Across India, the national standard of rural secondary education provision is low. Although most 14 – 18 year olds are in the formal education system, many are not even acquiring foundational skills like reading and basic arithmetic. Learning deficits are observed across all grades and accumulate with each grade (2017 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Beyond Basics). There is no mechanism within the school system to effectively address the needs of children who have fallen behind. Children from illiterate households are further disadvantaged as they cannot receive any support from home.
In Kotra, the administrative area where Bakhel is located, students’ attendance at local secondary schools is poor and their academic outcomes and achievements are low. In one school, no final year students passed their compulsory final exams in 2018, meaning that the students have no qualifications to show for their time in school. As a result, many students fail to complete their secondary education and most have little aspiration for their futures.