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Sansad TV: Spotlight- Transforming India’s education System and embracing innovation

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Introduction:

India boasts of one of the largest education systems with about 1.49 Mn schools, 9.5 Mn teachers, and nearly 265 Mn students. Being the world’s most populous nation, India boasts a remarkable demographic advantage with a substantial youth population. Nearly one out of every four individuals falls between the ages of 15 and 29, fuelling the demand for a highly skilled and capable workforce across a wide range of industries and sectors.

Challenges as discussed:

  • The country spent 2.9% of its total GDP on education in FY 2023 according to the Economic Survey which is very less in comparison to the developed and OECD countries.
  • To encourage youngsters and graduates to come into the teaching profession is the biggest challenge of this government.
  • The issue is about increasing privatization, of not just school education but cutting across education sectors- primary, secondary as well as higher education.
  • 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.
  • Lack of good secondary and higher secondary schools:
  • 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:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Way Forward:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Proper implementation of the reforms and ideas envisioned in the NEP 2020 will fundamentally transform India.
  • With the emphasis on knowledge-economy driven growth in the 21st century, this is precisely what India needs to dominate in the future decades of growth and drive the education requirements of our young population.