From The Education Sector Sushma Paula Berlia

Sushma Berlia was one of the first women in her family to go to the factory with her father after school. “Education and knowledge are core strengths, and women should be completely self reliant”, are mantras she completely lives by. Today, President & Co Promoter of the Apeejay Stya & Svran Group, Sushma Berlia’s contribution to the education industry is priceless.

The challenges for the education industry are same in India, as they are for anywhere else in the world: Access, Quality, Equity & Relevance.

The Literacy Rate in India 

Real Concerns

Sushma Berlia talks passionately about the gender gap in the youth literacy rate in India. Sadly, even amongst the youth, there is a 15% gender gap in literacy.

A leader in the true sense, she believes in mentoring the women staff, and guiding them in balancing work-life. We asked Sushma Berlia to throw some light on the education scenario in the country. She believes that by 2060, a 100% literacy rate could be achieved, but the challenge to educate women is still a grave issue.

States like UP, Bihar and Rajasthan have a high density of population, and a very low literacy rate, especially for women, which is concerning.

Rural states have seen recent development, in terms of educational and transportation infrastructure. Thus, we find more number of children going to schools. But are we able to retain them in schools is the real question?

As per Ms. Berlia, for the girl child especially, retention &/or attending school regularly becomes a bigger challenge. Toilet facilities, safety, cleanliness, sanitation etc are problems that one can see at the brim.

Indian society is such that family members contemplate a million times before sending their girl child anywhere; even if it’s sending them to school.

The Apeejay Stya Group has established many schools in the rural areas. Many of the ones that were given to the local communities were dilapidated. And this is just ingrained in the Indian society. When a choice needs to be made between education a boy or a girl child, boys are at a benefit. That is the real concern today that needs to be challenged.

The Solution

Ms. Berlia put forward some great suggestions & ideas, that could be beneficial towards improving education of the girl child.

Making education less costly for girls, so that parents are encouraged to send girls to schools.

Building schools “closer”, in terms of distance, to the homes that have girl children.

Providing women teachers for girl children.

Separate toilet facilities for girls, to make them feel comfortable.

Implementing such things would make the girl child’s family feel secure and encouraged to send them to schools. The mindset of societies can be changed gradually over a period of time

Her Perspective on Women Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs in the very definition, should be willing and should have the ability to take risks!

Sushma Berlia proudly states that there has been a great increase in the number of women entrepreneurs.

Women today are more educated and thus,  have a better sense of self worth. They have more exposure, and self confidence… maybe because their mothers were also well educated.

Luckily, the scenario is changing, but a lot of work needs to be done to achieve a 100% literacy rate by 2060.

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