World Bank on India’s Learning Poverty

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the education sector was one of the many sectors that took a massive hit. India and many other countries had to shut down colleges and schools while encouraging online classes. But, during the pandemic, there were irregularities and its effects were felt by the students especially the ones from the marginalized communities.


  • World Bank has raised the concern stating that the ‘learning poverty’ of India has risen to 70 per cent.
  • This has worsened the education sector of the country.
  • This concern has been raised by Jaime Saavedra, Global Director of Education of the World Bank.
  • The numbers stated are not official numbers, but they are the results of an initial observation of the country’s education sector.

About learning poverty

Learning poverty is defined by the World Bank as the inability of a child to read a simple text by the age of 10. The organization has stated that many children across the globe are not proficient in reading properly. Across the world, more than 260 million children do not attend school and this is deepening the crisis further. Learning Poverty can be mainly found in developing countries across the world, including India.

EduAnalytics Report

In the 2019 EduAnalytics report by the World Bank, in India 55 per cent of the children at the late primary age are not able to read correctly. This problem increased during the COVID-19 pandemic with observers suggesting a 20 per cent increase.

What should be done?

Jaime Saavedra spoke to Dharmendra Pradhan, the Education Minister of India regarding efforts that are being taken to bridge the gaps in this field. India needs to reopen its schools and ensure the students are attending so that education can be imparted properly. The students who had to drop out during the pandemic due to sudden school closure needs to be convinced so that they re-enrol.




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