Since its emergence as a global player in the technology sector, India has branded itself as the world’s leading outsourcing destination for multinational companies. In a shift of economic development, in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, India is increasingly perceived as capable of reinventing itself due to demographic changes and the formation of a formidable knowledge economy. In order for these developments surrounding business growth to continue to take place, India’s education infrastructure must keep up with its growing young population. India has invested capital in its educational system to provide Indians the marketable skills to integrate and compete in the world economy. For low-income families, free public education is made readily available and is nationally mandated until eighth grade. In Mumbai’s largest slum called Dharavi, an increasing number of impoverished young people receive a college education after having completed grade school with the hopes of either launching a profession in the city or returning home to contribute to a family business. Throughout India’s modern history, until recently, Dharavi families have struggled to break out of the poverty cycle. In the past, more broadly, the entire country’s education system has rarely benefitted impoverished families seeking food and shelter as an immediate priority, since children could instead be sources of labor. In fact, parents removing children from the public school system and sending them out onto the streets to beg for money was commonplace until mandatory public education laws were enforced. Now, providing children with a primary education—a springboard toward securing steady income and ultimately financial stability—is considered the norm.
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