New Delhi: About 20 million Indian children—nearly 27% of the total in the three-to-six-year age group—are not attending pre-school, Unicef said in a report on Tuesday, urging India to ensure higher enrolment in pre-schools for bettering education outcomes at the elementary and secondary levels.
The State of the World’s Children Report 2016 by the agency said that children in the “poorest families and in the marginalised communities are often left behind”.
Among communities, 34% of Muslim children did not attend pre-school, making the religious community the one with the highest number of children not availing of pre-school education. The number was 25.9% for Hindus and 25.6% for Christians.
The report said among different caste categories, the scheduled castes were the worst off with nearly 30% of their children not going to pre-schools.
The report comes at a time when the TSR Subramaniam committee’s recommendations on a new education policy for India are being discussed and debated in the public domain.
One of the key recommendations of the committee was to declare pre-school education for children in the age group of 4-5 as a basic right.