RSTV: THE BIG PICTURE- EDUCATION & ASPIRING INDIA
In the Union Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has suggested speedy implementation of the new education policy, besides several measures that will bring in a paradigm shift in the educational systems and creation of employment in India and abroad. The budget earmarked Rs 99,300 crore for the education sector in 2020-21 and about Rs 3,000 crore for skill development. In the previous Union Budget, the government’s allocation for the sector was Rs 94,800 crore. The FM said about 150 higher educational institutions will start apprenticeship embedded degree/diploma courses by March 2021 and will start a programme whereby urban local bodies across the country would provide internship opportunities to fresh engineers for a period up to one year. To create infrastructure in education sector, steps would be taken to enable sourcing External Commercial Borrowings and FDI so as to able to deliver higher quality education. Institutions that are ranked within top 100 in the National Institutional Ranking framework will start degree level full-fledged online education programme for students of deprived section of the society.
- The infrastructure provision is far from satisfactory (for both students and teachers).
- Only 12% of our schools are RTE complaint.
- The administrative support system is also not contributing to solving the crisis.
- Privatisation is not a remedy. If one compares children from similar backgrounds, private schools in many States are not better than government schools.
- The needs of our system of both schools and higher education have not been met.
- 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.
Need for Innovation:
- Promoting creativity and incentivizing innovations through our educational institutions is a first step towards broadening and deepening the impact of innovations in our society and economy.
- As in all sectors, innovation will be essential to bring about qualitative changes in education.
- These changes are needed to increase efficiency and improve the quality and equity of learning opportunities.
- Skills including critical thinking, creativity and imagination, can be fostered through appropriate teaching, and practices.
- Technology-based innovations in education reshape the environments in which schools operate.
- To provide alternative ways of learning for students with special needs.
- Getting students to shift to asking why, instead of saying yes
- From passive learning to exploring concepts
- From fear to confidence
- From being restricted to the textbook to being hands-on and practical.
Build teacher capacity:
- Regular assessments of teachers will determine individual gaps/needs in teachers.
- ICT should be used as a tool to provide high-quality training programmes for teachers.
- The resources available in the National Repository of Open Education Resources should be moderated by experts to ensure that high-quality resources are available to every teacher.
- Talented individuals and organisations can participate and contribute to create all this material
- At the school level itself element of vocational education should be incorporated.
- Education needs innovation to keep it fresh and relevant.
- Empowered by technology and tools, our education system can indeed scale up to edify, empower our citizens to help the country on its journey to becoming a digital and knowledge economy. The most crucial change is required in the governance of our institutions.
- Universities must be open, questioning, trusting, experimenting, inspirational, direction setting, and enabling people to believe that nothing is impossible. Universities are always places of the future –the future is shaped in its crucibles, classrooms and conversations.
- Governments and their bureaucracies will have to free up institutions to allow them to make their own decisions.
- For any development in higher education to bear fruit, it will have to be supported by the strengthening of primary education. China succeeded in this.
- The new technology of distance learning should be fully utilized in upgrading the teaching and knowledge standards.
- Link major R&D centres of country with government colleges in all states, to encourage inclusion of students in research initiatives in the country.
- Ensure ease in movement of personnel between universities and industry.