Education System; Challenges
Schools are one of the most sacred places on earth which shape young minds and aid in nation building. The quality of the education and its impact on the children contribute to the working of a nation as well as other systems. But unfortunately, these educational institutions seem to be the places of less virtue and more of acquisitiveness. As teaching has a magnificent imprint on the Indian society since ages, commercialization didn’t take much time to acquire the system.
Recently, a total of 150 schools affiliated to the UP Board registered zero results as all the students in these institutions failed to clear the 2018 high school and intermediate examinations. According to the UP Board exam results declared on Sunday, there were 98 such schools in the high school examination and 52 schools in the intermediate examination.
What does Ministry of Human Resource Development Reports say?
Surprisingly, the data from the Ministry of Human Resource Development show that only half of all students who enter primary school make it to the upper primary level and less than half that — around 25 million — get into the 9-12 class cycle. We have around a million primary schools and only half that number at the upper primary level. The number of secondary schools is less than 150,000 for a country of 1.3 billion, and even this comes down to just 100,000 at the higher secondary level. While there are around five million primary school teachers, at the secondary level the number is just 1.5 million. India has persisted with a schooling system that has long failed its youth.
Reports on ‘Rural Education’
The survey for the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for rural India in 2017 shows 36% of kids aged 14-18 don’t know India’s capital, 21% can’t name their state and it also says that 21% students could not answer the state they live in, 14% could not identify India’s map. The survey for the ASER survey was carried out in 28 districts spread across 24 states last year.
The data further boils down to this, 53% of all 14 year-olds in the sample can read English sentences. For 18-year-old youth, this figure is closer to 60%. Of those who can read English sentences, 79% can say the meaning of the sentence. Even among youth in this age group who have completed eight years of schooling, a significant proportion still lack foundational skills like reading and math.
As per the 2015 NCERT national achievement survey, less than half the children met the benchmarks for their age in reading comprehension and maths. On skill development, 127 million people need to be trained by 2022.
What is the way out?
The crucial issue across all levels of education in our country is ‘quality’. At the primary level, there are not enough teachers in government schools despite the fact that schools have high vacancy rates across the country. Having teachers group standards 2, 3 and 4 into one class (as often happens in thousands of our schools which have only 1-2 teachers) impacts quality significantly. A complete revamp of our teacher training institutes is really the need of the hour. To improve the quality of the education, competition among schools would be of a great help as it demands continuous evaluation on the performance of the students as well as the teachers.
Fortunately, India continues to have the largest number of young people anywhere. By ensuring they get a world-class education over the next few decades, India will be well on its way towards becoming a developed nation sooner than expected. Ensuring quality education and incessant assessment can bring about the changes in the education system.
By: Thamanna Abdul Latheef C