Daily Current Affairs – 6th January 2017Devendra Vishwakarma
However, there is still a lot of potential for further development in the education system.
Education is not only about books as followed by the Indian education system. The learning has to come from surroundings and then tailor made into value added education. The union budget 2016-17 termed education as one of the nine pillars of the budget. But there are mammoth challenges faced by Indian education system- enrolment, excellence and employability. Thus, the focus of education should be to address these major challenges.
- Public education has no substitute. Hence, its quality and quantity should be reaffirmed explicitly through actions. This involves subsequent increase in budget allocation and striving to reach 6% of GDP in coming years. Thus, there is need for more public investment. Regional and rural-urban disparities must be addressed too while allocating education budgets.
- Educators have a special responsibility in education —social, political, human and epistemic. Teaching is at the heart of education system but India has one of the weakest teacher education programme (B.Ed) in world which deprives children of a bright future which comes from creative present. India has around 8.8 million teachers but this existing teacher base requires massive investment in effective capacity development.
Along with it, the teachers have to be trained with new teaching and learning pedagogies adapted from best practices across the world. The ‘rote learning’ method has to go and instead bring in environment which allows children to learn at their own pace.
Already, the concepts of flipped classrooms (pedagogical model where short video lectures are viewed by students before they attend the class. The in-class time is devoted to discussing it or other related activities) and MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) have already started taking off, especially in some of the leading Indian institutions.
The improved quality of teachers should be backed by the increased number of teachers in schools.
- Vocational education has to be made a par of basic education upto standard XII along with academics. Education needs to realign itself with changing times and therefore has to develop fundamental capacities—e.g. independent thinking, problem-solving—so that people can adapt instead of providing narrow skills for jobs.
Skill Development has been focus of the present government which should rationalise which skills it aims imparts.
- On an average, private schools do not perform better than public schools. But still there is a prolific rise in private schooling in the past decade and no significant improvement has been visible. Thus, it has to be understood that privatisation of education is no solution to increase the quality and quantity of educated children.
However, it does not mean that private schools should not be encouraged. They can bring in new ideas and perspectives which can be also considered by others.
But, commercialisation of education has to stop as education is no commodity.
- Just by ranking lists or assessments, the quality of education won’t improve. “Testing”-based “accountability” of educators is a disaster, it damages the education system at its core. Examinations must be improved to assess real and deep capacities rather than memorization and procedural skills.
- Technology is not the panacea to solve the problem of poor learning standards. They help just as the books do. That is why, any investment in technology should be assessed properly before shelling out millions on setting up infrastructure.
The learning capability of the children have to be improved with multiple tools.
- Higher education has a bright future in idea. The government is taking various steps to increase the outreach of higher education after primary education. Several MoUs have been signed between India and Australia in the fields of higher education and research, including technical and professional education, schools, vocational education and training.
Also, GIAN brings talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs, internationally to encourage their engagement with the institutes of Higher Education in India so as to augment the country’s existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reform, and elevate India’s scientific and technological capacity to global excellence.
- Education and learning are deeply determined by the socio-economic conditions of the child. The best teachers cannot compensate for deprivation and poverty at home. Hence, there should be proper arrangements made in school for children belonging to all class and castes of society.
Also, the schools should be secular and non-discriminative institutions where the ideals of constitution are respected and followed.
- There is a need for dramatic improvement in our early childhood-care system and also in education for children with disabilities. The school infrastructure, including specially trained teachers is the basic impediment while imparting education to children with disabilities. The government needs to undertake various actions to make education an ‘inclusive activity’.
- Mother tongue is the most effective medium of education in early grades. However, given the reality of the social capital of English, all children must have the opportunity to learn the language.
- On regulatory front, HRD ministry is likely to move towards giving greater autonomy to government backed institutions — like the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) — in deciding their future. This is more likely to be in the fashion of allowing them the freedom to experiment with technology and with the new ways of reaching out to people.
- Economic aims of India should be fulfilled by education by providing individuals become economically independent. It is not without any reason that India is charted out to be global leader in having the youngest population which can become a path breaker in achieving sustainable economic success. However, these economic aims should usher in equality and narrow down disparities.
Education is not an economic service. It is a social-human and moral endeavour; it’s about people and their aspirations for the good life.