Nearly 73 per cent of young Indian respondents to an international survey believe that the quality of education in the country has become better now than it was in the past.
The survey — The Changing Childhood Project — conducted across 21 countries, including India, by UNICEF and Gallup and released ahead of World Children’s Day on November 20, shows that 57 per cent of surveyed people aged 15 and 24 years and 45 per cent of people above 40 years in India feel that education is the biggest determinant of success.
There are different perceptions among men and women when it comes to education. “Nearly 78 per cent of women respondents above 40 years of age from India feel that education for children today is better than it was for their parents, compared to 72 per cent of older men,” the survey said.
In addition, at 59 per cent, girls between aged 15 and 24 years are more convinced than others that education plays a role in success. Furthermore, 67 per cent of girls feel that digital technology has helped children in education, compared to 59 per cent of boys,” the report said.
The survey findings from India also show some perception gaps between younger and older respondents — 71 per cent of older people believe that children will be economically better off than their parents, compared to 66 per cent for younger children.
According to the report, 57 per cent of young people in India use the Internet daily, compared to 27 per cent of older people — the fourth largest generation difference among 21 countries.
The report also found that 55 per cent of younger people in India have heard of climate change compared to 42 per cent older people — the biggest overall gap across 21 countries. The younger generation is much more likely to blame companies for climate change.
Respondents in India have the second biggest generational gap in saying it is acceptable for parents to physically punish a child (55 per cent younger, 47 per cent older).
Shockingly, India also has the second-highest share of young people who believe it is ok for teachers to physically punish children, a practice which should normally be unacceptable.
Despite the differences, respondents from both generations agree on some issues. India is the only country where the majority of young people, as well as older people, believe their country would be safer if it worked more on its own.
India also has very low numbers of young and older people who identify with being part of the world. In fact, at 17 per cent, India had the second-lowest per cent of young people among 21 countries who feel they identify most with being a part of the world, the report said.
The report said that nearly 73 per cent of young Indian respondents between 15-24 years of age believe that the quality of education has become better now than it was in the past
The survey involved more than 21,000 people aged 15 to 24 years and 40 years and above in 21 countries, including in India, in early 2021. The 1500 respondents from India were surveyed before the second deadly wave of COVID-19 this year.
“In India, where an overwhelming number of the world’s young people reside, it is heartening to see the optimism and value attached to education,” said Yasumasa Kimura, UNICEF India Representative (interim).
“Clearly women and girls see greater value in education, given the tremendous progress that India has made in girls’ education over the past decades.
“This progress is now at stake due to the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures, especially for girls who have less access to technology and are more likely to be burdened with household chores and child marriage. To prevent any reversals in achievements in girls’ education, we must invest in education and get children safely back to schools,” he said
The survey found that besides education, young Indians are also optimistic about their future when it comes to physical safety and economic progress.
“For example, 64 per cent of young people aged 15-24 in India are likely to believe that the world is becoming a better place. This was higher than the average across 21 countries, which was 57 per cent. In addition, 70 per cent of young people from India believe that physical safety has become better over the past generation,” the report said.
The survey also found that 65 per cent of young respondents from India believe that it is very important for politicians to listen to children’s voices.
On World Children’s Day, kids from across the country will present a charter of their demands for the safe reopening of schools and learning recovery in a session with Indian Members of Parliament.
This is part of week-long Child Rights Week observed by UNICEF and partners from National Children’s Day on 14 to World Children’s Day on 20 November to raise awareness for millions of children who have missed out on their right to education and to call for urgent support to learning recovery.