South Asia – 1: A Region in Trouble?

In this post we present some basic facts about our region so that readers are aware of the challenges that are to be addressed. 

South Asia is home to 25 percent of the world’s population.

Yet, it contains:

  • 50 percent of the world’s poor people
  • 66 percent of the world’s malnourished children
  • 33 percent of the world’s child deaths every year
  • 50 percent of the world’s adult illiterates (over the age of 15)
  • 40 percent of the world’s out-of-school children (ages 6 to 14)

Of South Asia’s population of 1.3 billion, approximately 1 billion (85 percent) are classified as poor surviving on less than $2 per day. Half of the region’s adults are illiterates, half of its children between the ages of 6 and 14 attend no school at all, 40 percent of its primary school children drop out before reaching the 5th grade.

It is no wonder that South Asia is classified as the world’s poorest, most illiterate, and most malnourished region in the world.

Add to this the fact that those who are getting an education are being instructed at the highest teacher-student ratio in the world because of a shortage of schools and a shortage of teachers. Many of those classified as literate are functionally illiterate.

And those, who escape all these handicaps, are disadvantaged by the content of education, which, more often than not, impoverishes rather than enriches the mind.

This birds-eye view would suggest that South Asia is in trouble.

The following questions need to be asked:

  • Is this an acceptable state of affairs?
  • How are these issues being addressed?
  • Are these the most effective ways of addressing these issues?
  • What are the most effective ways of addressing these issues?
  • What are the implications of not addressing these issues?
  • Why do these issues exist in South Asia?
  • Why do these issues persist in South Asia?
  • What are the significant variations within the region?

Over the next few posts, we will structure a discussion around these issues. Hopefully students will take a leading role in providing the answers.

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