A recent worldwide survey, including 73 countries, testing the math and science skills of 15-year-old students along with reading proficiency, concluded that India stands at the second last position beating only Kyrgyzstan.The states of Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, usually churning out the best students of the country, were chosen for the privilege. The disastrous results of the supposedly “best” students of the country leave a question in the mind of every countryman-where did we go wrong? In my humble opinion, this was inevitable.
The IITs and IIMs are showpieces of educational institutions, an example of Indian excellence for the world to see. But, is the basic educational need of an average student taken care of? Let’s not talk even about the middle class here, not about people who live in the ivory towers of metropolitan cities, public schools and coaching centers. Let’s talk about the “real” India .The India which does not have basic sanitation facilities and sometimes not even a proper classroom in the schools. Where a stable number of teachers is a dream; in fact, most of them are running on a single teacher! Here lies the gaping chasm in the education system, and until this is taken care of, an educated India will remain a dream. After all, a country is only as educated as its teachers are.
Recently, close to 15,000 guest teachers in Haryana schools are supposed to be replaced by regulars. The Haryana Government’s plea for extension of the deadline for replacement of the teachers was turned down by the high court. Therefore, come March 31,there will be no guest teachers as well as no regulars, since the government did not conduct the recruitment exercise which will leave almost 70,000 TET trained teachers jobless. Coming to the topic of training, a recent survey also concluded that only 21% of the teachers in Bihar have passed class 10th examinations, second only to UP which is at a dismal 12.8 %. Which leaves almost 79% of the teachers who have themselves not even crossed the first milestone of their education. In fact about half the 47 lakh elementary school teachers in India have themselves not studied beyond the higher secondary level .To add to this dismal picture, only 35%of all those who teach class 1 to 8 are graduates, which leaves 2/3rds of the Indian teaching community to be non-graduates. Indeed, the results continue that about 29.9% students from class 3 to 8 cannot do subtraction, 33% cannot even read a class 3 book in Gujarat. In fact, the national figure for the proportion of children in Standard V able to read Standard II level text has dropped from 53.7 per cent in 2010 to 48.2 per cent in 2011.
And we ask why our students are not capable of being at par with those at the global level? How can we expect students to learn anything from unqualified teachers?Â Agreed, that there are many students who have done the country proud, but we cannot ignore the whole universe just because of a few shining stars. The Government really needs to wake up from its slumber, otherwise there’s a black hole waiting out there in the ready, to engulf the smallest aspect of a brighter future.
It’s time we stop basking in the glory of our “developing” status, pseudo-development and rapid industrialization cannot mask the fact that the real India is still deprived of many basic needs, of which education is an essential part. Teachers play an important role in the shaping of an individual and every child has should be exposed to teachers who not only teach competently but also change lives.
Image courtesy:Â http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/competitions/challenge/2009