India is a country with a population of 1.3 billion and counting. Providing basic resources to citizens is a Herculean task for any government. When it comes to providing quality education, arduous efforts are needed to attain desired results. The education system has to address multiple aspects to further strengthen the learning paraphernalia. Here is a look at some issues that plague the education system and what can be done to redress them:
Limited funds and redistribution: The government at the provincial and national levels has to provide resources such as manpower, infrastructure and funds to cater to the country’s .educational needs and teaching resources.
Autonomy for education institutions: In our country, there is a certain degree of administrative control over the functioning of both public and private educational institutions. High-performing Institutions should be given autonomy in their operations. Liberty in the revision of the syllabus, and introduction of new reforms can aid in offering quality education. Measures that relieve top-graded/ranked educational institutions from excessive control must be introduced collectively with the state and the central government.
Expensive higher education: The affordability of professional and technical education has become a crucial component due to the privatisation of higher education and the rise of profit-driven education entrepreneurs. To make education more affordable, the government can float a new entity that provides education loans at cheaper interest rates or by offering longer repayment tenures. A facility to repay the loan by auto-debit from the monthly salary after study can be made available. Private institutions should also offer more scholarships to those from economically and socially weaker sections.
Obsolete curriculum: The curriculum in school and college focuses mostly on general education, which does not adequately prepare students for life and the challenges they will face. International standards of education must be taken into consideration while formulating new guidelines. Multidisciplinary institutions, with a fully flexible credit-acquiring system, may help overcome this problem. Students must be free to choose their courses and the number of credits acquired.
Archaic academic structure: Assessment and evaluation of students need to be brought on par with the latest international standards. More practical and vocational courses are the need of the hour. The areas of education must be streamlined, and the students must be assessed based only on that particular skill. Further, as envisioned in the NEP 2020, institutions should follow the continuous evaluation; a formative assessment model, and do away with the rote system of summative assessment.
Inferior primary education infrastructure: According to a report shared by UNICEF, due to inadequate or poor infrastructure, 29% of boys and girls leave school before completing their elementary education. This has financial implications for society and also leads to the wastage of capable human resources. More focus should be on skill development and vocational education for job creation at the middle school level. Most students who drop out of school/college are earning members of the family, and their education cost is considered a liability. However, with early vocation-based courses and education, their parents would know that funds spent on their education would benefit the family and prepare the student for the competition in the skill market.
The writer is Chancellor, KL Deemed to be University