TOPIC: General Studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
In News: The Government of India is bringing out a National Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirement with regards to quality education, innovation and research.
Aim: To make India a knowledge superpower
- By equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge
- By eliminating the shortage of manpower in science, technology, academics and industry
Committee: By former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan.
Why: The great demographic dividend of India can easily turn into a curse if over the next decade the education system is not overhauled completely to transform from input-based system to outcome driven education model that boosts critical thinking and not rote learning.
The 21st century Model of Higher Education – High-quality, yet Equitable and Affordable
Focus will be on
- Girl Education: the “golden key” to ensure their constitutional and social security
- Strengthening Public institutions with a thrust on traditional knowledge
- Special attention on languages, sports, mathematics at the school level – sports and other activities, which so far have been clubbed as “extra-curricular” or “co-curricular”— will be treated as subjects in themselves
- Addressing regional inequality
- Higher education: Affordability and Access
What ails school education?
The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) by the NGO, Pratham, and the NCERT’s National Achievement Survey have shown that —
- There is a decline in learning levels from lower to higher grades, even as the country has been inching closer to achieving the Right to Education Act’s objective of universal enrollment for six to 14-year olds.
- More than 25 per cent of the youth in the age group of 14 to 18 can’t even read a basic text fluently — though more than 90 per cent of them were in school.
Issues related to Teachers
- As per a report by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), about 74 countries face grave shortage of teachers, with India being second on the list.
- ASSOCHAM, in a report last year, finds that the dearth of school teachers is a problem that is pervasive at all levels of government schools in India, with 50 per cent vacancies in schools across India beside 30,000 vacancies for teachers in Haryana alone where more than 800 schools are being run without principals.
- Among 36 States and Union Territories, Jharkhand has the most acute secondary school teacher shortage at 70 per cent. Half of all secondary school teacher posts in Uttar Pradesh are vacant, as are a third in Bihar and Gujarat.
Solutions to Open New Gates for Learning
All round development and learning of every Indian child:
- Students should get time for various other activities that enable their all-round development and make them better human beings. At the stage of development of cognitive skills, students need to be given full freedom.
- Life education, value education, skill building and experiential learning should become a major part of their education contributing to bringing out the best in each child. A habit of visiting libraries and learning via poetry for 1st generation learners should be encouraged.
- Learning should be provided with a local context for enabling a child to build up her knowledge with much ease and understanding. India is a diverse country and therefore, learning needs are also diverse which needs to be addressed accordingly.
Superficial examination system & Competitive examinations:
- Examination system is flawed – learning is not tested and therefore never applied. Everything gets completely lost between learning and getting a better rank.
- It has just become another rejection mechanism. But if we focus on building values and skills in children, they will be able to negate this.
- A learning assessment should be built in the system where value based, nature based, life based and experience based learning should be evaluated. We need to assess our children for learning, and not of learning.
- True learning should not have marks as determinants of a child’s future.
Issues around Teachers:
The current system look at teachers as dispensers of information, and at students as passive recipients of an education that seldom has any connection with their realities!
- Teachers need to unlearn and relearn the subjects and the way it should be taught. There is no point in teaching and employing rote learning, for just passing the examination.
- Invest in Teacher’s mind and knowledge: Don’t distrust teachers. Get them back in system. Teacher training has just been limited to getting a degree and not upskilling and learning. There exists rampant commercialisation in teachers training with malpractices like price reductions and forgoing rigorous training requirements. Institutional mechanisms for periodic monitoring of teacher training institutes should be set up and strict adherence to quality parameters is vital.
- Teaching is a passion and the working conditions need to be revamped if we want to attract best minds, for our children. This will provide them with a creative forum, for them to exercise their autonomy and their innovative approach towards educating.
- Post training, there should be no differences in the salary of teachers, public or private. This will attract the best young minds towards this profession and will help it regain lost ground.
Schools, Public & Private Education:
- Private education is unaffordable in the country, and the number of government schools is shrinking and those that remain are looked down upon as institutions for the poor.
- There is a need to strengthen public education. We need an equitable system, free from stratification and regressive board exam pattern – putting onus on child who did not learn is wrong.
Connecting the Dots:
- Low standards in education, lack of requisite skills and unemployment form a vicious cycle which is detrimental to India’s demographic dividend. Comment.
- The need of a comprehensive national education policy is pressing. What in your opinion should be the model policy framework for education in India? Suggest.