls. What denies equal opportunities of children are serious social issues that have arose out of caste, class and gender differences. The practice of child labour in India and resistance to sending girls to school in several parts of the country remain as genuine concerns. If the current trend continues, millions of underprivileged children will probably never set foot in a classroom.
India’s growth relies on a well-educated and skilled workforce. Improving education is a critical area of investment. A shabby foundation in primary education can overturn the lives, careers and productivity of millions of its citizens. Already, a considerable proportion of the adult workforce in India is acutely under-equipped to be eligible for skilled and semi-skilled jobs. In order to build India as a consumer market of global standards, it is very important that every child reaps the benefits of quality education.


Health
As much as 500 million of India’s total population live below the poverty level. These families live in living standards that are among the poorest in the world. Thousands of mothers, newborn babies and children in India die every year from preventable diseases. 27% of deaths of children below age 5 are because of prematurity, 14% due to respiratory infections and 11% due to diarrhoea. 66% of the rural population in India lacks access to preventive medicines.
Healthcare is, by far, out of a poor man’s reach. About 75% of healthcare resources are concentrated in urban areas, where only 27% of the total population resides. 31% of the rural population in India has to travel over 30 km to get even the most urgent medical treatment. About 40% of the population in the metropolitan and large cities live in urban slums, where primary healthcare is provided by health posts. Most of the health posts are located outside the slum areas, making accessibility difficult.
Healthcare is every child’s right but problems like lack of quality infrastructure, shortage of experienced medical functionaries and non-access to basic medicines and medical facilities avert its reach to over 60% of the child population in India. The need of the hour is to work collectively towards promoting health in areas, where the poor children manage to survive.

Nutrition
As per studies, one in three of the world’s malnourished children lives in India. In India, each year, an estimated 27 million children are born—nearly 2 million of which do not survive the fifth birthday. A major cause of this is malnourishment. Over 200 million people in India do not have access to good food, and more than 40% of the children who manage to survive beyond the age five are malnourished. In India, 46% of all children below the age of three are too small for their age, 47% are underweight and at least 16% are wasted. Millions of poor children in India do not receive immunization. 79% of children under age 3 suffer from anaemia. More than 50% of children have poor learning capacity because of iodine deficiency.
Due to inadequate intake of essential nutrients, malnourished children experience several problems, including delays in development, weight-loss and other illnesses. In young children, undernourishment can greatly compromise the immune system, making them highly susceptible to infectious diseases. Besides this, it causes severe growth implications and cognitive implications like memory deficiency, low IQ scores, impaired school performance, and learning disabilities.
Underprivileged children are at a higher risk for various short-term and long-term complications as they experience several macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies since the time of birth. In fact, it is before birth that many children and their mothers face complications, due to undernourishment. Girls are more at risk of undernourishment than boys because of their inferior social status. Every year, thousands of women die due to negligible intake of essential nutrients during pregnancy. The child and maternal mortality rates for India are amongst the highest in the world. It is believed that malnutrition alone causes 50% of infant and maternal deaths.

Statistics on Status of Child Education in India

Male  and Female  literacy at 54.16%
Of the 193 million Children in the age group 6 to 14 years, 8.1 million children are out of school as of Sept 2004 as per Government statistics.
Net primary enrolment ratio in 2001/02 : 83.7%
Children reaching grade 5 in 2000/01 : 59.8 %

Ministry of Finance / Press Information Bureau Data

Number of Primary Schools in India : 0.664 million (2001-02)
Numbepper Primary Schools in India : 0.219 million
Population in the age group of 6-14 years : 193 Million
Secondary and Senior Secondary Schools : 0.133 million; Enrollment : 30.5 million
Findings from the Survey – ‘Social infrastructure like education is as important as physical infrastructure, not only for sustaining high growth but also for enhancing welfare. The root of poverty often lies in illiteracy.’

                   Census of India 1991
•    State with highest literacy rate : Kerala (89.8)
•    State with lowest literacy rate : Bihar (38.5)
•    District with highest literacy rate : Kottayam, Kerala (95.7)
•    District with lowest literacy rate : Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh (19.0)

                   Facts on Education

•    Less than half of India's children between the age 6 and 14 go to school.
•    A little over one-third of all children who enroll in grade one reach grade eight.
•    At least 35 million children aged 6 - 14 years do not attend school.
•    53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years are illiterate.
•    In India, only 53% of habitation has a primary school.
•    In India, only 20% of habitation has a secondary school.
•    On an average an upper primary school is 3 km away in 22% of areas under habitations.
•    In nearly 60% of schools, there are less than two teachers to teach Classes I to V.
•    On an average, there are less than three teachers per primary school. They have to manage classes from I to V every day.
•    High cost of private education and need to work to support their families and little interest in studies are the reasons given by 3 in every four drop-outs as the reason they leave.
•    Dropout rates increase alarmingly in class III to V, its 50% for boys, 58% for girls.
•    1 in 40, primary school in India is conducted in open spaces or tents.
•    In Andhra Pradesh (South India), 52 upper primary schools were operating without a building in 2002, while in 1993, there were none.
•    In Maharashtra (West India), there were 10 schools operating without a building in 1993, this has climbed to 33 in 2002.
•    More than 50 per cent of girls fail to enroll in school, those that do are likely to drop out by the age of 12.
•    50% of Indian children aged 6-18 do not go to school

                    Summary of UNCRC

Article 1
Everyone under 18 years of age has all the rights in this Convention.


Article 2
The Convention applies to everyone whatever their race, religion, abilities, whatever they think or say, whatever type of family they come from.


Article 3
All organisations concerned with children should work towards what is best for each child.


Article 4
Governments should make these rights available to children.


Article 5
Governments should respect the rights and responsibilities of families to direct and guide their children so that, as they grow, they learn to use their rights properly.


Article 6
All children have the right to life. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop healthily.


Article 7
All children have the right to a legally registered name, and nationality. They have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for, by their parents.


Article 8
Governments should respect children's right to a name, a nationality and family ties.


Article 9
Children should not be separated from their parents unless it is for their own good (for example if a parent is mistreating or neglecting a child.) Children whose parents have separated have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might harm the child.


Article 10
Families who live in different countries should be allowed to move between those countries so that parents and children can stay in contact, or get back together as a family.


Article 11
Governments should take steps to stop children being taken out of their own country illegally.


Article 12
Children have the right to say what they think should happen, when adults are making decisions that affect them, and to have their opinions taken into account.


Article 13
Children have the right to get and to share information, as long as the information is not damaging to them or to others.


Article 14
Children have the right to think and believe what they want, and to practise their religion, as long as they are not stopping other people from enjoying their rights. Parents should guide their children on these matters.


Article 15
Children have the right to meet together and to join groups and organisations, as long as this does not stop other people from enjoying their rights.


Article 16
Children have a right to privacy. The law should protect them from attacks against their way of life, their good name, their families and their homes.


Article 17
Children have the right to reliable information from the mass media. Television, radio, and newspapers should provide information that children can understand, and should not promote materials that could harm children.


Article 18
Both parents share responsibility for bringing up their children, and should always consider what is best for each child. Governments should help parents by providing services to support them, especially if both parents work outside the home.


Article 19
Governments should ensure that children are properly cared for, and protect them from violence, abuse and neglect by their parents, or anyone else who looks after them.


Article 20
Children who cannot be looked after by their own family must be looked after properly, by people who respect their religion, culture and language.


Article 21
When children are adopted the first concern must be what is best for them. The same rules should apply whether the children are adopted in the country where they were born, or if they are taken to live in another country.


Article 22
Children who come into a country as refugees should have the same rights as children born in that country.


Article 23
Children who have any kind of disability should have special care and support, so that they can lead full and independent lives.


Article 24
Children have the right to good quality health care, to clean water, nutritious food, and a clean environment, so that they will stay healthy. Rich countries should help poorer countries achieve this.


Article 25
Children who are looked after by their local authority, rather than by their parents, should have someone review the situation regularly.


Article 26
The Government should provide extra money for the children of families in need.


Article 27
Children have a right to a standard of living that is good enough to meet their physical and mental needs. The Government should help families who cannot afford to provide this.


Article 28
Children have a right to an education. Discipline in schools should respect children’s human dignity. Primary education should be free. Wealthy countries should help poorer countries achieve this.


Article 29
Education should develop each child's personality and talents to the full. It should encourage children to respect their parents, and their own and other cultures.


Article 30
Children have a right to learn and use the language and customs of their families, whether these are shared by the majority of people in the country or not.


Article 31
All children have a right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of activities.


Article 32
The Government should protect children from work that is dangerous, or that might harm their health or their education.


Article 33
The Government should provide ways of protecting children from dangerous drugs.


Article 34
The Government should protect children from sexual abuse.


Article 35
The Government should make sure that children are not abducted or sold.


Article 36
Children should be protected from any activities that could harm their development.


Article 37
Children who break the law should not be treated cruelly. They should not be put in prison with adults and should be able to keep in contact with their families.


Article 38
Governments should not allow children under 15 to join the army. Children in war zones should receive special protection.


Article 39
Children who have been neglected or abused should receive special help to restore their self-respect.


Article 40
Children who are accused of breaking the law should receive legal help. Prison sentences for children should only be used for the most serious offences.


Article 41
If the laws of a particular country protect children better than the articles of the Convention, then those laws should stay.


Article 42
The Government should make the Convention known to all parents and children.


Definition of a Child in India


As per the child rights charter, a universal definition of "child" includes all persons under the age of 18.
40% of India's population is below the age of 18 years which at 400 million is the world's largest child population.


Facts on Education


Less than half of India's children between the age 6 and 14 go to school.
A little over one-third of all children who enroll in grade one reach grade eight.
At least 35 million children aged 6 - 14 years do not attend school.
53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years are illiterate.
In India, only 53% of habitation has a primary school.
In India, only 20% of habitation has a secondary school.
On an average an upper primary school is 3 km away in 22% of areas under habitations.
In nearly 60% of schools, there are less than two teachers to teach Classes I to V.
On an average, there are less than three teachers per primary school. They have to manage classes from I to V every day.
High cost of private education and need to work to support their families and little interest in studies are the reasons given by 3 in every four drop-outs as the reason they leave.
Dropout rates increase alarmingly in class III to V, its 50% for boys, 58% for girls.
1 in 40, primary school in India is conducted in open spaces or tents.
In Andhra Pradesh (South India), 52 upper primary schools were operating without a building in 2002, while in 1993, there were none.
In Maharashtra (West India), there were 10 schools operating without a building in 1993, this has climbed to 33 in 2002.
More than 50 per cent of girls fail to enroll in school; those that do are likely to drop out by the age of 12.
50% of Indian children aged 6-18 do not go to school

Statistics on Child Labour


17 million children in India work as per official estimates.
A study found that children were sent to work by compulsion and not by choice, mostly by parents, but with recruiter playing a crucial role in influencing decision.
When working outside the family, children put in an average of 21 hours of labour per week.
19% of children employed work as domestic help.
90% working children are in rural India.
85% of working children are in the unorganized sectors.
About 80% of child labour is engaged in agricultural work.
Millions of children work to help their families because the adults do not have appropriate employment and income thus forfeiting schooling and opportunities to play and rest.
Children also work because there is demand for cheap labour. High incidence of child labour is a result of high incidence of adult unemployment.
Large numbers of children work simply because there is no alternative - since, they do not have access to good quality schools.
Poor and bonded families often "sell" their children to contractors who promise lucrative jobs in the cities and the children end up being employed in brothels, hotels and domestic work. Many run away and find a life on the streets.
There are approximately 2 million child commercial sex workers between the age of 5 and 15 years and about 3.3 million between 15 and 18 years.
They form 40% of the total population of commercial sex workers in India.
80% of these are found in the 5 metros.
71% of them are illiterate.
500,000 children are forced into this trade every year.


Data on Health


70 in every 1000 children born in India do not see their first birthday. The total number of such children works out to 2 million.
58% of India's children below the age of 2 years are not fully vaccinated. And 24% of these children do not receive any form of vaccination.
95 in every 1000 children born in India do not see their fifth birthday.
Only 38% of India's children below the age of 2 years are immunized.
74% of India's children below the age of 3 months are anaemic.
Over 60% of children in India are anaemic.
Acute respiratory infections are leading causes of child mortality (30%) followed by diarrhoea (20%) in India.
One in every 100 children in India between age group of 0-14 years suffers from acute respiratory infection.
Almost one in every five children in India below the age of 14 suffers from diarrhoea.
58% of India's children below the age of 2 years are not fully vaccinated. And 24% of these children do not receive any form of vaccination.
Only 38% of India's children below the age of 2 years are immunized.
Almost one in every five children in India below the age of 14 suffers from diarrhoea, an easily preventable disease.


Special Statistics on Girl Child


1 out of every 6 girls does not live to see her 15th birthday.
Of the 12 million girls born in India, 1 million do not see their first birthday.
Of the 12 million girls born in India, 3 million do not see their fifteenth birthday, and a million of them are unable to survive even their first birthday.
One-third of these deaths take place at birth.
Every sixth girl child's death is due to gender discrimination.
Females are victimised far more than males during childhood.
3 lakh more girls than boys die every year
Female mortality exceeds male mortality in 224 out of 402 districts in India.
Death rate among girls below the age of 4 years is higher than that of boys. Even if she escapes infanticide or foeticide, a girl child is less likely to receive immunisation, nutrition or medical treatment compared to a male child.


Updates on Nutrition


More than 50% of India's children are malnourished.
While one in every five adolescent boys is malnourished, one in every two girls in India is undernourished.
23% of India's children are underweight at birth.

 

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