Despite decades of reforms and government initiatives, a large number of students drop out of school for lack of quality education facilities. This phenomenon clearly shows the need for a distinctive approach to achieve the goals of providing quality education to the children of this country. Procuring quality education is the foundation of improving the lives of many. Major progress has been made to achieve the goal of providing quality education at all levels, yet India has a third of the world’s illiterates based on a report published by UNESCO.
The quality of education provided to children in India is a huge concern. According to the Annual Status of Education Report 2016 (ASER 2016) which surveyed 589 rural districts of India, only 47.7% students of class 5 can read class 2 level texts. This has declined from the previous year’s performance of 48.1%. The students also failed badly in Arithmetic and English comprehensions. The proportion of all class 8 students in rural India who are willing to divide a three-digit number by a single-digit one has dipped to 43.2% in 2016 from 44.2% in 2014. And while 32% of children in class 3 could read simple English words, in Class 5, only 1 out of every 4 students could read an English sentence.
India wants to achieve the most skilled workforce in the world. Therefore, governments have started numerous education programs to make education accessible to all. The enrollment rate of children in schools is as high as 97%, but the quality of education provided in the schools is below average. In 2016, 30.5% of all elementary school children were in private schools as against 30.8% in 2014. States like UP, Haryana, Punjab have more than 50% of elementary school children in private schools, indicating the dwindling faith in government schools. All the government schemes like the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mahila Samakhya, schemes for infrastructure development have worked so far only to enrol children into schools. Facilities of providing adequate training to teachers have been not at par.
According to a report published by District Information System for Education (DISE) in 2012, more than 91% of primary schools have drinking water facilities and 86% of schools built in the last 10 years have a school building.
However, this is not enough to overcome the huge challenge of providing quality education and not only the government but everyone needs to make efforts towards imparting quality education. We need think tanks, innovators and leaders in the society to deliver the numbers.
Though there are various government initiatives, the Indian corporate sector can play a major role in improving the quality of education. As per government mandate, corporate organisations with at least ₹5 crore revenue in a financial year will have to devote 2% of their annual revenue to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). This is where the corporates can contribute to providing quality education to students.
Several private organisations are joining hands with the government to make quality education available for students. Some of the best examples of CSR activity in this field include Tata Group. The Tata group leads from the front with a whopping ₹1000 crore budget on CSR for the year 2013-14. Tata Steel was the highest spender. It aimed at launching 1,000 schools project in Odisha, for improving the quality of education in government primary schools.
Tata Motors, for example, has also started an award-winning education program in Pune, where every year, they identify 600 boys and girls enrolled in secondary schools. Through this program, there has been an increment in the pass percentage of students to 98% and the dropout rate was reduced to 5%.
The Tata Teleservices has done its best in providing education to students from the underprivileged community in government schools. The teacher training programs undertaken by them has enhanced the quality of education being imparted to students studying in government schools.
More companies like Tata, Wipro and others should come forward to participate in imparting quality education to students. Only then we can achieve the goal of imparting quality education for all.