Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed that at least 15 crore children and youths in India are not part of the formal education system.

In a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) annual meeting, the education minister added that about 25 crore population is below the primary definition of literacy.

Pradhan said of the 50 crore (approx) children and youth between 3-22 years, around 35 crore have been enrolled in government, private and charitable schools, anganwadis, Higher Education Institutions.

That means, around 15 crore from this age group is out of the formal education system.

“If we take into account the numbers of children and youths between the age of 3-22 years who are enrolled in government, private and charitable schools, anganwadis, Higher Education Institutions and in the entire skilling ecosystem, the cumulative figure from all the verticals is around 35 crore while (the country’s) population in the particular age group is around 50 crore,” Pradhan said.

“This means that at least 15 crore children and youth are out of the formal education system. We want to bring them into the education system,” he added.

Talking about literacy, Pradhan said a census following the independence of the country had found that 19% of the population was literate then.

“After 75 years of independence day, the statistics of the literate population has reached 80 per cent. Which means 20 per cent population or roughly around 25 crores are still below the primary definition of literacy,” he said.

Elaborating on the various provisions in the new National Education Policy (NEP), Pradhan said it is not just a document, but a roadmap for the next 25 years to achieve “certain targets by the time we complete 100 years of independence”.

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