“But Where Is The Education?” [Part 1]
In today’s India, ‘education delivered’ continues to remain a national crisis. The curriculum of education is still more theoretical than knowledgeable, thus failing to increase qualitative technical skills for the industrial sector. This inversely proves to be a reason for the lack of investment on human capital in India. Cost-effective methods for student learning have never come into thought and we continue to face extremely poor policies, increased rate in the number of drop outs and leniency in enforcement of Right to Education Act, 2009. The question which arises is, “Where have we really gone wrong?”
Quality Education: According to the 2011 census, we may have almost reached the threshold literacy rate of 74.04 per cent due to the implementation of free and compulsory education, but yet, institutes across the nation fail to obey some of the many norms prescribed by the Right to Education Act. Moreover, questions have been raised about implementing ‘Right to Learn’ over ‘Right to Education’ since the RTE norms fail to mention a single point regarding ‘learning’ which is the crux of the entire issue.
A prophecy regarding the so-called ‘quality education’ in India, is that statistically it does no good. Quality education is a socio-economic boon, a justified postulate. Lack of quality education leads to deficiency of skilled labour in the industrial sector and eventually diminishes the economic output. This is purely evident in India as 83 per cent of the total working population for the construction industry remains unskilled. But at the same time, labour in India is low in both quality and capital.
Let us question “What are we really learning?” rather than “How many are we educating?”
At the Indian level, 52 per cent of Class V students are unable to read a Class II textbook whereas 72 per cent of them are unable to do basic arithmetic division. Also, a teacher’s duty today revolves more around ‘punctuality’ and ‘attendance’ of a student rather than his or her achievements. Mere aim to complete the syllabus has now turned into a priority.
With the rise in number of private schools and institutes, education has turned into a thriving business. Students of the elite and middle class families successfully avail seats, leaving behind students from poor sections of the society who fail to meet the needs for quality education at local schools. Now the myth revolving around quality education is that it is only to be found in private institutions. This continues to remain a hoax since private institutions deliver a mere gain with respect to quality. The truth enlightens us when studies reveal that on comparison of test scores between public and private institutes; only a marginal difference exists.
Yet, lack of quality education has raised another deeper subject. Parents today enforce children to join coaching institutes and private tuition’s which eventually turn to be ‘supplements’ for quality education. However, educationalists fear that private tutoring has turned into an alternative to institutional schools. This was clearly evident in Bengal recently where nearly 73 per cent of the students took recourse to tuitions instead of schools. The RTE Act prohibits teachers from conducting private tuitions but no initiatives have been undertaken to track down these teachers who abide against the law. RTE also fails to meet the norms required for ‘minimum’ quality education for any school. The need for norms over such a grave issue which serves as the main source for entire educational output is a must.
In the upcoming articles of this series, we will discuss the myths revolving around quality education in India.