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Reforms in Education System

  • 13 Oct 2022
  • 11 min read

This editorial is based on “India@75 looking at 100: What India’s education system needs” which was published in The Indian Express on 12/10/2022. It talks about the reforms in current education system of India.

For Prelims: Unified District Information System For Education (UDISE), National Education Policy 2020, National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning, PRAGYATA, PM SHRI Schools, National Family Health Survey-5, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Artificial Intelligence.

For Mains: Features of National Education Policy 2020, Major Issues Related to the Education Sector in India, Government Initiatives Related to Educational Reforms.

By 2030, India will have the largest number of young population in the globe, a population size which will be a boon only if these young people are skilled enough to join the workforce. Quality education will play a major role in it.

But the current state of Education faces major challenges like lack of adequate infrastructure, low government expenditure on education( less than 3.5% of the GDP) and as per Unified District Information System For Education (UDISE) the pupil-to-teacher ratio at national level for elementary schools is 24:1.

So it's high time to tune the Indian Education System with global standards and adopt modern learning approaches that are responsive and relevant. Also, vitalise National Education Policy 2020 to see the light of day.

What are the Features of National Education Policy 2020?

  • The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”. It is only the 3rd major revamp of the framework of education in India since independence.
    • The two earlier education policies were brought in 1968 and 1986.
  • It aims to bring 2 crore out of school children back into the mainstream through an open schooling system.
  • School governance is set to change, with a new accreditation framework and an independent authority to regulate both public and private schools.
  • Assessment reforms with 360-degree Holistic Progress Card, tracking Student Progress for achieving Learning Outcomes.

What are the Major Issues Related to the Education Sector in India?

  • Inadequate Infrastructure in Schools: According to the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) for 2019-20, only 12% of schools have internet facilities and 30% have computers.
    • About 42% of these schools lacked furniture, 23% lacked electricity, 22% lacked ramps for the physically disabled, and 15% lacked WASH facilities (which include drinking water, toilets, and hand wash basins).
  • High Dropout Rate: The dropout rate is very high in primary and secondary levels. Most of the students in 6-14 age groups leave the school before completing their education. It leads to wastage of financial and human resources.
    • According to the National Family Health Survey-5, not being interested in studies was the reason given by 21.4% of girls and 35.7% of boys aged between 6 to 17 years for dropping out of school before the 2019-20 school year.
  • Problem of Brain Drain: Due to cutthroat competition for getting admission in top institutes like IITs and IIMs, a challenging academic environment is created for a large number of students in India, so they prefer going abroad, that makes our country deprived of good talent.
    • There is definitely a quantitative expansion of education in India but the qualitative front (essential for a student to get a job) is lagging behind.
  • Mass illiteracy: In spite of constitutional directives and efforts aimed at enhancing education, around 25% of Indians still remain illiterate, which also leaves them socially and digitally excluded.
  • Lack of Adequate Attention to Indian Languages: Indian languages are still in an underdeveloped stage, the medium of instruction particularly in science subjects is English, resulting in unequal opportunities for rural students.
    • Also, standard publications are not available in the Indian language.
  • Lack of Technical and Vocational Education: Mainly, our educational system is of generalistic nature. Development of technical and vocational education is quite unsatisfactory, due to which the number of educated unemployed persons is increasing day by day.
  • Unaffordability: Meagre incomes at rural level leads to education taking a backseat. Due to lack of awareness and financial stability, many parents tend to see education as an expense rather than an investment. They would rather want their children to work and earn.
    • When it comes to higher education, lack of good institutes in the vicinity force students to shift in cities, which adds to their expenses. This leads to low rates of enrollment.
  • Gender-Inequality: Despite the government's effort to ensure equality of opportunity for education for both men and women in our society, the literacy rate of women in India, especially in rural areas, still remains very poor.

What Should be the Way Forward?

  • Towards Experiential Learning Approach: There is a need for inclusion of problem-solving and decision-making related subjects in the school curriculum to offer a hands-on learning experience to students and prepare them to face the outside world when they enter into the workforce.
    • Experiential Learning can reap maximum benefit from its ability to extract active participation from every student, which in turn triggers their emotional intelligence and sets them on a path to self-learning.
    • Linking Artificial Intelligence with the Educational Sector will also facilitate experiential learning.
  • Implementation of National Education Policy: The implementation of the NEP can help shake the education system from its slumber.
    • Moving away from the current 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 system will bring the pre-school age group formally into the education set-up.
  • Education-Employment Corridor: India's educational setup needs to be enhanced by integrating vocational learning with mainstream education and providing right mentorship at school (especially in government schools) to ensure that students are guided in the right direction from the start and are aware of career opportunities.
    • Students in rural regions have great potential and are motivated to study but lack the right mentoring. This is required not just for the children but also for their parents that will in a way also reduce the gender gap in education.
  • Reducing the Language Barrier: While keeping English as a means of education for international understanding (EIU), it is important to give other Indian languages equal importance, and special publication agencies can be established to translate resources into a variety of languages so that all Indian students have the same opportunity regardless of their linguistic background.
  • Taking a Note From Past to Future: It is important to look to the future while keeping our long-established roots in mind.
    • There is much to learn from the 'Gurukul' system of ancient India, which focussed on holistic development beyond academics, centuries before the topic became a buzzword in modern education.
    • Ethics and value education remained at the core of learning in the ancient Indian education system. Values such as self-reliance, empathy, creativity, and integrity remain a major area in ancient India that have relevance even today.
    • The ancient evaluation of education was not restricted to grading thematic knowledge. Students were assessed on the skills they learned and how well they can apply practical knowledge to real-life situations.
      • The modern education system can also devise similar systems of assessment.

Drishti Mains Question

“There is a quantitative expansion of Education in India but the qualitative front is still lagging behind”. Explain how National Education Policy 2022 can help shake the education system from its slumber.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Prelims

Q. Which of the following provisions of the Constitution does India have a bearing on Education? (2012)

  1. Directive Principles of State Policy
  2. Rural and Urban Local Bodies
  3. Fifth Schedule
  4. Sixth Schedule
  5. Seventh Schedule

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only 
(b) 3, 4 and 5 only 
(c) 1, 2 and 5 only
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans- (d)


Mains

Q1. How have digital initiatives in India contributed to the functioning of the education system in the country? Elaborate on your answer. (2020)

Q2. Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail. (2021)

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