Will government’s New Education Policy augur well?
At a time when countries like China are encouraging their youth to focus on future prospects by involving them in jobs like robotics and artificial intelligence, India is yet to find its feet.
The Central Government has formulated a new education policy for the financial year 2017-18. Will it succeed in its attempt to improve the standard of education in our country? It remains to be seen, how far the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiate measures to revamp the education standard in India, keeping in mind, its deterioration in the recent past.
There are some clauses in the Right to Education (RTE) Act, which have immense potential, but efforts were not taken to address the problem, let alone taking a note of it, by the authorities concerned. Will the lacunae in the school education system be addressed in right earnest? The bureaucracy and the corporate sector are no less responsible than the government and the political parties for ruining the education system in our country.
It is being reported that the Prime Minister has decided to create 20 qualityoriented institutions. He has
As a matter of fact, for a large number of matriculation and higher secondary students in India, regular attendance hardly makes a difference for them. Naturally, with the deficiency in skill, ‘Skill India’ programmes enunciated by the government would be difficult to render adequate justice.
also set a stage for its reforms by ordering for the overhaul of higher education in India. For example, The Human Rights Development Ministry led by its Union Minister Prakash Javedkar implemented greater autonomy to the Indian Institutes of Management Bill last year and subsequently advocated reforms in the University Grants Commission (UGC) norms and regulations to provide autonomy to India’s eminent universities and colleges.
The Ministry concerned had also given permission for continuation of the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, which has been making rapid-strides to improve the quality of educational institutions in all the States with sufficient financial assistance. The Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said the government has reconducted the CBSE examination successfully and that had benefitted a million of students. He also assured that the BJP government at the Centre will see to it that the education is affordable to students from all walks of life.
However, the stark reality is different. Right from the Independence, the uneducated children are increasing day-by-day. The problem crops up with more drop-outs of children from schools, than of nonenrolment. The lack of attention paid on the pupilteacher ratio for a long time is also glaringly evident. For instance, the Education Department’s data points out regretfully, that under the Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE) database 2015-16, 33 per cent of schools in the country do not possess sufficient teachers. Under whom the students can rely on learning, if the teachers are inadequate and conspicuous by their absence? It is being reliably learnt that in many corporation schools, the teachers hardly conduct classes. Schools in some remote villages are conducted with one or two teachers only. Most of the educational institutions are not willing to recruit more teachers, bearing in mind, the need to pay reasonable amount as monthly salaries and incentives.
Sources in the academic circle point out that the educational bureaucracy, for obvious reasons, had not allowed the decentralisation of academic schedules. This resulted in neglecting the requirement of the districts. The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for rural India does not look promising. Its survey reveals that the school education in 28 districts across 24 states is in a pathetic condition. The report also made a starling disclosure that one-fourth of the students are unable to read their mother-tongue fluently, while 57 per cent of them are finding it wellnigh-impossible to focus on basics in arithmetic.
Adding salt to the wound, 14 per cent of the students could not identify the map of India and another 36 per cent were all at sea when they were asked to name the capital of India. Such shortcomings cannot be addressed only through legislation. As a matter of fact, for a large number of matriculation and higher secondary students in India, regular attendance hardly makes a difference for them. Naturally, with the deficiency in skill, ‘Skill India’ programmes enunciated by the government would be difficult to render adequate justice. Moreover, as a few economists apprehend, it might have its repercussions on Indian economy and the society.
At a time when countries like China are encouraging their youth to focus on future prospects by
involving them in jobs like robotics and artificial intelligence, India is yet to find its feet. Needless to say, the Modi government at the Centre should bear in mind, that generation of employment need to be addressed simultaneously with the improvement in quality of education. Some academicians opine that the government has made a head-way in the education sector after its Annual Status of Education Report for rural areas published last year, wherein, it had strongly recommended for free education to children till they attain the age of 18, instead of from six to 14 earlier. The report also pointed out that 14 per cent of students under the same age group, that is roughly 125 million children are not enrolled in the school. It is essential for the children to get an education that imparts job-oriented vocational training to them.
The ASER data depicts a huge digital divide, with 61 per cent of students said that they had never seen the Internet, and 56 per cent did not get an opportunity to make use of a computer, while mobile telephony was accessible to 73 per cent. It was not surprising, when some girl students said they hardly heard the names of computers and the Internet. During his recent visit to India, the U.S. business magnate Bill Gates said, without mincing words that the education standard in India is deteriorating. Sources in the academic circle assert that it normally poses a problem for students to get admission in another university when his father or guardian gets transferred to some other state. Academic bodies that are required to fix the curriculum generally do not pay attention to the informal education ranging from conversations and learning, rue some insiders in the academic circle.
They also added that a large number of teachers in India were not given an opportunity to get acquainted to advanced learning, while trying to render justice to their profession. A faculty in a local college was apt in commenting that India is badly in need of global networked learning-hubs, instead of B.Ed colleges that are not making much of a difference in brushing up their knowledge. The students, who pursue M.Ed, are in a much worse situation. For instance, when they get government job during training, they leave it abruptly. The colleges also not bother, as they need not have to repay the fees, if not capitation and some colleges are
The ASER data depicts a huge digital divide, with 61 per cent of students said that they had never seen the Internet, and 56 per cent did not get an opportunity to make use of a computer, while mobile telephony was accessible to 73 per cent. It was not surprising, when some girl students said they hardly heard the names of computers and the Internet.
making use of this opportunity to admit some other student by insisting on a huge sum from him or her.
National Teachers Platform
It is a welcome sign that the present government has launched a ‘National Teachers Platform’ to enable the students and their parents to gather information about the status of the teachers. The government is also planning to introduce QR (quick response) coded books. The Ordinance clearly stipulates that the private schools are not supposed to charge huge fees in the name of capitation, building maintenance, and donation and development fees to squeeze the students, as most of the students’ families are not well-off economically. The problem, however, is, when many colleges are run by politicians, industrialists and the people from the film industry as benamis, stringent action were not taken against the offenders in right earnest earlier.
A section of academicians suspect that any such stringent action initiated by the Modi government to curb the illegal activities in the education sector, would depend on various factors. For example, when the Lok Sabha election is not far off and with the coming assembly elections in many states, the Central government will not up the ante to antagonise the vested interests in the education field at this juncture, viewed they, before adding, though the Prime Minister’s intention is to redress the ventilated grievances of the affected people in the education sector, it is quite unfortunate, as he himself stated regretfully “the bureaucrats are not doing their job”. It is pertinent to note that the Prime Minister earlier had pinned his hope more on the bureaucrats than of his ministerial team.
The government’s decision to grant autonomous institutions to increase their number of faculties by 20 per cent and also permitting for an increase of 20 per cent of training spots and exposures for students, who would like to learn more about India from Indian scholars are indeed a welcome sign. It is being learnt that the additional places in India would also provide an opportunity for the international students to improve their knowledge. The new system would also enable the faculties to concentrate on interdisciplinary studies in bioinformatics and nano-technology, among others, which was not visible a few decades ago,
The Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.
India has 220 million students in schools and over 29 million in higher education, at least 90% of them under the jurisdiction of states.
Unemployment is one of the massive challenges in India.