Daily Current Affairs – 16th December, 2016DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
Need for Reforms in the Education Policy
Introduction- Education and Economy
With half of the term of the present government over, amongst all policy areas the most important area that needs all the focus and reforms is India’s education policy.
Indian economy faces two challenges in the form of a deteriorating environment and employment especially underemployment. The factors that are responsible for the slow growth of productive jobs include poor infrastructure, poor governance, anti employment bias in the economic policies and most importantly a failed education policy.
India and the World
On an international comparison, India lags behind various countries in different areas. The same has been illustrated below:
- 5% of India’s workforce has had any skill training and only 2% have any formal skill certification in comparison to over 70% in European countries and 80% to 90% in East Asian countries.
- In 2012, over 26% of India’s population was still illiterate compared to 5% in South Africa, 4% in China.
- 50% of India’s population has received only primary education or less, compared to 24% in South Africa and 38% in China.
- As per the 2015 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), about 50% of class V students could not read a simple text meant for class II students and also could not could not do a simple arithmetic meant for class II students.
India has also performed very poorly in other international reports and surveys such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Reasons for ineffective education policy of India:
- Education policy in India is focused on inputs rather than learning outcomes.
- Education policy has a strong elitist bias in favour of higher education as opposed to primary or secondary education.
- The public expenditure by India on tertiary education is way higher than the expenditure on primary education. This is against the trend as observed in countries across the world.
- The lack of incentives for teachers to enhance their performance level.
- Inadequate performance appraisal methods to evaluate the performance of teachers. There are no effective checks and balances to act as benchmarks for their performance measurement.
- Teachers in government schools in India have very low accountability to students, their parents and the society.
- Other teacher related problems include:
- High absenteeism
- Involvement in non-teaching activities.
- Poorly qualified teachers.
- Inadequate compensation to teachers.
Consequences of ineffective education policy of India:
- Due to the poor education profile of the presently underemployed workers, they are able to get employment in low- or medium-skill jobs rather than the organised sector.
- Inefficient education system in India has led to lack of basic skill training which leads to low productivity
- Poor human resource development leads to poor economic growth.
- Lack of proper education at the basic level also leads to increase in crimes and social evils.
- The focus on theoretical learning at the primary level makes students dependent on rote learning. This leads to lack of practical knowledge.
Suggestions for Reforms in the Education Policy in India
India can reform it’s education policy rapidly if it undertakes the following measures:
- Introducing learning through activity and reduce rote learning.
- Implement a child friendly pedagogy.
- Introduce various reform measures as provided for in the Right To Education Act to ensure adequate emphasis on primary education.
- Implementation of strict performance evaluation standards for teachers.
- Qualitative and regular training and testing techniques for teachers.
- Performance based compensation for teachers along with regular incentivization for quality performance.
- More diversion of funds by the government towards policies focusing on primary education.
Education holds both intrinsic and instrumental value. The instrumental value lies in the utilization of education in obtaining quality employment and skill-set. The intrinsic value, on the other hand, lies in education assisting the citizens in having a fulfilling life and participating in the functioning of robust democracy. Along with policies such as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and National Skill Development Mission (NSDM), the government needs to ensure that it devotes sufficient focus and resources, both financial and human, towards basic and primary education.