Sample Education Essays on Higher education for women in India

Introduction

In the current world, most have come to the realization that education is key when it comes to improving lives. Therefore, nations need to invest in their education systems for the sake of their economic success. The education system in India is known to be one of the top three next to the US and China. The education system in this nation has improved quite tremendously from the time they gained their independence. There seems to have also been a lot of challenges that face the education system in India. This is especially true in the higher education institutions. The female group was the most affected by the various challenges that come with higher education, but in recent times, things seem to be taking a positive turn. Due to the importance of India developing and maintaining a gender-specific pedagogy as well as provide some flexible kind of educational system, the topic at hand needs to be addressed for the creation of awareness and for the sake of finding solutions to the challenges presented. This assignment is therefore focused on highlighting the various challenges in the higher education system within India with special attention to the female group. This will be done by taking a look at the past and the recent trend of women in the higher education system in India.

Approach

The paper is an examination of the women’s access to higher education in India, which has been a concern over the years. The content has been drawn from a plethora of secondary data that is accessed from various search engines. This was done by making use of key words such as higher education, India, challenges, recent trends, and so forth. The main search engines were Google scholar, Jstor, and Emerald Insight. The exclusion criteria were based on the consideration of the authors, the time period relevant to the content, the reliability of data provided, the credibility of the content present, and also contributions used within the content of the sources. Many of the sources spoke of Asia in general, but this search was narrowed down to India. The sources that focused on education from the primary level were also excluded, thereby leaving those that spoke of the higher education only. Finally, only thirteen sources were found to be credible enough and were therefore used for this assignment.

Main body

Critical opportunities are lost in the wake of developmental programs as well as policies that fail to mitigate gender disparities within education systems. There is a substantial amount of importance that should be placed on education for girls and women. This is not only on the grounds of social justice but also due to the fact that for there to be any significant social change, thi9s issue needs to be addressed. Even in settings where women are believed to expect women to be domestic managers, education will enable this group to take care of the hygiene, nutrition, education, and health of the whole family. Education is also something that allows women to achieve a high level of empowerment with respect to their rights, choices, and abilities.

Profiling Gender Gap in the Indian Education

In the past, there has been a plethora of literature that has addressed the issue of the gender gap in education. For instance, publications from the World Bank (1997), which maps the route taken by primary organizations, Shukla and Kaul (1998) and Bhattacharya (1998), which become more specific in looking at the status of the the Indian education, Ramchandaran (1998), which focuses on the female education in South Asia and Haq and Haq(1998), who look at development based on education in South Asia.

There have been various policy statements coupled with guidelines that have addressed the issues of the gender gap through acknowledging the reasons for the existence of this disparity. The existence of negative attitudes, discrimination of resources and amenities for the female group in schools, lack of security within and without schools, the distance from how to school, gender stereotyping, early marriages, fear of isolation, economic difficulties, and so forth are among the many reasons for the hardship encountered by women in accessing higher education in India.

The Indian higher education for the female group is thought to be one of the largest globally. In 2009, the state had 20 universities, 17 state universities, and 5 institutions that functioned under the state Act. There were other institutions that included 16000 colleges (Government Report, 2009).

However, it is noted that there was quite a gap in the access to higher education within this nation. This is not the only nation that has created a social bridge which condition men as the superior sex and the women as a second-hand sex. There are two primary statistics that can be used to measure this disparity in India. For one, there is only 46.2 percent of women who enroll in higher education, which is significantly lower than the male group. Additionally, only 24 percent of women from higher education gain access to the Indian labor force (Financial Express, 2017). Moreover, the 24 percent who access the labor market are limited to reaching the senior level management position and are paid 20percent less than their male counterparts (The Economic Times, 2018).

Disciplinary Choices for women in higher education

So as to get a clear view of the challenge that women face in accessing higher education, it is important to look at the disciplinary choices that they have. There is no direct relationship between the availability of disciplinary choices for women and their ability to access these choices. These two things are also not rely on the academic achievement of this female group. The main reasons for the gender issue with disciplinary choices is due to the social ethics.

There is a large number of women who are limited to accessing their subjects of choice in higher education due to the existence of patriarchy within the Indian social system(Still, 2017). This means that their parents, especially the men or their guardians, are in charge of choosing the course that the women should pursue within the higher education system. This is a decision that is guided any their social and cultural beliefs and practice that propose that the female group should not access work or earnings prior to being married. The Indian social and cultural belief is that education is a fall-back plan for the women who are deserted by their husbands or become widows (Chanana 1998). On top of this fact, even after the woman is married, the choice of whether to work or not is directed to the groom’s family. This means that there is a good number of women whose careers are not linked to their academic achievements.

In other cases, the women were their own enemies as they were limited to accessing the higher education through their preconceived notions. Most of them did not believe that they could balance the work and home life successfully as they assumed that the pressure from academic achievement or career would disrupt their roles as expected by society. Through some research by the National Committee on the Status of Women in India (1974), findings reveal that the women sample had social attitudes, which made them lag behind in the educational front, closing up many opportunities for them.

Akin to the above challenge is the financial one, which mostly affects the poor parents that have a low-level income(Koker and  Jentzsch 2013; Ahmad, 2017; Michalski, Cunningham, & Henry, 2017; Hasler, 2017). There are those among the poor parents that understand the value of education for the girl-child. However, they lack the resources to provide the necessary higher education for their children. The women that come from such backgrounds lack the necessary role models, which affect their access to higher education. From all the above factors, women and their families agreed on the choice of courses that are linked to humanities and arts as these are the cheaper options for the women in higher education as well as being softer and shorter in pursuing compared to other professional courses like STEM. However, in recent times, things seem to have taken a turn for the best. The next section will look at the transformation that has occurred for women in accessing higher education and in their choices.

Recent Trends

There is a rapid growth globally. This is especially true for the higher education in relation n to the female group. When it comes to the rate of attendance of the higher learning institutions, nations like India have been able to put aside some of their social norms and cultural beliefs so as to accommodate women empowerment through education. In some countries around the world, women have outnumbered the men in enrolling for higher education. In India, the education for women has now been seen to bring positive changes, especially to their economy and development.

Reports by Sharma (2020) indicate that there is a significant rise in the women that have currently enrolled for higher education in India. This is indicated by a 1,350 percent increase from 2011. Between 201-11, there were 1.2 million women, and by 2018, the number had risen to 17.4 million. This is a staggering increase that is facilitated by a plethora of things. However, it is too early to celebrate as the number dwindles significantly when looked at from the job market. Only 29 percent of women from the higher intuitions get to access the labor force of this nation (Sharma, 2020). The use of GER to determine the number of students that actually get to access the job market brings forth a credible ratio for this purpose. In 2020, the enrollment for women in higher education was at 47.6 percent, while seven years ago, this rate was at 44 percent.

According to Olson-Strom and Rao (2020), there is some distinct feature that is noted today in the Asian education system. There is an ongoing increase in women’s only universities. These kinds of institutions give women a chance to deal with various barriers that have limited their access to higher education. These institutions have given how to those women whose families cannot allow them to get a decent education. It gives even the families the comfort of understanding that these women are insecure areas as they study. This would eventually break off the shackles tied to excuses for women not to attend higher education. The same institutions would work to provide the most conducive environment for the women who blocked themselves from thinking wider into accessing higher education based on the social norms that they experience. There are studies whose findings indicate the potential of women from single-sex universities being higher and that these women attain high grades in courses like business, science, arts, and so forth. In turn, this trend is likely to create a generation of women leaders within and without India.

However, as earlier mentioned, there are still some financial restrictions and quality concerns that limit the women’s access to higher education. It is noted that even at the faculty positions in the above mentioned single-sex institutions are mostly filled by men. This is somewhat ironic as a representation of women in these positions is important for the sake of the students getting to look up to their gender type.

Conclusion

Indeed, one may ask the reason why it is important to educate the female group in society. The answer to this question lies in the fact that women make up a majority of the world’s population. Far from the above imbalance within the higher education or the labor pool, educating women, especially in the higher institutions, is quite important even just for their self-esteem or confidence. It develops their critical and creative side helps them build a positive image and so forth. Therefore, this means that education does much more than encourages more participation in various development processes in a nation like India. Additionally, the education independence is something that would bring added incentives for the female group, which would then help in curbing the vicious cycle of traditional and negative stereotypes related to women.

 

Reference

Ahmad, S.H. 2017. Higher Education in India: Challenges and Opportunities. Journal of Education and Practice, v8 n1 p39-42 2017

Bhattacharya,Sabyasachi(ed)1998.The Contested Terrain:Perspectives on Education in India. New Delhi:Orient Longman

Chanana, K. 1988. ‘Social Change or Social Reform: The Education of Women in pre Independence India’, in K Chanana (ed) Socialisation, Education and Women: Explorations in Gender Identity, Orient Longman, New Delhi. 1. Census of India. 1881. Primary census abstract, General Population. Part II(B) series 1 India

Financial Express. 2017. India needs more women in leadership roles: Here is a look at shocking reality. Retrieved from https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/india-needs-more-women-in-leadership-roles-here-is-a-look-at-shocking-reality/807195/

Government Report (1974). Report of the National Committee on the Status of Women in India towards Equality, Ministry of Education and Social Welfare

Government Report (2009). India 2009: A Reference Annual (53rd edition). Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India

Hasler, A. 2017. Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center. The gender gap in financial literacy: A global perspective.

Haq,Mahbubul & Khadija Haq ..1998 Human Development in South Asia 1998 Dhaka :Oxford University Press

Koker,, L. and  Jentzsch, N. 2013. Financial Inclusion and Financial Integrity: Aligned Incentives? World Development, Volume 44, pp. 267-280.

 

Michalski, J.H., Cunningham, T., & Henry, J. (2017). The Diversity Challenge for Higher Education in Canada: The Prospects and Challenges of Increased Access and Student Success. Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, 39, 66-89. Retrieved January 24, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/90007872

Olson-Strom S., Rao N. (2020) Higher Education for Women in Asia. In: Sanger C., Gleason N. (eds) Diversity and Inclusion in Global Higher Education. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-1628-3_10

The Ecionomic Times. 2018. Gender pay gap scenario daunting in India, women get paid 20% less than men. Retrieved from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/gender-pay-gap-scenario-daunting-in-india-women-get-paid-20-less-than-men/articleshow/63204351.cms

Renn, “Roles of Women’s Higher Education Institutions in International Contexts.”

Ramachandran ,Vimala (ed) .1998. Bridging the Gap between intention and Action :Girls‟ and Women‟s Education in South –Asia.New Delhi:ASPBAE

Shukla,S. &Rekha Kaul (eds).1998.Education,Development and Under-development.New Delhi:Sage Publications.

Sharma, K. 2018. Number of women enrolling in higher education rises 1,350 per cent in 7 years.  Retrieved from https://theprint.in/india/governance/number-of-women-enrolling-in-higher-education-rises-1350-per-cent-in-7-years/89453/

Still, C. 2017. Dalit women: Honour and patriarchy in South India, retrieved from

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=TEcrDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=patriarchy+in+india&ots=Bj2rWyCTBa&sig=G3VF0YkJtuYinMVlbwflS4LtDhE

 

World Bank(1997)Primary Education in India. Washington D.C.:World Bank