Time clocked, Wind went past the century where India witnessed different facets of the narratives. India freed itself from Britishers, welcomed democracy, established prerogative reservations, fought wars, lost lives, battled natural calamities, stormed into emergency, embraced globalization and tested nukes defying the global sanctions. But the advent of a new century in 2000 also brought forth innumerable challenges to a nation which was already grappled with a ton. Then Prime minister Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpeyi sensed an unwarranted threat coming to India’s way. Primary education was suffering from anomalies. The future of the nation- Children were not getting access to education and country’s future hanged in imbalance.
In 2001, Mr. Vajpeyi announced a scheme- SSA ( Sarva Siksha Abhiyan) targetted to provide access to education and schools to all the children of 6 to 14-year age-group. The scheme envisaged access to a school to all the children within a range of 1 Km. The scheme had other major targets like building the gap in social justice and connecting the different level of governance by decentralizing the powers to state, district & Panchayat level committee. But the epitome of all these mentions was to provide access to quality education.
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18 years have been through. Governments have changed. new dispensation came but all stuck with the basics of the programme. new dimensions were added. One of the most important being the concept of MDM (Mid Day Meal), though many questions have been raised regarding the poor implementation of the project. Poverty is killing the imagination of significant chunks of the new school entrants. MDM was supposed to address the menace but it could not achieve the goal without fail. Time demands the evaluation of the much-hyped scheme.
SSA scheme has succeeded in bringing the children to the school premises. When I mention school, I mean a building of 2 rooms and a disordered kitchen, hiatus toilets, and untrained teachers. The government got significant success in increasing the enrolment rate to the school. It was reported to be 96 percent in 2012. 56 percent of the new entrants were girls. All the children had access to school buildings ( No Teachers) within a range of 1 -3 km. but had these fulfilled the core ambitions of the scheme? The answer is – a big No.
Credit to various issues viz poverty, lack of proper planning and comprehension of social status, 29 percent children drop out from school before completing their primary education. 42 percent students quit education before embarking to the upper primary level and 43 percent students only complete their high school. From here keeping students in school through graduation is still a challenge.
what factors are leading to the intimidating data? Schools in India are not well equipped with the amenities that propel the students to pursue their education without any ripples. Only 53 percent of schools have girls toilet and 73 % have drinking water facility. The big of all challenges- Faculty-student ratio is too poor. This has led to Indian students at a primary and secondary level to be the victim of the unorganised and poor education system, leaving them in a conundrum of disarrays, killing their innovations and restricting their dreams.
Students at primary level are got getting proper guidance and training. Indian education system is promoting creative children to unproductive adults. Quality of learning in school is discouraging. Time demands proper assessment of the situation. national education policy has been put in the cold box for more than 15 years. There is no inner desire in the system to improve the system which can turn the fortune of the nation. Proper utilization of resources is not being ensured. the focus should be on skills centric education rather than assessment and judgment centric. Relevancy of skill India program should be modified. Opportunities should be given to the students to pursue the subject or area of their interest from childhood rather than pushing them into judgment based education.
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If the government is not able to provide enough number of trained teachers then help from the private sector should be sought or any policy should be made that encourage the educated and able personalities in the respective region to contribute to the cause of education. The whole world is in the race to beat the odds. they are adopting new technology. if India could not keep with them at the moment, generations to come will bear the harsh fruits. Chinese schools are teaching artificial intelligence to their children and Indians do not have access to computer education even.
The government should focus on implementing an up to date national education policy. emphasis must be put on good assessment system, gender studies education, teacher education and leveraging technology. A smart education must be promoted which enables a child to grow as a responsible and able youth, which enhances the human resources of the country rather than just adding to a queue of job seekers. The focus of students from government jobs must be alienated through comprehensive education plan from primary level. if it was not done now- a grave threat awaits India where India will be known as a country of educated fools. The onus lies on us, our system- that how early we sense the threat coming?
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