India: Education, Poverty, and OverpopulationIntroduction John Dewey once said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” India is the second most populated country in the world and is also a country of poor education and a poor economy. The imbalance between education, poverty, and the culture in India is a major cause of their overpopulation and the various issues that come along with it. Education As India being a developing country, there are still aspects that are missing that would be a part of a developed country, one of which would be education. As a reference, in the United States, there are states, counties, townships, and cities and within each lower area there are strict laws, rules, regulations, and systems that are in place. India’s education system is one system that varies through different areas. The education system in India is based on each of their twenty-eight states and their seven “Union Territories” which are generally smaller than the states. The states’ systems are governed by their own individually elected government and the seven territories are strictly and directly governed by India’s government. Boulden 2There is room for error in each system because of how it is controlled and who it is controlled by. Supporting this, “Excessive population leads to working institutions dysfunctionality…” (Impact of Overpopulation on India’s Growth). For instance, the people living in the territories are often not exposed to high levels of education because of the amendment passed in 1976 that of which gave the states a large amount of freedom in making certain decisions such as placing programs under the Government of India (GoI). This encourages India’s state officials to be as strict or as lenient as they desire in constructing their ideal educational system. The general schooling system is identified by age that is much the same in the United States where the grade levels are classified as elementary, middle, and high school, India classifies these as primary and secondary and within each set of school levels there are smaller categories. Dr. V. Sasi Kumar, an Indian doctor in physics and a member of the FSF India Board of Directors, reports India having four schooling levels (not including a pre-school or college level) that are “lower primary (age 6 to 10), upper primary (11 and 12), high (13 to 15), and higher secondary (17 and 18),” (Kumar) however, these numbers represent average ages by reason that some children in India start primary school at the age of five. The curriculum varies by these levels and whether the school is located in a state or a union territory. Primary curriculum focuses on “reading, writing and arithmetic, supplemented by history, geography, general science and civics (Education in India).” Only in schools that are in states teach English as a required language. The Department of Education explains that the secondary curriculum focuses on learning two languages (English or Hindi), mathematics; science and technology, Boulden 3 social science, history, civics and geography, “work education or pre-vocational education,” art, physical and health education. Students of secondary years are also given opportunities to take part in electives such as, “commerce, painting, music, home science or information technology” (Education in India).Studies show that only 4.5 percent of India’s population are graduates or above and 32.6 percent do not have primary education. Supporting this, “compulsory education is guaranteed by the constitution as a fundamental right until the age of 14″ (Education in India). In relation to the United States, it is a law that permits teens to dropout of school and abdicate their duties to receive education at the age of sixteen. Also, about 60 percent of the students who enroll in primary school drop out by the time they reach Standard V (the final year of lower primary education) and while more than half of the primary students are dropping out, about 23 percent do not receive proper education. This about 83 percent of the people who barely learn further life, health, and financial skills. These children, preteens, and teens are already faced with real world problems; no more solving for x and more solving for survival. Their education systems aids them into falling into poverty- one of the leading causes of overpopulation in India. Poverty”According to a recent Indian government committee to constituted to estimate poverty, nearly 38% of India’s population (380 million) is poor” and “India still has the world’s largest number of poor people in a single country” (Poverty in India). This is subject to increase with Boulden 4respect to how the birth rate of India is larger than the death rate. According to the CIA World Factbook India has a birth rate of “19.3 births/1,000 population” and the death rate in India is “7.3 deaths/1,000 population” (India Death Rate). Relating the dropout rates with poverty rates with also the birth and death rate, further emphasizes how each sub issues, becomes a part of the greater environmental issue. Also, many citizens of India cannot rise above the poverty line because of their education and with many not receiving the sufficient amount of education to gain a well paying job they are stuck in a poverty loop. It is also a problem for agricultural workers like farmers. More labor is required to do the work that more modern and advanced machines can do, however, these farmers cannot afford expensive items that would benefit them and their families. Possibly, “By improving agricultural productivity it would have directly alleviated poverty by the hundreds of millions (just like in China did in the 1990s)” (Causes of Poverty in India). Ironically enough, farmers often do not grant people of a class lower than them a job. Also supporting this, “People do not get sufficient quantity of food due low availability of food which affects their health and productivity” (Main Effects of Population Explosion in India). Low productivity causes low per capita income and thus poverty.”Again, referring to education, illiteracy is a cause of poverty. “The persistence of high illiteracy has created a situation where poverty and population have been feeding each other ” (8 Reasons Why India Is So Poor). Respectively considering India’s culture, overpopulation is not a surprise. Boulden 5 CultureIndia’s cultural background is a barrier to economic growth. One Indian proverbs states, “raising girls is like watering someone else’s lawn” (India & Birth Control). This suggests that when a female becomes a part of another family after marriage that it could be a burden because it is extra or it is not “their” job. Rumani Saikia Phukan explains that, “Also, in India, marriage is a sacred obligation and a universal practice, where almost every woman is married at the reproductive age” (Overpopulation in India). If in fact sixty percent of primary students dropout and can legally do this at the age of fourteen that means that many females are sent off to marriage and begin to focus on family values and not her own education. To continue this, “Also when a girl marries she becomes part of her husband’s family and contributes nothing further to her parents future welfare” (India & Birth Control). Additionally, “Early marriage of girls and lack of awareness about reproductive healthcare, particularly in the rural areas, are major factors behind current population growth” (8 Reasons Why India Is so Poor). Another point in their culture is that “sons are the bread earners of the families in India” (Overpopulation in India). Phukan also explains that, “This age old thought puts considerable pressure on the parents to produce children till a male child is born. More the better” (Overpopulation in India). Priscilla Rodarte explains that “men are more than twice as likely to salaried jobs in the large and medium sized towns” (10 Facts About Poverty India). The amount of children born could decrease if more women used contraceptives. “As a nation, roughly 50 percent of the population uses some form of birth control. Of the women who choose voluntary sterilization, 60 percent wait until they have at least two boys or on average four children” (India & Birth Control). Boulden 6OverpopulationOverpopulation is a conflict within itself. “Countries like Brazil, China and India add more to their woes by neglecting substantial increases in their populations” (Impact of Overpopulation on India). India simply does not have the proportionate amount of produce and products to properly sustain everyone in their entire population. This includes jobs, housing, food, hospitals, schools, clean water, and other humane necessities. Furthermore, overpopulation can also cause environmental problems such as deforestation, natural resource depletion, pollution and more. Conclusion To conclude this essay, the imbalance between education, poverty, and the culture in India is a major cause of their overpopulation and the various issues that come along with it. With the education system being weak in India there are various problems that become long term. The education systems allows for students to dropout at a young age and young females are sent off to marriage to begin a family of their own. Meanwhile, these are the same illiterate preteens and teens that become poverty stricken adults bearing kid after kids only to give birth to a son because of their cultural beliefs and drastically having a larger impact on the world through the continuous cycle of low education, poverty, and overpopulation. With most of India being below the poverty line, their population with continue to grow for a high demand of a son who can bring in money to create a successful husband and when this fails the cycle will continue until the GoI becomes stronger and aids the millions of poor families in India. Thickening the Boulden 7idea, this cycle could slowly decrease if more women were educated enough or paid enough to afford contraceptives considering the fact that only about fifty percent of the women in India are using contraceptives. Furthermore, the population could eventually become stabilized. The overpopulation of India causes many to be out of employment and cause their families to suffer through their health and their future. Also, if the population could be lowered there could be a possibility that there would be enough jobs to help manufacture and produce a plentiful amount of products and produce to sustain the everyone in India.