Literacy indicates a significant change in the socio-economic aspects of a region. Haryana in the past decade has seen a major rise in its literacy rate, from 67.91% in 2001 to 76.64% in 2011. This rise, however, does not uniformly represent all the areas and both the genders. If in an urban district like Gurgaon, literacy rate is 84.44%, in the rural Mewat district, it is just 56.14%. Similarly, the literacy rate of males is significantly higher than that of females, even in an urban area like Gurgaon, it is 87.97% for males, and 67.49% for females. Mewat, in this regard, has only 23.89% literate females. Rural literacy is, therefore, a big challenge in Haryana and improving it can make a major positive impact in brightening the future of Haryana.
Despite the laws mandating free education to children between the ages six and fourteen, kids in rural areas stay away from schools. Such a situation can be attributed to a combination of different factors, including availability of schools within a few kilometers and with good infrastructure, proper sanitation and toilets, appropriate student-teacher ratio, and the efficient management of schools. Even though, every year, the school department of the government sanctions money towards building and maintaining schools, the work at the ground seems incomplete. Moreover, studies have found that the student-teacher ratio is so high that teachers are not able to manage such a huge class. In order to combat such ground level issues, it is imperative that there is a participation of locals and volunteers. Finding a system to maintain accountability of each school building and maintaining the related activities can also go a long way in improving the rural education scenario in Haryana.
Among other reasons behind rural children not going to school, poverty and lack of awareness also factor. The lack of awareness is usually because most rural parents are not educated. Along with this, parents are struggling to get two square meals a day. Poverty is, therefore, a bane in ensuring the reach of literacy in rural Haryana. The issue thus remains in convincing parents into sending their kids to study. In this regard, for decades, governments have been running mid-day meal schemes to attract kids into enrolling and attending school. The introduction of adult education in rural areas can help increase awareness and importance of learning to the parents and elders in the village. Apart from these, laws prohibiting children to work and providing incentives to parents who send their wards to school can also be positive steps for increasing the number of literates in the rural areas of Haryana.
Another major issue faced in relation to rural literacy is that people don't find value in education. The curriculum is considered outdated and worthless for the future. There is, therefore, a need to better the curriculum and make it relevant for the rural community. Introduction of vocational training into academic learning can not only help improve rural literacy but also empower people for future careers. Vocational training can be given in a number of fields like farming, cold storage technologies, computers, tailoring, making arts and crafts, etc. This way Haryana can also gain more skilled manpower for different industries.
In the end, rural Haryana's future depends on improving its literacy and combining it with employment opportunities and value-added trainings.