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RSTV: THE BIG PICTURE- EDUCATION AGENDA FOR NEW INDIA


RSTV: THE BIG PICTURE- EDUCATION AGENDA FOR NEW INDIA


Introduction:

There is a dire need for revolutionary changes in the India’s education system, there is no doubt about that. The cut-offs at some of the top universities is over 99% if not 100%. Students are pushed to the brink to try and further their educational ambitions. Several aspects need to be addressed if we have to achieve the desired results and head in the right direction. India has one of the youngest populations in an aging world. By 2020, the median age in India will be just 28, compared to 37 in China and the US, 45 in Western Europe, and 49 in Japan. But for us to reap the benefit of this demographic dividend we need to ensure that we see an overhaul in our education system.

 

Our Indian Education system needs serious reforms and changes. India needs reforms from elementary itself. The ideal choice of learning is memorizing facts. Here to judge the student’s talent has only one factor i.e. percentage in board examination. So, students just mug up and undeniably Indian education is spoon feeding.

There is no hands-on knowledge in our Education system. Our Education system mainly emphasizes on theoretical knowledge. Some basic theoretical knowledge is required however our Education system focuses more on the theoretical knowledge.

 

Indian Education system:

The Indian education and social arrangements are very inflexible on kids and completely ignore their feelings, thoughts and ambitions. Kids are pressed to study from the age of 3. Non-performers are treated as dunces and detested by parents and society.

As per UNESCO data, India has one of the lowest public expenditure rates on education per student, especially compared to other Asian countries like China.

Education in most schools is one dimensional, with an obsessive focus on marks. Added to this is the lack of availability of trained teachers at all levels. Quality teachers are the missing link in the Indian education system. Although pockets of excellence exist, the quality of teaching, especially in government schools, does not meet the standards.

With a literacy rate of 77 percent, India lags behind other BRICS nations, which have literacy rates above 90 percent. All these countries have better student-teacher ratios. So not only does India grapple with poor quality teachers, it also has fewer total teachers in comparison with other countries that do a better job at education.

Data from the Ministry of Human Resource Development show that only half of all students who enter primary school make it to the upper primary level and less than half that get into the 9-12 class cycle.

  • Only 58 percent of children enrolled in classes three to five could read a class one text.
  • Less than half (47 percent) were able to do simple two-digit subtraction.
  • Only half of the children in classes five to eight could use a calendar.
  • They were not found proficient in even basic skills; about two-thirds of the students in class four could not master the measurement of the length of the pencil with a ruler.

Study after study has shown that the true indicator of economic development in a country is the education and wellbeing of its people. Although, India has made rapid economic progress over the last three decades, one area that has not received enough attention is the quality of primary education.

 

Challenges:

  • To encourage youngsters and graduates to come into the teaching profession is the biggest challenge of this government.
  • Secondly, the issue is about increasing privatization, of not just school education but cutting across education sectors- primary, secondary as well as higher education.
  • The Delhi government has set a very good example by investing very heavily in public education, and government schools are turning around.
  • Major problem with the education sector lies with the higher education sector as we see the higher education structure in the country today, we are producing degree holders after degree holders.
  • There appears to be an absolute emphasis on graduates who have degrees, that will not make them employable.
  • The crisis in India is that a lot of graduates are getting produced, who are then either unable or are not skilled enough to enter the workforce.
  • Thus, the primary challenge for India’s higher education sector is the skilling issue.
  • Attempts have been made in the past of building vocational skills at the schooling level itself, but unfortunately, such plans have not worked out.
  • The National Skills Development Council had setup for the first time various sector-skill councils.
  • These sector-skill councils will offer short-term courses to graduates who are not interested in traditional education.
  • Lack of good secondary and higher secondary schools: The number of secondary schools is less than 150,000 for a country of 1.3 billion, and even this comes down to just 100,000 at the higher secondary level. While there are around five million primary school teachers, at the secondary level the number is just 1.5 million. India has persisted with a schooling system that has long failed its young.

The inevitable shift to private school education along with the Right to Education Act represents a failure of the public-school system.

 

Education agenda for a New and Changing India:

  • The Delhi government model of education needs to be looked into.
  • Technology has to be a primary part of the process. Technology allows us to adapt to teaching and assessment of entirely new skills that are very significant for the present century and that you cannot progress in a kind of traditional setting.
  • This necessitates refined public policy, a long-term commitment, and a systematic approach.
  • Our education must be all round developer. It must be based on creative rather than memorizing. Practical or Visualize education must be promoted.
  • It is time that India began viewing school education as a critical strategic investment and gave it the status of a vital infrastructure project. As all in-country efforts have failed, we should go in for a radical overhaul of our educational infrastructure with the help of countries that have an amazing record in providing quality school education — Finland, for instance. We can surely afford to pay for that.
  • Providing universal quality education depends not on the performance of teachers alone but is the shared responsibility of several stakeholders: governments, schools, teachers, parents, the media and civil society, international organisations, and the private sector.
  • A complete paradigm shift is needed as far as our education system is concerned. However, one has reason to believe that there are some positive signs too. For example, in schools itself, we are talking about Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA)- these are definitely encouraging signs.
  • Skilling has to improve across higher education sectors and it has to be diverse. Let’s not forget that only about 5% of the Indian workforce is trained in any sort of skills today; we are staring in the face of a demographic disaster if skill development is not undertaken.

 

Way Forward:

  • A complete paradigm shift is needed as far as our education system is concerned. However, one has reason to believe that  there are some positive signs too. For example, in schools itself, we are talking about Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA)- these are definitely encouraging signs.
  • Skilling has to improve across higher education sectors and it has to be diverse. Let’s not forget that only about 5% of the Indian workforce is trained in any sort of skills today; we are staring in the face of a demographic disaster if skill development is not undertaken

 

Conclusion:

Our education must be all round developer. It must be based on creative rather than memorizing. Practical or Visualize education must be promoted.

It is time that India began viewing school education as a critical strategic investment and gave it the status of a vital infrastructure project. As all in-country efforts have failed, we should go in for a radical overhaul of our educational infrastructure with the help of countries that have an amazing record in providing quality school education — Finland, for instance. We can surely afford to pay for that.

Providing universal quality education depends not on the performance of teachers alone but is the shared responsibility of several stakeholders: governments, schools, teachers, parents, the media and civil society, international organisations, and the private sector.

If only India had begun revamping school education at the start of economic liberalisation, it would by now have had the world’s largest pool of well-educated and highly trained workers. Fortunately, India continues to have the largest number of young people anywhere. By ensuring they get a world-class education over the next few decades, India will be well on its way towards becoming a developed nation sooner than expected.

 

Thus, access, equity, and quality, this is one aspect of education. The second aspect of education is skill development. Thus, skill development, access, equity and quality, these pillars are equally needed in all the three sectors.

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