Vinala Ramachandran (ed.). Gender and Social Equity in Primary Education: Hierarchies of Access. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2004. 381 pages. Paperback. Indian Rs 390.00.

Mir Annice Mahmood


Education is a basic human right. Over the past sixty years
much progress has been made in raising literacy levels across a large
cross-section of developing countries. For instance, Pakistan has seen
an increase in literacy levels from 15 percent in 1951 to just over 50
percent in 2004. In India also there has been a significant increase in
literacy levels. The 2001 Census of India showed that 65.4 percent of
the population could be considered to be literate. A breakdown by sex
revealed that more males (75.85 percent) were literate than females
(54.16 percent). Although the figures are impressive, much remains to be
done in India if literacy levels are to be raised to the levels that
prevail in the developed world. Thus, appropriate plans, programmes, and
projects need to be implemented to provide basic primary education to
all children. However, there are two sides to the picture; one that
deals with the demand for education and the other with the supply of
education. On the demand side, one of the most important factors is that
of income of the parents. On the supply side, it is the quality of
education being imparted, particularly the level of teaching standards,
and the up-keep of school buildings.

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