By Adil Imroz:
Education system is undoubtedly the foundation of a nation. Education makes man civilized and therefore the country. It makes the mankind literate in ethics and moral values. If we have a well nurtured and balanced education system, then half the task of the country’s development is done.
But when we look into the Indian context we have some very big problems and thus the challenges are tougher.
Despite growing investment in education, 35% of its population is still illiterate; only 15% of Indian students reach high school, and just 7% graduate. 25% of teaching positions nationwide are vacant, and 57% of college professors lack either a master’s or PhD degree. The quality and education standards vary drastically state to state. Compare the likes of Karnataka, Maharashtra with that of Bihar and Jharkhand and we will get the magnitude of variation we are talking about. Literacy for females varies with around 34% in Bihar to 88% in Kerala; for males it is 60% in Bihar and 94% in Kerala. Rajasthan suffers the widest gender difference, female literacy stands at 44% and male at 77%.
Governments come and go, making so many promises, victimizing the innocent population, but at the end it turns out to be another mirage of hopes. Every time a pledge is taken to increase spending on education to 6% of the GDP, but the actual spending keeps hovering around 4%. So many amendments and policies are made, commissions are set up, but the ground of realty is rarely seen. The blend of education and corruption makes it a more deadly combo. Where the education system should just have the motto of providing education and knowledge, they are providing more; they are providing money to the corrupt politicians and businessmen. They see it as an another industry where money flows uninterrupted, irrespective of any recession.
If numbers are to be considered then we are with a decent score of 20 central universities, 215 state universities, 100 deemed universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 13 institutes which are of national importance. Other institutions include 16000 colleges, including 1800 exclusive women’s colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions. But more than numbers, the quality matters and there we are below par.
World Bank statistics found that fewer than 40 percent of adolescents in India attend secondary school. The Economist reports that half of 10-year old rural children could not read at a basic level, over 60 percent were unable to do divisions. If we go to higher technical education the problem is much bigger. For colleges like IITs, NITs and IIMs government hire faculties from abroad, but what about the institution which have either poor faculties or no faculties? Parents invest their life savings in dreams of making their children engineers, doctors and more but many unfortunates get into some universities running without an affiliation or at end– a fake degree. In January 2010, government decided to withdraw deemed university status from around 44 universities. Some were having inadequate infrastructure and some didn’t had sufficient faculties.
So are these the foundations on which India will stand as the superpower by 2020? Are these our strengths by which we’re going to compete with the likes of China, U.S.A, and U.K?
A lot has to be done to make Indian education system flawless and at par with those of developed countries. Our government makes so many policies and amendments for uplifting the education standard. They should be stricter in implementing of the new policies and amendments. All those educational institutions set up by criminals and corrupt politicians for making-money should be monitored and controlled by the government. Alternate education should be promoted in India so that the youngsters can pursue what they want. Scholarships, not just for the under-privilege students but also to the common people should be given. Corruption is the main cause for degradation of so many things other than education, so government should deal with corruption in a more effective way.
Probably with some more steps like these, if taken by the political community of the country, India too will be able to boast of rich knowledge culture. Along with other areas, she will be able to show her supremacy in field of education too.