Higher Education Review Magazine

Higher Education Review ›› Magazine ›› December-2016 ›› Special issue

Dynamics of Youth Population and Expenditure on Education in India

Author : Dr. Joydeep Goswami, Dean of examination, JIMS

Dr. Joydeep Goswami

India has a diverse youth population (13 - 35 years) in terms of ethnic origin, religion and socio-economic setting. There are diverse communities with their distinct customs, cultures, and values. Such diversities require customized initiatives to meet the needs of youth. The policies and programs on youth have been implemented from time to time for the development of the youth in particular. Youth comprises 18 percent of world's population and of this about 85 percent lives in developing world. A third of India's population was below 15 years of age and close to 20 per cent were young people in the age groups of 15-24. Close to 61 percent of the population in India belong to the age group of 13-59 years and 38 percent of them belong to the age group of 13-34 years.

Youth and Education level

Education plays a vital role in achieving human development and hence the universalization of school education and complete eradication of illiteracy among the people in the age group of 15 to 35 years is one of the basic objectives of the five years plan. Substantial gains have been made in literacy and education levels in India since independence. In the first half of the 20th century rise in literacy rate was comparatively slow. In 1901, a little over five percent of Indian population was literate, which increased to around 16 percent in 1950, an increase of just 11 percentage points in five decades. In the post-Independence period, the decadal growth in literacy has shown a considerable progress, i.e., from 18.3 percent (5+ age group population) in 1951 to 75 percent (7+ age group populations) in 2011. Despite stringent efforts on the part of the government and various social organizations in implementing compulsory education during the last six decades about 22 percent of the youth between the age group of 13 to 35 years in India are still illiterate. Going into the details it is revealed that the illiteracy level is around 35 per cent in the age group of 25 to 35 years.

Education and Household Expenditure in India

An analysis of household expenditure in the past decade reveals that the average household has been spending on an increasing number of different goods. An average Indian household in rural areas spends about 2.7 percent of the total monthly expenditure on education while the urban counterparts spend about 5 percent. More strikingly, it is revealed that the amount of household spends on education in rural areas is almost same the amount spent of pan, tobacco and intoxicants. It was observed that due to declining priority of education in the public policy paradigm in India, there has been an exponential growth in the private expenditure on education.

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