Unleash the power of peer-to-peer lending once again, as we gear up for another Rang De India campaign, this time, for education.
Last year, in India’s first, we at Rang De witnessed what democratizing credit can do to create a lasting impact to improve the lives of the marginalised communities. We are grateful to our ever-increasing army of social investors, who enabled this change.
It was on this date, exactly a year ago that we went into a nationwide lockdown. With the economy slowly picking up, and people starting to work out of their offices, the education sector continues to experience the repercussions of the lockdown. The closure of schools has negatively affected more than 1.6 billion students across the world with 99% of students belonging to low-income families. In January of 2020, the dropout rate in India was below 3% for the first time. However, this achievement was short-lived. With the spread of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, almost 24 million students in India are at the risk of dropping out of school during the upcoming academic year. This has only exacerbated the existing disparities in access to education.
How has the lockdown impacted the education sector in India?
Dropouts among children from low-income families: The Annual Status for Education Report (ASER) report states that there has been an increase in dropouts from 1.8% in 2018 to 5.3% for primary and upper primary students in 2020. Adolescent girls between the age of 11-15 contribute to more than 30% of these dropout rates. With livelihoods across sectors being hit during the pandemic, most low-income households have experienced pay cuts or loss of employment. This has resulted in innumerable students from these households having to drop out of school to help the parents earn a living for the family. Lack of funds to pay for a plethora of costs including fees, transportation, books, uniforms etc. has contributed to this increase, resulting in the loss of an academic year for many students.
Dependence on digital devices to continue education: The new normal in the pandemic called for increased dependency on digital devices to continue to work or learn from home. This was not a luxury available to all. With only 24% of Indian households having access to the internet, the number of households with spare devices for digital education is even lower. The ASER study also states that only 11% of all students in the country had access to digital education. Both the students and teachers found themselves inapt to meet the demands of online education. Lack of availability of infrastructure and skill further impacted the learning standards of the students.
A policy brief by the United Nations urges us to take immediate action in order to avoid “a learning crisis from becoming a generational catastrophe”. The need of the sector is urgent. As another academic year rolls to a start, children remain hopeful of being able to step into their schools, meet peers and have regular classes. Students are looking forward to continuing their education, be it offline or through digital devices, without having to lose yet another academic year.
Recent conversations with our impact partners depict an overwhelming opinion that in order to avoid a further increase in dropout rates this year, there is an immediate need to provide the students with low-cost credit. Over the next few months, during the admissions period, we strive to work towards providing our communities with interest-free education loans. The loans will enable the parents to meet all the costs required for the start of the new academic year.
Rang De is launching a massive campaign in partnership with NDTV and hosted by Dr Prannoy Roy to create awareness on the subject and help the students return to school. This impact, of course, is possible only if you help us unleash the power of peer-to-peer lending. With Rang De’s credibility and your heart, we can ensure continuity of education for these children.
Do join us on 4th April 2021, for a 2-hour live telethon to raise interest-free loans to fund the education of children across India. You can pledge your support by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org The amount that you commit will be disbursed to students belonging to low-income families to support them continue their education over the next academic year.