QUESTIONS ASKED – DAY-7 (26/07/2013)
1) ASER findings have exposed serious shortcomings in the quality of education provided to our children in spite of SSA and RTE implementation. What measures do you suggest to overcome these shortcomings? Discuss.
2) Why did India sign the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage and what were its consequences? Analyze critically the political and diplomatic implications of this step by India.
The report highlights the inability of Class 5 students to solve even class 2 level reading and mathematical questions and hence poses serious question on level of education provided.
RTE which entitles children of the age group of 6-14 the right to free and compulsory education is a boon for the students from weaker section of the society. Its provisions like mandate on the private schools for reserving 25% of their class strength for the weaker section, ban on donation and capitation fee, a fixed student and teacher ratio, norms for teachers training and qualifications are very sound. As the act is very recent it will take time to yield results yet only when the guidelines are strictly adhered to.
Mere enrollment in school should not suffice and to keep up with fast developing world the basic minimum skills must be acquired at due age otherwise it will perpetuate poor performance. The need of the hour is to make teachers perform. Teachers must be restricted to do personal work during school hours and must not involve students for their personal work in quid pro quo for favourable results. Regular and continuation evaluation of teachers, students and school infrastructure; strict incentive -disincentive mechanism for performing and non performing teachers and schools, creating fearless ambience wherein students don’t fear to ask questions, nurturing attitude of parents and teachers, and financial assistance by the state when genuinely needed can ameliorate the situation.
India has signed the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage (CSC), which seeks to establish a uniform global legal regime for the compensation of victims in the event of a nuclear accident. It provides for establishment of an international fund to increase the amount available to compensate victims and allows for compensating civil damage occurring within a State’s exclusive economic zone, including loss of tourism or fisheries related income.
It also sets parameters on a nuclear operators financial liability, time limits governing possible legal action, requires that nuclear operators maintain insurance or other financial security measures and provides for a single competent court to hear claims.
The opposition parties have criticized India’s signing of CSC on the ground that it removes India’s flexibility in charging international nuclear operators in the event of an accident. But, it must be remembered that what international investors prefer is predictability and they will invest only when they are assured that in the event of an accident their liability will be confined to internationally reckoned best practices and not on domestic policies which vary from nation to nation. So, signing the treaty is a welcome diplomatic step. We need investment in this sector which is perhaps the only large scale harness able energy source which is sustainable, environmentally benign and cost effective and though there are risks attached with nuclear technology the latest designs are far better, accident proof and with mechanism to deal in the event of accident.
Thanks Anjali for correcting me.I do feel that I do not know many aspects asked in second question.I will be thankful to you if you throw light on diplomatic and political consequences of signing CSC.
ASER report published by HRD ministry pointed out the sad state of affairs of educational structure in India. The report indicated that despite 3 years after the implementation of RTE, the learning outcomes of the children have actually decreased. It finds out that only 53% of class 5th students can read syllabus of class II. Further there has been sharp decline in the arithmetic solving capacity of the students. The report attribute this to abysmal low standard of education, no retention scheme, absence of continuous assessment, under trained teachers and lack of infrastructure and resources.
These lacunae require a multi pronged strategy with wide emphasis on increasing the financial support for education program from current 3.5% of GDP to 6% of GDP recommended by Kothari commission five decades ago, proper assessment at each level and doing away with no retention scheme, providing proper training to teachers and incentives for better performing ones, creating physical infrastructure like drinking water facilities, separate toilets for girls and boys and class rooms.
This requires a coordinated approach from both the centre and state and civil society organization as education is the mainstay for the growth and prosperity of the nation. It is instrumental in creating the knowledge base of the society There is a need to create a friendly milieu for the children where they can learn without fear .It is time that government should concentrate more on quality and skill development of students blended with a pro active learning environment which can enable them to come up to the dynamics of market.
The Annual Status of Education Report is a outcome of a large scale survey conducted by NGO Pratham among rural children in the age group 6 to 14, the same age group comes under RTE. The report reveals state of primary education in India.
Some of the revelations made by the report are, a decrease in enrollment in government schools, decline in attendance, lack of adequate classrooms and the most disappointing is the lack of basic arthematic and reading skills among the children.
Currently more focus is on spending money on infrastructure, black boards, uniforms, books etc which is important but more important are the teachers and teaching methods. Teacher training to fulfill child’s learning needs should be focused.
It should be ensured that child is enrolled in school at proper age so that important learning years are not lost. Focus should on elementary education and even teaching in mother tongue can be provided according to child’s requirement.
Classrooms, toilets, library, playgrounds are basic necessity for schools. Also it is revealed that student attendance is low therefore a child friendly environment should be created at schools.
Lastly It is important to hold regular inspections and proper supervision by authorities to maintain quality
Enrollment is increasing in private schools therefore quality of education should be improved in government schools. It is very important to focus more on outcomes rather than outputs.
Some important negative findings of ASER are:
Teacher Classroom ratio is declining;
Declining basic reading levels;
Arithmetic levels also show a decline across most states;
Children’s attendance has declined;
More than half of all Std 2 and Std 4 classes sit together with another class. Over these issues I would suggest following remedial measures,
Declining teacher classroom ratio simply suggest scarcity of teachers,
for this more appointment needs to be done, government need to invest more money in this.
Declining basic reading level and declining arithmetic level
suggests students are not getting quality education, for this purpose we need a innovative and vigilant teacher. A vigilant teacher will find out which student is lying behind the required level of education stage and innovative teacher will implement good methods to rectify.
To make teacher innovative and vigilant we need a good teacher training.
For this purpose government should implement new methods in training the teacher which are pertinent to curriculum and are with the need of time.
To make students active we need a keen teacher.
To teacher work enthusiastically his/her performance should be linked to incentives. By evaluating teachers preformance at the end of the year, as per performance he/she should be given pay hike. By this teacher will have a motto to work in a smart way.
Students of different class sitting together simply suggest shortage of class-rooms. For this we will need more buildings and government need to put some more money into this.
Where students attendance declining, parent should be taken into confidence and required to make them aware about importance of education so they will send their ward to school.
The success of any policy program lies in the effectiveness of its implementation. The implementation of RTE and programs like SSA requires synergic participation of various stakeholders like schools, teachers, ground level administration ,PRIs,parents and students themselves. The challenge is further compounded by its being a fundamental right rooted in constitution and it has to move against all the systemic resistances which any top down policy will face having the sole objective of social inclusiveness by providing parity among all to access basic education.
The ASER report 2012 has given an independent finding and needs to be pondered since it has negative consequences on the society and the nation in long run also. The report has revealed the shocking observations in rural india in particular, where the arithmetic ability of subs traction is lacking in students of primary level. It gets further compounded by the shift of students from govt to private schools indicating erosion of faith in public education system. The trend is more severe on gender basis in some states like Rajsthan and Uttar Pardesh.
The reasons are multipronged for this decline of faith in govt school education system viz structural, functional, behavioral, legal policy and implementation level flaws. Besides poor supervision, ambiguous role of PRIs’control, absenteeism, poor infrastructure, demotivated teaching staff and the lack of spirit In implementation has contributed to this startling observation. In some quarters it was felt that the shift to CCE (Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation ) from annual examination system as per RTE Act has resulted in demotivation for studies in students, which the ministry has refuted clearly.
Therefore, the emphasis has to be such that it infuses
-A deep sense of self accountability among teachers since education is a noble profession and only external accountability can not help.
– The PRIs be empowered and trained enough to handle an village education system for desired goals of the RTE.
– The performance appraisal of schools should be done primarily on quality of human infrasturcute and teacher student relationship for bringing students at the center stage of evaluation.
-The local administration and PRIs should function for winning the eroding confidence of the parents in govt schooling through spirited coordination and awareness.
-Use of technology for ensuring modern education and for effective monitoring of schools be done to bring parity between govt and private schools in the people’s perception.
This trend of decline if not arrested will cause the greater damage to society by rooting new kind of disparity between urban and rural youth and between rich and poor youth thereby vitiating the very purpose of the constitutional amendment in article 21.
The report does not say so but it does not go without saying that it will definitely deprive India as a nation from the only clear advantage India has among all the emerging economies i.e.its emerging Demographic Dividend.