India has been successful in increasing access to school, but now the focus must shift to quality. In October 2019 WB released the data to support a new learning target. To cut the global level of learning poverty in India by at least half, by 2030.

About the learning poverty in India

  • Learning to read is an especially critical skill.
  • It is the foundation on which other essential learning is built including numeracy and science.
  • For most children, turning 10 is an exciting moment as they will be learning more about the world and expanding their horizons
  • But too many children more than half of all 10-year-olds in low and middle-income countries cannot read and understand a simple story.
  • The world is in the middle of a global learning crisis that stifles the opportunities and aspirations of hundreds of millions of children. 

Need to mitigate  the Learning poverty 

  • It is key to eliminating poverty in general and boosting shared prosperity.
  • To improve learning outcomes:
  • Globally between 2000 and 2017, there has only been a 10% improvement in learning outcomes for primary school-aged children. 
  • If this pace continues, 43% of 10-year-olds will not be able to read in 2030.
  • To achieve SDG goals :
  • The target we have set is ambitious but achievable  and should galvanise action toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4)  ensuring quality education for all. 
  • It will require nearly tripling the rate of progress worldwide, which can be done if every country can match the performance of the countries that made the most progress between 2000 and 2015.
  • To increase global productivity:
  • The learning crisis not only wastes the children’s potential, it hurts entire economies.
  • It will negatively impact future workforces and economic competitiveness.
  • As per  the World Bank’s Human Capital Index shows that globally, the productivity of the average child born today is expected to be only 56% of what it would be if countries invested enough in health and education.


  • In India, the Right-to-Education Act has been successful in increasing coverage and access to school education but now there is an urgent need to shift the focus to quality
  • The decision of India to join the Programme for International Student Assessment and the merger of schemes under Samagra Shiksha are encouraging signs that India is moving in this direction.
  • In Kenya, the government’s national reading programme has more than tripled the percentage of grade two students reading at an appropriate level. This was accomplished through technology-enabled teacher coaching, teacher guides, and delivering one book per child.
  • In Vietnam, a lean, effective curriculum ensures that the basics are covered, there is deep learning of fundamental skills, and all children have reading materials. Learning outcomes of Vietnamese students in the bottom 40% of the income ladder are as high, or higher, than the average student in high-income countries.
  • By setting a global target, the World Bank can work with countries to define their own national learning targets. 
  • Cutting learning poverty in half by 2030 is only an intermediate goal. Our ambition is to work with governments and development partners to bring that number to zero.
  • The World Bank is also working with governments and development partners to improve entire education systems, so advancements in literacy can be sustained and scaled up.
  •  WB programme includes:
  • Making sure children come to school prepared and motivated to learn
  • Teachers are effective and valued and have access to technology
  • Classrooms provide a well-equipped space for learning
  • Schools are safe and inclusive.
  • Education systems are well-managed.

Eliminating learning poverty must be a priority, just like ending hunger and extreme poverty. It will not be easy, but we cannot back down from the challenge. We owe it to the children all over the world to set our sights high, so they can too.

About Samagra Shiksha 

  • Quality of education is a comprehensive term that includes learners, teachers, teaching learning process, learning environment, curriculum, pedagogy, learning outcomes, assessment, etc. 
  • To take cognizance of this, Government of India launched the Samagra Shiksha-an Integrated Scheme for school education, w.e.f. 2018-19,
  • It is  an overarching programme for the school education sector extending from pre-school to class XII 
  • It  aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education. 
  • It subsumes the three erstwhile Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
  • The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has been advised to take appropriate steps to review the National Curriculum Framework-2005.