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Poor learning outcomes in education are rooted in poverty and various other societal factors which hinder opportunities and hamper progress of education. Analyse. (250 words).

Topic: Social empowerment

1. Poor learning outcomes in education are rooted in poverty and various other societal factors which hinder opportunities and hamper progress of education. Analyse. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint

Key Demand of the question:

To state the societal reasons for low productivity in learning outcomes. 

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:


Start by mentioning the link between social factors and progress of education.


First, write how poverty is limiting education – poor nutrition, lack of adult support, lack of resources and hindrance to quality education etc.

Next, write about the societal factors which are limiting education –low priority, caste-based discrimination, inequalities, lack of continuity etc.


Conclude by writing a way forward to overcome the above societal hindrances. 


Education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality. Education is equally key to enhance India’s competitiveness in the global economy. A public-school system becomes highly necessary to provide, universal and quality basic education for all, in particular for the poor and rural population. This is central to the economic and social development of India.


Poverty as a limiting factor in education

  • Poor nutrition: Poverty means poor nutrition for children. Not only does it undermine their physical and social development, including their neurological responses, it also has day-to-day implications.
    • Hungry children, which is unfortunately the state of too many, cannot concentrate in the classroom.
    • A malnourished child falls ill frequently and can’t attend school.
    • Education is not the only casualty of this tragic phenomenon. One has to just observe the wasting of our children because of poor nutrition.
  • Lack of proper adult supervision and care: Second, poverty ensures that children do not have the same kind of adult support and care at home as in middle-class families. It is simply because the adults are struggling to make a livelihoo Such adult care and contact are critical for learning.
  • Resource deficit: Third, homes in poverty do not have resources that support and create an environment for learning. Their adults themselves are often inadequately educated and they are short of books, other learning material and time.
    • Eg: Many poor households could not afford smartphone, internet or laptop to their children during pandemic.

Societal factors limiting education

  • Gender bias: Girls are often sent to government schools while a male child is sent to private school. Moreover, after intermediate school, girls are made to drop out either for marriage or to do household chores.
    • Some cultures will allow education for girls and women but limit the content of the education or skew the education to prepare them for a limited number of social roles
  • Caste discrimination: In certain villages in India, even today children are segregated based on caste.
    • Various researches reveals that the education system perpetuates and legitimizes social inequality, due to the economic, political, ideological and pedagogical practices that permeate schools.
  • Family income: Financial stress on the parents can cause a child to leave school early to work. Worries about financial hardship at home can negatively affect low-income children’s ability to learn.
  • Tribal problem: Access to education is the biggest hindrance. Most of the tribal children drop out of school or are not sent to school as their integration is low in the society.
  • Extreme inequality and decision-making power: The children of the well-to-do attend elite well-resourced schools, with access to more than enough support at home. They have no problems in learning.
    • But the vast majority of children in our unequal country go to schools that might as well be on a different planet.
    • Thus, the well-off, who control or influence the levers of power, have no personal stake in nor any exposure to the reality of most Indian lives.

Way Forward

  • Since education is a concurrent subject (both the Centre and the state governments can make laws on it), the reforms proposed can only be implemented collaboratively by the Centre and the states.
  • Thus, the Centre has the giant task of building a consensus on the many ambitious plans.
  • There is a need to strive Towards Universalisation of Education. Also, creation of ‘inclusion funds’ to help socially and educationally disadvantaged children pursue education.

Conclusion : Improvement in education requires continuity of direction and action. Most educational interventions would take 10 -15 years before they show any sign of real success. However, our governance culture is such that the priorities and directions are changed rapidly. Education, which is a matter of inter-generational change, just can’t improve with this kind of instability that prevails.


Value addition

Measures being taken

  • Digital Gender Atlas for advancing Girls’ Education: This tool is developed by Department of School Education and Literacy with support from UNICEF. It will identify low performing geographic pockets for girls, especially from marginalized groups such as scheduled caste and scheduled tribes.
  • ‘Adarsh’ integrated school system of Rajasthan is an example of a school complex system. Here one school provides classes from l to XII under one principal. There is one such school in every gram panchayat.
  • Economic Survey 2018-19 opines that BBBP(Beti Bachao Beti Padhao) has been a success and propose to extend the cause of Gender equality by coining the slogan of BADLAV (Beti Aapki Dhan Lakshmi Aur Vijay-Lakshmi) to enhance the contribution of women in the workforce and the economy.
  • Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat: Nationwide sub-program of SSA to improve comprehensive early reading, writing and early mathematics program for children in Classes I and II.
  • Teacher Competency: In line with this, MHRD and the National Council for Teacher Education launched the National Teacher Platform or Diksha in 2017. It is a one-stop solution to address teacher competency gaps.
  • Increasing focus on early childhood education as per the draft New Education Policy (under Chairmanship of Kasturirangan).