India is on track to achieve net enrollment rate (NER) of more than 97 per cent by 2015, the Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report of the Unesco released Tuesday said.
“Of the 17 countries with most children out of school, just three - Bangladesh, Brazil and India - are on track to achieve NER in excess of 97 per cent by 2015,” the report said.
As per the global educational and cultural body, India had 7.2 million out-of-school children in 2006 and it will be reduced to just 600,000 in 2015.
The enrolment in secondary education in India has increased from 39 per cent in 1999 to 43 per cent in 2006.
With 7.6 million out-of-school children, Nigeria will be worst off, followed by Pakistan (3.7 million), Burkina Faso and Ethiopia with 1.1 million are at joint third spot.
In terms of absolute numbers, 80 per cent of adult illiterates worldwide live only in 20 countries -- 50 per cent of them live in India, China and Bangladesh.
The report also emphasises that with the share of government expenditure on education dropping between 1999 and 2006 in 40 countries including India, low fee private primary schools were filling the slot.
In South Asia, Bangladesh devotes 2.6 per cent of national income to education, Pakistan 2.7 per cent and 3.3 per cent of India's national income goes to education.
Poor quality government schools are important factors in the growth of private players. In India, the, contract teachers (para-teachers) have been used to increase the supply of teachers to remote rural schools.
“As they are often less qualified and more inexperienced than civil service teachers (trained teachers), the situation raises concern about providing teaching of equal quality to all areas,” the report underlines.
However there is one good news - India, along with Bhutan and Nepal, has achieved gender parity in primary education.
According to the 2001 census, India's literacy rate is 65 per cent.