India (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana)
India is home to 1.2 billion people, of whom 30 per cent are children. The country is fast becoming an economic superpower, predicted to become the world’s third largest economy by 2035. Despite tremendous strides in economic terms, huge disparities among its population remain. Although India has the second largest number of billionaires in the world, it also has 25 per cent of the world’s poor people. While there are many fortunate enough to play a part in the country’s economic success story, there are others – mostly among the poorest – who continue to be affected by growing inequalities.
Various measures have been introduced by the Indian Government to empower disadvantaged groups and give them better access to opportunities. The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 builds on great strides in education: India now has almost universal enrolment at lower primary level (99.8%) and adult literacy has risen to over 75 per cent (up from 65 per cent in 2001). The Midday Meal scheme, the largest school feeding programme in the world, reaches an estimated 110 million children in over 120,000 schools across the country.
Young Lives is working alongside children and their families in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to find out what shapes their experiences of poverty. Our research priorities focus on:
Nutrition and growth: 45 per cent of children under the age of 5 in India are stunted (short for their age) – a greater percentage than in the poorest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. A high number of Young Lives children also experience thinness and are underweight – both of which are signs of long-term malnutrition. Young Lives is looking at the impact of malnutrition has on all aspects of our children’s lives.
Education: Significant progress has been made in terms of school enrolment in India, which increased from 185 million in 2007-08 to 199 million in 2011-12. However, girls are still less likely than boys to go to school: in Andhra Pradesh, 66 per cent of girls aged 6 to 17 attend school compared with 77 per cent of boys.
Over the same period private school enrolment has been steadily increasing, with low-fee private schools springing up across the country, including in urban slums and rural areas. According to the Young Lives data, almost a quarter of all children are now attending private schools: 80 per cent of older children from urban areas now attend private schools and almost 31 per cent in rural areas. However, children from the poorest quartile are likely to be enrolled in government schools. Young Lives is exploring the quality of and access to all forms of education to try and understand why these inequalities persist.
Our sample sites
We are carrying out our research in 20 sites across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, with a focus on poorer communities. Our study sites are in the districts of Anantapur, YSR Kudapa, Skrikakulam and West Godavari in Andhra Pradesh, and Mahbubnager and Karimnagar in Telangana, and a poor district in Hyderabad. Together, these areas cover different geographical regions, levels of development, urban/rural locations and population characteristics.
In India Young Lives works with the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS) in Hyderabad, Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalam (Women’s University) (SPMVV) in Tirupati and Save the Children-India.
Contact the team
To contact the team in India, email our office: Indiayounglives@gmail.com
Visit the Young Lives India website for more information and resources.