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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS: Where no child is left behind

 Source: The Hindu

 

  • Prelims: Current events of national importance(Different social service Schemes, NEP, HDI, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan etc)
  • Mains GS Paper I & II: Social empowerment, development and management of social sectors/services related to Education etc.

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • India ranks 132 out of 191 countries in the 2021 UNDP’s Human Development Index, which is a measure of a nation’s health, average income, and education.

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020:

  • National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy: It will be set up on priority for:
    • Attaining universal foundational literacy and numeracy in all primary schools
    • Identifying state-wise targets and goals to be achieved by 2025
    • Closely tracking and monitoring progress of the same

 

Human Development Index:

  • HDI emphasizes that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.
  • Three Basic Dimensions of Human Development:
    • A long and healthy life
    • Access to knowledge
    • A decent standard of living.

What Steps have been taken so far?

  • World Declaration on Education(1990): At the Jomtien Conference, efforts were made to bring all children to school.
  • Shiksha Karmi Project(Rajasthan): Started in schools to tackle teacher absenteeism in remote villages.
    • The premise was to focus on the basics of teaching through practice.
  • The Bihar Education Project(1990’s): It developed a 10-day residential in-service training for teachers, called the Ujala module.
    • Challenge: communities viewed understaffed and dilapidated schools only as election booths.
  • The Lok Jumbish, or Peoples Movement for Education for All(Rajasthan 1992): It demonstrated successes, especially in tribal districts.
    • It provided a thrust to innovations and emphasized on civil society partnership.
  • Unni Krishnan v. State Of Andhra Pradesh(1993): SC said, right to education for children up to age 14 is central and fundamental.
    • The District Primary Education Programme was started in 1994, to universalise and transform the quality of primary education.
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan(2001): It aimed at the universalisation of elementary education.

 

Related Government initiatives for education:

  • NISHTHA 2.0
  • National Education Technology Forum (NETF)
  • National Digital Education Architecture (NDEAR)
  • Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA)
  • Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM)
  • National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning.
  • Rashtriya Ucchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA).
  • Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF).
  • Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC).
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
  • Mid Day Meal Scheme.
  • Right To Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.

 

What steps need to be taken?

  • Governance: The Central, State and local governments need to transform governance to ensure that everyone delivers their best.
  • Accountability: Ensure direct funds to schools, no teacher vacancies, fewer non-teaching tasks, and a vibrant community and panchayat connect for accountability.
  • Panchayats and community collectives with very high social capital, such as women self-help groups, can help ensure that local households own the initiative.
  • Empowerment:
    • Panchayats can leverage resources.
    • Communities can both enable and discipline teachers if funds, functions and functionaries are their responsibility.
  • The Panchayati Raj, Rural and Urban Development Ministries can work on community connect and make learning outcomes a responsibility of local governments.
  • Sampark Foundation initiative: It uses technology for teacher development.
    • It uses audio battery-operated sound boxes and innovative teaching learning materials.
    • It has also launched a TV, which helps teachers use lesson plans, content videos, activity videos
    • worksheets to make classes more interactive and joyful.
Constitutional Provisions related to education:

●    The 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976 moved education from the State to the Concurrent List.

●    Article 21A: It provides free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a fundamental Right.

●    Article 39(f): It provides that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity

●    Article 45: The State shall endeavor to provide, within a period of ten years from the commencement of this Constitution, for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years.

●     ARTICLE 46: The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people.

 

Way Forward

  • Systematic way of recruiting: We have still not figured out a systematic way of recruiting good teachers and establishing teacher development institutions.
    • The recruitment of teachers, educators and administrators has to become a priority.
  • NEP: Providing decentralized funds to schools with the community overseeing such funds is the best starting point towards achieving the NEP objective.
  • Holistic efforts: Everyone from the Panchayat level to the Prime Minister must ensure that all children are in school and are learning by 2025.
  • Foundational literacy and numeracy are necessary to prepare a generation of learners who will secure for India high rates of economic progress and human well-being.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 remains inadequate in promoting incentive-based systems for children’s education without generating awareness about the importance of schooling. Analyse.(UPSC 2022)

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