India’s Rural Education = Big Opportunity for Startups

Huge demand for affordable, quality education options in rural India are creating opportunities for capable entrepreneurs

Education in rural India is plagued by many problems. Poor infrastructure, access difficulties, lack of financial support and poor quality of educators are a few of the most pressing of problems.The state and central government is trying to tackle these issues by pumping almost INR 310 billion (approx. USD 5.7 billion) into improving school infrastructure and recruiting teachers.

There is also the Right To Education Act enshrining the rights of all children to free and compulsory education. Quality mid-day meals are also attracting students and giving them the fuel they need for learning. These and other initiatives have over the past four years led to the increased enrollment and attendance levels in schools.  (97% and 71% respectively, according to the ASER 2012 report ).

The big question, however, is whether enrollment and attendance are the right barometer for evaluating the progress of rural Indian education. In the mad search for numbers, has quality been ignored?

Are They Learning? A comprehensive survey conducted by the NGO Pratham, called ASER (The Annual Status of Education Report 2012) – which has reached about 3,00,000 households and 7,00,000 children, spanning every rural district in India –   has put out interesting and alarming statistics.  

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