Changes in the Education System in India: Areas of Concern
Not many will argue with the assertion that there are many problems besetting the system of education in India. For a country whose population is among the highest in the world, India’s manpower resources are lacking in the educational foundation necessary to make them highly proficient and productive.
Among the many problems already highlighted in many other articles on the subject of Indian education include:
- Rote education and lack of hands-on experience – emphasis on grades rather than actual learning and skills development
- Limited education resources – gaps in infrastructure, teacher quality, and research facilities
- Uninspired and unmotivated teachers and the students – no drive to actually succeed in what they are good at
- Individual personalities and interests not taken into consideration – template learning for everyone, stifled creativity
- Lingering social issues – inequality in terms of access to higher education, low salaries for teachers
The real problem with India’s educational system is not only systemic but rather societal. The solutions, therefore, should consist of efforts from various sectors of society. The changes in the education system in India should consist of both short-term and long-term solutions. Short-term measures should not be flitting or temporary. They should pave the way for long-term or more permanent changes. The sustainable action is necessary.
In addressing the need for changes in the education system in India, several areas of concern should be explored: the education system itself, the social culture, and the political system. Interrelated changes in all these areas are necessary to push India towards faster growth and development.
As per Anand Mishra who is CEO of Star Infranet, Systemic changes are no doubt necessary. It is in this area where the most work has to be done. Indian education is obsolete. It is concerned more with building knowledge rather than gaining wisdom. The present rote learning methodology and limited streams of study are consistent with the economic structure of the 1950s where manpower resources were geared towards the medical, engineering, and civil services fields.
- Update Sources of Information
This kind of doctrine method worked in the past because of the limited access to the knowledge base. Today, however, there are numerous learning materials that are available in various forms and through various means. The new India education should take advantage of technology in order to provide relevant information to its students.
- Shift Towards Interactive Learning
As per Kartikeya Sharma of NewsX, The use of technology, however, should come with actual changes in the way education in India is approached. A shift towards more interactive learning where the students are given time to digest audio-visual materials on their own, for example, could stimulate creative and analytical thinking.
Interactive tools also make learning in the classroom setting in India education more interesting, as opposed to conventionally trite and boring. This also requires new learning on the part of the teachers. The teachers themselves should embrace the technology and methodology. Hopefully, teachers would be more inspired and motivated to do their jobs better.
- Explore New Methodologies of Teaching
The Khan Academy suggests what is called Flip Teaching where the classroom focus is flipped towards the students rather than the teacher. Online videos are pre-assigned to students so that they can study the materials ahead of time at home.
When they get to the classroom, they are given the chance to apply the lessons in problem-solving activities and actual work. The classroom, in this sense, becomes a venue to test the students’ ideas and address their doubts.
The way society perceives the value of education is also an important area of concern when it comes to the issue of changes in the education system in India.
- Allow Women to Get a Good Education
For instance, the figures on the number of female students are still quite low. Although recent policy changes initiated by the government has spurred enrollment, there are still problems that eventually leads to a low attendance rate and a high dropout for female students.
Poverty and the dependence of Indian communities on their female members for housework and sibling day care are concerns that need to be addressed as well.
- Convince Parents to Send Their Kids to School
Some groups suggest that the government incentivize parents to send their children to school. While this sounds good, it should be stressed that the motivation for sending children to school should remain to be the chance for a better future.
The incentives do not necessarily have to be given in cash. In Bihar, for example, the government gave bikes to women so that women can go to school. This actually increased the enrollment of female students in Bihar.
Unless the culture itself permits these members of society to grab the opportunity for education as accorded to them by the government, the problem of absenteeism and dropouts among female students and disadvantaged youth will persist.
- Erase the Rat Race Mentality
Another societal problem is the orientation towards preparing students to get into the rat race. The world’s billionaires and financial gurus are teaching the opposite. The goal should be to get out of the rat race to achieve financial freedom.
In a developing country like India, this goal is quite lofty. Many students/graduates simply want to enter the workforce in any position that will give them the highest pay. What many students realize when they graduate, is that they are actually ill-equipped for positions that require more specialized skills and analytical skills.
Instead of training children to “fight” for jobs when they graduate, they can be prepared to create jobs or make products. A slant towards business and entrepreneurship could spur faster economic growth.
This area of concern in the changes in the education system in India covers issues in policy making, accreditation, and regulation. There are over a million schools in India today. Yet, not all of these schools have the proper accreditation or enough credentials to actually be considered as veritable institutions of learning.
The government has a lot to do to ensure that its citizens are able to enjoy their constitutionally protected right to education. It is the State’s responsibility to create conditions that will make quality education affordable, accessible, and relevant.
- Increase Budget Allocation for Education
There is a need to provide more funding for educational facilities and resources in India. Although the budget allocation for education should ideally be at the 20% of the GDP, the Indian government recognizes limitations and pegs their target to a mere 6%. Despite this, the current actual expenditure is only at around 4% of GDP.
More funding should be devoted towards improving schools and learning facilities, setting up training and research centers, upgrading the compensation packages of educators, and procuring new technology. Further funding can be secured through private-public partnerships.
Foreign direct investments that went into the education sector of India for the past 5 years were pegged at 1.071Bn USD. The Desai Sethi Centre for Entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurship programs offered by the joint partnership of Bennet University and Babson Global are examples of how increased funding can result in significant steps towards the improvement of education in India.
- Strengthen Accreditation and Regulatory Policies
It is a sad fact that education in India has become big business for people who do not really care about giving students the best education possible. Some schools offer courses and advertise classes that do not actually qualify them for any degree or education credits. They are not eligible for higher studies in universities and colleges. Almost all pre-schools operate without a curriculum.
The government, in fact, withdrew the Deemed University status of over 40 learning facilities in 2010. There were also 39 establishments that were found by the University Grant Commission to be operating as fake educational institutions.
Changes in the accreditation and regulatory policies can only materialize with strong political will. The government should be willing enough to put some teeth into the provisions of existing policies. Some would argue that putting up schools for business is a practice that cannot really be avoided. Granted that this is so, the quality of education in India should not suffer. Stricter requirements should be mandated for accreditation and regulatory compliance.
- Enact New Legislation to Support Access to High-Quality Education
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new administration recognizes this and has declared it one of the government’s top priorities to revise existing legislation on education in India. This primarily involves the RTE Act and the National Policy on Education (NPE).
There are also 15 bills that are currently in the pipeline at the Parliament, including the Foreign Universities Bill. This bill, however, does not quite solve the real problem in the India education system. It only allows for the entry of foreign universities. What is necessary, perhaps, are pieces of legislation to support the transfer of technology, promote a culture of excellence, and enhance capacity building.
The necessary changes in the education system in India cannot materialize without key action from various sectors of society. The heavy task of implementing these changes is in the hands of the government, the institutions, and educators, the parents and students, and the general public – after all, the results of these changes will benefit the entire country as a whole.