THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Vinala Ramachandran (ed.). Gender and Social Equity in Primary Education: Hierarchies of Access. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2004. 381 pages. Paperback. Indian Rs 390.00.
Education is a basic human right. Over the past sixty years much progress has been made in raising literacy levels across a large cross-section of developing countries. For instance, Pakistan has seen an increase in literacy levels from 15 percent in 1951 to just over 50 percent in 2004. In India also there has been a significant increase in literacy levels. The 2001 Census of India showed that 65.4 percent of the population could be considered to be literate. A breakdown by sex revealed that more males (75.85 percent) were literate than females (54.16 percent). Although the figures are impressive, much remains to be done in India if literacy levels are to be raised to the levels that prevail in the developed world. Thus, appropriate plans, programmes, and projects need to be implemented to provide basic primary education to all children. However, there are two sides to the picture; one that deals with the demand for education and the other with the supply of education. On the demand side, one of the most important factors is that of income of the parents. On the supply side, it is the quality of education being imparted, particularly the level of teaching standards, and the up-keep of school buildings.