HC Deb 30 January 2002 vol 379 cc311-2W
26. Mr. Sheerman

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to assist the Indian Government to provide education for the children of low-income families. [29149]

Clare Short

We have committed about £200 million to expanding and improving primary education in India through the District Primary Education Programme in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal, through the Lok Jumbish and Shiksha Karmi programmes in Rajasthan, and for post-cyclone reconstruction of schools in Orissa.

The programmes specifically target poor children, especially girls and disadvantaged groups, such as the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and working and disabled children. These are highly successful programmes that are having a significant impact on enrolment, retention and quality, reaching increasing numbers of out-of-school children and involving high levels of community participation.

We are currently discussing with the Government of India how we can further support their efforts to universalise education up to the age of 14, in the light of their 'Elementary Education as a Fundamental Right' Bill and recent Constitutional Amendment on the same subject.

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