Meet the Promise of Education : Daily Current Affairs

Relevance: GS-2: Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, and Human Resources.

Key Phrases: Research and innovation investment, National Council for Education Research and Training, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Kothari Commission, National Educational Policy 1968, National Educational Policy 1985, District Primary Education Programme, National Education Policy, 2020, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Article 21-A, Article 45, Article 51A (k).

Why in News?

  • To mark 75 years of our independence, here is a (non-comprehensive) list of events, people, trends and ideas from modern India that have shaped our school education, for better or for worse.

Status of Education in India:

  • The average student in Western countries like the US or Germany gets 13 years of schooling, compared to just 5.4 years in India.
  • Moreover, the tertiary gross enrollment ratio (GER) in India is 29%. It is low as compared to US which has 88%, Brazil 50%, China 54%, and Russia 85%. The global average tertiary GER is 36%, and India falls well below that.
  • India scores second to last among 50 countries in the ranking of national systems of higher education.
  • Research and innovation investment in India is only 0.69% of GDP as compared to 2.8% in the US, 2.1% in China, 4.3% in Israel and 4.2% in South Korea.

Evolution of the Education System through various policies in India:

  • National Council for Education Research and Training
    • In 1961, the National Council for Education Research and Training was established with a vision to lead education and foster educational thinking. Subsequently, equivalent institutions were set up in states.
  • Kendriya Vidyalayas
    • The establishment of Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) in 1963 was an excellent demonstration of how good education could happen within the public system. Various high-quality public schools have been modelled on these KVs since.
  • Kothari Commission
    • The Kothari Commission submitted a report in 1966 that led to the National Policy of Education of 1968, the first such comprehensive policy.
    • The soul of this seminal effort was J.P. Naik.
  • National Educational Policy 1968
    • The policy provided for “radical restructuring” and equalization of educational opportunities to achieve national integration and greater cultural and economic development.
    • The policy called for focus on learning of regional languages, outlining the "three language formula" to be implemented in secondary education - the instruction of the English language, the official language of the state where the school was based, and Hindi.
  • National Educational Policy 1985
    • The policy aimed at the removal of disparities and to equalize educational opportunities, especially for women, SC and ST.
    • Launching of “Operation Blackboard” to improve primary schools nationwide.
    • IGNOU, the Open University, was formed.
    • Adoption of the “rural university” model, based on the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, to promote economic and social development at the grassroots level in rural India.
  • The District Primary Education Programme was initiated in 1993 to universalize primary education across 272 districts.
  • In 2001, with the launch of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, access to School Education was transformed across India, ensuring that there was a public primary school in every habitation and a middle school nearby.
  • In 2009, the Right to Education Act made it a fundamental right for all 6-14-year-olds.
  • National Education Policy, 2020
    • The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.
    • Key Points:
      • Universalization of education from preschool to secondary level with 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
      • To bring 2 crores out of school children back into the mainstream through an open schooling system.
      • The current 10+2 system to be replaced by a new 5+3+3+4 curricular structure corresponding to ages 3-8, 8-11, 11-14, and 14-18 years respectively.
      • It will bring the uncovered age group of 3-6 years under school curriculum, which has been recognized globally as the crucial stage for development of mental faculties of a child.
      • It will also have 12 years of schooling with three years of Anganwadi/ pre schooling.
      • Emphasis on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy, no rigid separation between academic streams, extracurricular, vocational streams in schools.
      • Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education to be raised to 50% by 2035. Also, 3.5 crore seats to be added in higher education.
      • Increase public expenditures on education from 4.43% of GDP today to 6% of GDP as soon as possible.

Do you know?

  • The powerful ideas of four people have formed the deep subtext of Indian education:
    • Rabindranath Tagore’s’ universalism, humanism and self-realization as the goal of education.
    • Mahatma Gandhi’s practical wisdom of education, about combining head, heart and hand for self-reliance.
    • Bhimrao Ambedkar’s clear idea of education as the foundation of real democracy, significantly influenced by his own guru John Dewey.
    • Jiddu Krishnamurthy’s notion of education substantially focused on liberation of the self, harmony and holism, which had a profound influence on the ‘alternative schools’ movement in India.

Provisions in the Indian Constitution related to Education:

  • Article 21-A
    • 86th Amendment Act 2002 introduced Article 21-A, which provides for free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of six to fourteen years as a Fundamental Right.
  • Article 45
    • Under Article 45 in DPSP, The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
  • Article 51A (k)
    • Article 51A Clause 'K' – It shall be the duty of every citizen of India who is parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or as the case may be, wards between the age of six and fourteen years.

Some of the major challenges faced by the Indian Education System:

  • High- dropout rates:
    • The major challenge in the education system is the high dropout rate in public schools or government schools.
    • It is all due to several factors such as poverty, lack of toilets, long distance to school, child marriages, patriarchal mindset, and cultural factors.
  • Poor governance and lack of responsibility:
    • Another problem with our education is the absence of teachers in government schools.
    • Further, poor management in these schools is also another major problem as these school management committees are barely functional.
  • Lack of infrastructure:
    • One of the major challenges faced by public schools is the lack of drinking water facilities, electricity, toilets, and poor hygiene, etc.
  • Quality of teachers:
    • Lack of trained and skilled teachers is another problem mostly faced by our education system.
    • Besides the lack of skilled teachers, they are also burdened with a non-academic workload which diverges their focus from teaching.
  • Closure of Schools:
    • Due to the low strength of students and lack of teachers many government schools are closed. This is due to the competitions raised by private schools.
  • Corruption and leakages of funds:
    • Most of the funds which are granted for the advancement of schools are mostly consumed by corrupt mediators.
    • As these funds transferred from central government to state government to schools involve many intermediaries.

Way forward:

  • The overarching problems concerning each level of education in India are quality and pertinence. India bears extensive difficulties in facing the requirements of a growing and modern workforce.
  • Some of the needs that India’s education sector faces are appropriate curriculum, quality teachers, financial support for students, and adequate facilities.
  • Additional challenges involve the inability to meet the different linguistic, social, regional, and local education needs of such a large country.
  • So, to overcome these challenges major steps should be taken by the government for the advancement of the education system in our country.
  • There are a few simple solutions which can help in overcoming the problems with the India Education System.
    • Innovations required:
      • This will help in budding the innovative minds of students and the youth of the country.
      • This will bring a transformation in the Indian education system, and Government must encourage and boost the young minds to focus on overall development rather than just the book-learning
    • Quality of education:
      • Steps must be taken to standardize the quality of education across India so that everyone can get equal and unbiased knowledge and opportunities to grow.
    • Inclusive education system:
      • Growth in the education sector should incorporate all sections of society like rural, urban poor, woman, backward classes etc.

Source: Live-Mint

Mains Question:

Q. Discuss how India has shaped its education system in last 75 years to provide quality education to its people. (250 words).