Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) conducted a worldwide assessment test on Education to assess the quality of the students from different countries based on the performance on MATHEMATICS, SCIENCE and READING, named as PISA (Programme for Internal Student Assessment) in 2009 and shockingly out of 74 participating nations INDIA ranked 73, trailing just above KYRGYZSTAN. Students from Tamilnadu and Kerala were chosen as a representative of India in the PISA. In 2009, PISA test was topped by CHINA. Surprisingly INDIA pulled out of 2012 PISA test. Perhaps such shocking apocalypse brings no good than harm to India’s reputation, then government noted.
The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) in India every year disseminates the shocking figures about pitiable conditions of education in India and its drastic morphs. According to a recent data about primary and pre secondary education, 50% of class 3 students are not able to read class one texts, cannot identify simple mathematical numbers. 75% standard 8th students cannot do the math’s of class 5 and 90% class 9th pupils cannot even correctly read sentences of English of class 6th textbooks. These assessments were conducted in government schools of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka. The condition of higher education is even worst. After all how can we expect for anodyne from doom and gloom of school level data? According to AICTE data, every year 24, 32,213 (twenty four lacs thirty two thousand two hundred thirteen) students graduate from technical and professional institutes. Interestingly there are a number of colleges/universities which do not need AICTE approval. On a lump sum basis, around five million graduated work forces enters the job market in the tryst of jobs and employability but the available scrupulous data raises blatantly bawl questions on the efficacy & potential of the Indian graduates and institutions. According to a labor ministry report one in three graduates up to the age of 29 is unemployed. Unemployment level in the country is close to 12%. Only 20% – 30% of 1.5 million engineering pass outs get employed. Out of 3 lakh MBA graduates every year, only 10% are employable. Amidst these catastrophically delineated contours of Indian education, India is the largest supplier of educated workforce to the rest of the world. What does this line say? – Being the second most populous country in the world, India still has some quality institutions, which provides capable and cognitively stimulated workforce but the sad part of the story is that this capable workforce is being absorbed by the highly lucrative foreign market and our INDIA is being run by the professionals from mediocre colleges. If this alarming situation of rising unemployment (despite getting higher professional degrees) is not checked early hand, the situation can worsen leading to the insurgence of other enviable problems like violence, instability and perturbing condition across the country.
After all, why such pathetic conditions are arising? Why a country who produced prudent and sagacious trailblazers and pioneers for the rest of world years before and became the centre of excellent education for the professionals from every nook and cranny of the world, who scrupulously led this world to a miracle, now, cannot replicate the past? Why a country as diverse in culture, linguistics and demography as India cannot even pacify the demand of its own people and absorb the graduated workforce every year in its own market? Why Indian education is trailing ridiculously from the fast growing world? Why Indian students cannot grow as a global citizen and contribute to the challenges faced by the world?
Though India enjoys a pride of place in global arena regarding fast growing economy and nevertheless significant Indian are working worldwide in the field of science of technology that has brought much cheered glory to the nation yet intimidating lacunae remains and hence promoting students from schools and colleges as a product of mechanical based education system. The endeavors that kicked off post independence to transform elitist based education system into mass based education system with an aim to equality and social justice has not paid off its dividends yet. Through subsequent efforts government brought NATIONAL EDUCATION POLICY in 1968, revised it in 1986 and again in 1992 but any revolutionary changes in education system could not be inculcated. These policies have not been able to address the problem of Indian education system where there is a lot of stress on the students for achievement and performance. In the chase to performance, the beautiful side of personal growth, life skill development, inculcation of the core skill of learning and curiosity and ability to disseminate information in order to satisfy the urge to the questions has been overlooked. India has failed in drafting a complete and rigorous education policy that can iron out the demon of unemployment and intellectual growth and hence resulting in fabulous scientific achievements. India needs to synchronize its isolated education system to its indivisible wings as vocationalisation of education, industrial exposure and most importantly skill development. Education industry is in dire need of reforms that will bring about a much needed change in the present scaring scenario. The changes should be brought so that a student after going through the education system grows as a wise, confident and efficient professional rather than idle and inefficient. It should fulfill the purpose of nation building and shaping the generations to come, it should be designed to impart values and inculcation of citizenship in a particular individual also.
For the policymakers, it might have been an arduous task to alienate irreparable damages from the education system. Working TOWARDS TRANSFORMATION from a mass based idle system to people to people based effective system requires comprehensive analysis of the situation. If I have to design a policy for education for a country/state or region, I shall start with the initiation and then channelizing it. Identifying the root behind the disaster depicts the reprehensible situation of poverty in India. Child mortality rate is quite high due to the scarcity of resources and hence un- nourishing of the children during childhood. The cognitive stimulation and intellectual growth impedes due to the lack of supply to the brain and blood which results in hindering the response of the child to the alphabets, digits and other texts. Proper emphasis must be put on addressing this deep hole.
Government schools in rural India are in pandemonium. On an average each primary school has less than 25-30 children. After the adoption of RTE in 2009, unorganized and unplanned models of school constructions in rural areas resulted in the hazy picture. Envisaging the demand of the hour to combat the lion mouthed problems, no alternative of creativity is left. It’s the time when we must shift our focus from annual standard based school construction in every village to inline with the demand according to the demography and the climate. Simultaneously the traditional way of appointing teachers to the system should be replaced with the specific teachers for specific schools. Institutionalization should be allowed in this context and teachers should have the freedom to express themselves according to their comfort. In rural India, the state of the government schools is realized from the fact that the poor parents invest their hard earned money for their children’s education in inefficient private schools. Government schools are obsolete in rural India and it is proving to be the complete wastage of the resources. Either address the problems or shut it down and save million of rupees.
The major concern for the worst conditions of the Indian schools and colleges are the lack of proper trained faculties. Leave primary and secondary schools aside, even the institutions of higher education in India is facing this rue of vacant faculty position, even IITs and IIMs. It’s the need of the hour to formulate a proper policy on teacher training. Professional teachers should be anointed to the schools that have gone through a higher standard of teaching training and adapted to the art of understanding students mind in classroom. All the above mentioned shame to the nation has been brought by none other than this anomaly. An intermediate pass is teaching children and part timers are running the institutes of national importance, then why to surprise with the results coming in the form of unemployment and violence. Uses of information and communication technology should be catalyzed and the necessary resources should be made available to the college students. Tinkering with the tradition of books and pages can lead to downfall of the education level in already striving country. As ICT has become an inseparable part of daily life, the integration of the education with the technologies should be popularized.
Curriculum is the most important factor which decides the future of a young nation like India, because it is the indispensable morph of the education which imparts knowledge and help embark students to the league of egalitarians and elevate them to the zenith of qualities and ideas of self introspection, self reliability, dignity and honor. It’s the panacea which can be applied to the rescue of all the grievances. Curriculum of the subjects like social sciences and history has been dominated by events and personalities in INDIA, it’s the time it should be replaced with the history of ideas and linguistics. Curriculum of science should be promoted heavily and all possible efforts should be made to make available better infrastructure and faculties (well trained) for science education. Adequate and effective uses of the institutions like science laboratories, IITs, IISC and ISRO should be made to spread awareness about science education.
Vocationalisation and integrating higher studies with the industries and other vital training programs is the only key to control the menace till some extent. Since ancient time India education system has kept its focus on academic excellence and achievement and hence the indelible and dire qualities inculcation was left aside, which resulted in the professionals with vast knowledge of the subjects but zero application. Policy on accolade professional development rather than recognizing academic achievements are needed. Lack of professional skills has taken the shape of unemployment as the employers look for a well prepared employee they do not want to invest much time and money on their training and in present competitive market they do get it graciously. The issues with vocational streams have been that they lead to an occupation but fail to ensure upward mobility. This confusion and delirium must be removed. One should not be forced to choose between vocational course and degree course instead the higher education system should have many pathways to absorb vocational students and transfer to degree programmes. Vocational streams and degree program should be elevated parallel. The initiative taken by government of India like NSDC, forming skill development ministry and promoting entrepreneurship must be governed with higher efficacy because the ground reality is completely different from the claims made by the govt.
It’s not that who runs education that is important, but what needs to be done for the students for the nation, that is important. OECD recently published the educational policy outlook in 2015 and identified the key areas in educational field—EQUITY, PREPARING STUDENTS FOR FUTURE, SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT, EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT and GOVERNANCE AND FUNDING. Funding for the education sector has always been a hugely discussed topic. Post independence different government has prioritized it differently but now is the high time when this crucial sector should be funded adequately. At the same time, in the race to amassing funds, the principles of equity and nurturing values should not be compromised. Private institutions embarking to the field of education with an ultimate goal of profit should be blocked. Because when RTE came into effect in 2010, Government hastily started many schools without considering its long term impact and hence compromising on quality and standards. This phase gave rise to private schools in rural area and private sector succeeded in making inroads into education to villages. Due to deplorable conditions of government schools, parents send their children to private schools, besides it they also spent money on private tuitions. Hence all these malpractices led to making quality education costly. Also knowing the nature of the education industry, Public-Private-Partnership model may not work effectively. Innovations should be discovered as allowing foreign universities to start campuses in India, collaborating three to five mediocre or average universities with top class universities like IITs, governing collaboration between industries and educational institutes etc. With miles already travelled from independence in the direction of eradicating colonial based elitist education system and establishing mass based education system targeted on public welfare, social development, intellectual dissemination and technological achievements, India has done significantly good by traversing the whole range of difficulties and acrimonies, converting its literacy rate of 12% from 1947 to 76% in 2015. With strong and beautiful ambitions
of the fortunes of the country and hence the world, we will rise to the pinnacle in the context of education and excellence. But yes, let every people, every professional, every parent realize their role of TRANSFORMING INDIA.