We Need Ed­u­ca­tion

India Today - - UPFRONT -

As the grim beast of the 2019 gen­eral elec­tion skulks closer, vot­ers are gird­ing them­selves for tall claims and empty rhetoric, but never a se­ri­ous speech about some­thing like ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pen­di­ture. Are we spend­ing enough on pri­mary and se­condary school ed­u­ca­tion and are we mak­ing the most of what we do spend? Ear­lier this month, the NGO Pratham pub­lished its 13th an­nual sta­tus of ed­u­ca­tion re­port (ASER) and while the over­all pic­ture is marginally brighter, with gov­ern­ment schools re­port­ing an im­prove­ment in read­ing and arith­meti­cal abil­ity, the qual­ity of In­dian ed­u­ca­tion re­mains dis­mal. De­vel­op­ment in a coun­try like In­dia, where the de­mo­graphic skews young, must in­clude com­pre­hen­sive ed­u­ca­tion for all. How­ever, In­dia spends only 2.8% of its GDP on ed­u­ca­tion, well be­low the world’s av­er­age of 4.8% (2015). In­dia is also do­ing worse in in­ter­na­tional as­sess­ments than its South Asian neigh­bours and fel­low BRICS na­tions.

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