Important Roles in Changing Education System in India
Solving the problems that beset the system of education in India does not depend on one sector of society alone. The problems are not only systemic but socio-political as well. It would not be right to look only to educators and education administrators for solutions.Concerted action is necessary for sustainable programs that will improve the quality of education in India, and consequently, the quality of life of its people too.
There are various roles that should be played in planning and implementing changes in the education system in India. Everyone has a part to play to effect change. It only takes the willingness and commitment of everyone in order to make the changes work.
Take a look at what action steps are necessary from the members of the Indian society:
The Government (regulator, administrator, and policy maker)
Politicians should put an end to the corruption and red tape that is prevalent in this developing country. Nepotism is also a problem that influences the way permits and accreditation are granted. It seems that it’s too easy for government officials to turn a blind eye to the growing commercialization of education in India.
As a consequence of lax regulations and policies, more and more apartment-style schools are being set up by profiteering individuals. This kind of “business” is also used to launder dirty money. It is a reality that good education requires a good amount of money. But, more than adequate funding can be secured without having to condone or support corrupt practices.
The government should be the first to put its foot down. It should put more teeth into its laws, policies, and regulations. The withdrawal of Deemed University status from more than 40 Indian education establishments in 2010 is a good example. There’s more work to be done, however. Assessing and validating this accreditation should be done regularly without the government being “scared” of earning the ire of the investors.
The Prime Minister himself has recently declared that making educational development relevant should be a priority. He also pushed to have separate toilets for girls in educational institutions. There is much to look forward to in the Modi administration’s plans to revise the rather dated RTE Act.
According to Kartikeya Sharma Information TV, another interesting effort towards changes in the education system in India is a certain judge’s passing of an order that mandates all government employees to send their children only to government or public schools. His rationale is that these officials will be more willing to improve the system of education in public schools if their children’s education depended on it.
This move will increase the chances of the positive changes reaching the poor and disadvantaged students in public schools. The government officials will be more concerned about addressing the problems of poor infrastructure, lack of facilities and learning materials, and low-quality teaching in the public schools that their children are to attend.
Private Sector – Businesses (financer)
It has already been established that education in India is considered to be big business. This fact does not have to be all that negative. Legitimate businesses can be a good source of additional funding for educational institutions. Private partnerships can be entered into where the goal is to provide high-quality education and training for potential talents that the private companies can hire in the future.
Profits, of course, should not be the main priority for these business partners. Philanthropy should also be encouraged when it comes to investing in the education sector. Business insiders estimate that about 25% of the projects pitched to one of India’s largest angel networks involves e-learning. Other companies that specialize in technology and IT services can explore how they can support the Indian education system through tie-ups and partnerships.
As per Anand Mishra, CEO of Star Infranet, big companies are also encouraged to put up their own research and training facilities or even colleges that focus on their R&D. This will help address the problem of lack of hands-on experience in graduates of the Indian education system.
It’s a win-win situation for these companies since the projects that students, interns, and apprentices work on their R&D facilities can actually be used in product development.
Educators (conduits of knowledge and technology)
The quality of teachers is one of the most apparent problems that need to be addressed in the Indian education system. A lot of teachers in India are often ill-equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitude to be real educators. Those who are qualified to be teachers are either not motivated enough or have low self-esteem.
This sentiment of a lot of educators stems from teaching conditions, compensation, and public perception. Assuming that the other sectors are doing their part in addressing these issues, teachers and educators should also be open to making a paradigm shift.
The love and passion for teaching come internally from the educators themselves. The openness to the necessary changes in the education system in India and the willingness to grow with these changes are keys to improving the quality of education that they are capable of providing to their students.
Educators should be able to embrace new technology and modalities of teaching. More interactive learning using software and programs developed as educational tools can facilitate student learning. Instead of merely asking their students to memorize the topics of study, the educators are able to guide their students into actually understanding and analyzing the concepts.
The role of parents in improving the quality of education in India is anchored on socio-economic and cultural issues. In a developing country like India, family resources are limited and even the young family members are often relied on for tasks and chores around the house.
While the enrolment rate is quite high with about 97% of all rural children aged 6-14 attending school, the dropout rates are also quite high. Domestic and economic issues are cited as some of the common reasons for dropping out. For female students, specifically, the need to stay home to tend to their younger siblings while their parents go to work is one of the causes why they have to leave school.
One solution presented is to send female tutors to the villages through the National Literary Mission. Economic issues are also addressed by the RTE Act and the District Primary Education Programme. With programs that provide access to educational infrastructure and resources to rural communities, parents should open the gates of education for their children. Allowing their children to enjoy their constitutionally protected right to free education is actually their key to getting out of poverty and improving their quality of life.
Students (consumers of knowledge)
Students are naturally in search for knowledge. There is a natural curiosity in small kids. This should persist as they go through school. Like teachers, students should be motivated enough not only to pass their tests but to really understand their lessons.
At present, the rote learning practiced in India educational institutions only focus on knowledge rather than wisdom. Here, the students simply echo the information they get from their lessons in their tests and papers. They strive to get top marks and ranks in order to land high-paying jobs in the future.
Studies in psychology support the assertion that this kind of education does not result in real learning, but rather to a conformist attitude. In the primary years, the students do not really have a say in the matter as they simply consume whatever their educators feed them.
As they advance in years, students should be allowed to broaden their horizons and explore streams of study other than the three conventional streams of Science, Commerce, and Humanities. Learning from the West, students of India education should be given the choice to study a combination of majors and minors. This should prepare them for what they really want to be “when they grow up.”
All these roles and action steps might be overwhelming for some. They might even be considered to be difficult to pull off. Nobody said that changing the India education system is going to be easy. The willingness and commitment to a concerted effort are what’s necessary today. The action steps can be taken one at a time in a carefully laid out plan. Soon enough, the improvements in the system of education in India should make the future rosy not only for its students but for its entire population as well.