Padakshep-India (Students' Padakshep)
Students' Padakshep is a registered society in West Bengal, India. Although, we collaborate with Padakshep in the USA, Students' Padakshep is governed independently. We support underprivileged meritorious students for their education. We also run various projects to promote education in West Bengal, India.
Students' Padakshep is Padakshep-India. We are independent of Padakshep in the USA but work together towards solving the problems of our education system. We need your support in this mission. We are of the students, by the students and for the students and will always remain so.
Idea behind Padakshep-India
Achievements and shortcomings of India’s prosperity
India’s economic growth has been a subject of discussion worldwide since the end of twentieth century and beginning of twenty first century. Goldman Sachs’ report in 2007 predicted that India’s economy will most likely surpass that of US before 2050. According to India’s planning commission, India’s GDP growth rate was at around 8% for the eleventh five year plan. However, among all these achievements and hopeful predictions, there was always a constant warning in all the reports and that is India will have to work hard on many social issues, education being one of them. India does need rapid economic growth but the facts that even after 20 years of high growth rate, India is among the poorest countries in the world and the literacy rate (74%) is still well below the world average (84%) indicates the work has just begun and we have miles to go.
India’s possible demographic dividend and the role of higher education
Interestingly, at this time, India is also expecting a demographic dividend as the average age of the Indians will become 29 by 2020. However, this demographic dividend can well become a demographic disaster if we cannot focus on the needs of higher education in the context of growing economic activities. Access to high quality education is extremely essential to realize a country’s potential as it provides the opportunity for the poor and disadvantaged masses of the population to claim equal share in the growth and prosperity.
Problem of low enrolment in higher education and its impact on growth
The first problem in higher education in India, apart from various other problems, is the abysmally low enrolment (23%) of students in higher secondary level. When it comes to undergraduate education, enrolment drops even further (8% among relevant age group). Students often drop out from high schools as their families suffering from poverty do not see any future in further education or they simply cannot afford the high costs of higher education or there are not enough local high schools. Many cross-country studies have found positive and statistically significant correlations between schooling and growth rates of per capita GDP - on the order of 0.3% faster annual growth over a 30 year period from an additional one year of schooling. This is especially important keeping in mind the extremely low gross enrollment ratio (26.23%) at higher secondary level in a state like West Bengal.
- Indian Higher Education: Time for a Serious Rethink, by Santosh Mehrotra, the journal of the Boston College Center for International Higher Education. Number 56 Summer 2009.