Frontline Gist: Issue :July 8, 2016

8/7/2016 683 Social Issues | Education | View Recent Current Affairs

Frontline Gist: Issue

July 8, 2016

The Rot in School Education

Significance of Education

India has young population & within few years it will be most populous with 1.4 billion people. To faster, sustainable & inclusive growth, education is the most potent tool in transforming India.
• Latest Annual Status of Education Report says that 21.6% of students in class VII cannot read the class II texts; only 24.5% of students of class I to class VIII can recognize numbers; 52.6% of class V cannot do simple division & 75.5% cannot do simple division.
• Still Gender Disparity right from primary to Higher Education
• Decrease in quality of education
• Increase in Urban-Rural divide
• Privatization of education
• Safforanisation of education (Related Article: Saffron Slant by T.K. Rajalakshmi(page no. 119))
• Rising inequalities because of education system
• Education has become extractive i.e. unaffordable due to rise in fees. (Related Article: Capital Concerns by Divya Trivedi (page no. 21))

Government Policy

Government policy on the sphere of education has been to expand access to education at all three levels- elementary, secondary & post secondary.

Various Policy initiatives

(Related Article: Public education in the market place by Madhu Prasad (page no. 5))

1) Right to Education Act, 2009

It was created as an enabling legislation to operationalise the FR guaranteed by constitution under Article 21A.
It provides framework for Universalisation of Elementary Education.

Salient Features:

• Every child in the age group of 6-14 has right to free & compulsory education in neighborhood school, till completion of elementary education.
• Makes provision for a non admitted child to be admitted to class to appropriate his age.
• Private schools will have to take 25% of their class strength from weaker section and disadvantaged section. Government will fund their education.
• No retention policy
• No donation and capitation fee allowed
• No admission test or interview either for parents and children.
• Provision for establishment of commissions to supervise the implementation of the act.
• Fixed pupil to teacher ratio is to be maintained.
Monitoring- The National Commission for protection of child rights (NCPCR) has been mandated to monitor implementation.

Limitations of RTE

( Related Articles: Public education in the market place by Madhu Prasad (page no.5) & For quality and equality by T.S.R Subramanian (page no.9))

• Excluded pre-school early childhood care & education for 0-5 years.
• Excluded “special” government schools which were proof that govt could run schools when they were required to.
• RTE defined knowledge as “tradable commodity” & education as “tradable service”- or been accepted as model of development by all governments in power.
• No retention policy has led to decrease in standard of education.
• RTE calls for pupil to teacher ratio, but there remains imbalance in their deployment.

Inequalities due to education systems

(Related Article: Public education in the market place by Madhu Prasad (page no. 5))

India’s education system is reproducing inequalities not removing them.
• According to NSSO’s most recent survey reveals that inequalities have grown as government system has been systematically deprived, then disparaged & now demolished.
• According to Net Attendance Ratio of richest(53% rural & 66% urban) 5th of population, 89% children of primary school going age attend school, proportion drops by 10% to 79% for children in poorest(185 rural & 23% urban) 5th of area.
• Keeping children uneducated, whether they are in or out of school, is not a function of poverty but a range of negative attitudes and misplaced priorities of policy.
• To segregate the poor and the disadvantaged in institutions catering only to them results in a situation where the majority of children are denied their FR of education even as privilege masquerades as merit.
• Contrary to all pedagogical and egalitarian preference for the mother tongue as language of learning, fluency in English, a prominent marker is driving even the poor families to take on the crushing fee burden of private “English Medium” and is defeating the purpose of government schools.
• The division of school into “elite”, “semi-elite”, “common man’s” school based solely on privilege & wealth has neither educational basis nor a social value in democratic society.

Issue of Quality of Education

(Related Article: For quality and Equality by T.S.R. Subramanian (page no. 9))

Issue of deceasing quality of education whether at elementary or at higher level is rising concern.
The central & most state boards follow 10+2+3 pattern of education. This pattern originated from recommendation of Kothari Education Commission 1964-66.
The NEP of 1968 & 1986 had endorsed a norm of 6% of GDP as minimum expenditure on education. However target has never been met. Currently we are spending only 3.5% on education.

Elementary Education:

• No retention policy of RTE, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Mid Day Meal schemes has led to enhancement in gross enrolment ratio over 95%.
• Maximum of students are in state funded schools.
• Quality is certainly low Latest Annual Status of Education Report says that 21.6% of students in class VII cannot read the class II texts; only 24.5% of students of class I to class VIII can recognize numbers; 52.6% of class V cannot do simple division & 75.5% cannot do simple division.
• State run boards are faring poor.

Secondary & Higher Secondary Education:

• At secondary stage, the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan(RMSA) is most important programme rolled out by HRD ministry. It has twin aims of enhancing access to improving the quality of secondary education.
• Enrolment is sought to be increased by providing a secondary school with reasonable distance of all habitations & by removing gender, socio-economic & disability barriers to education.
• Infrastructural lack
• Equity aspects are sought to be addressed by according special focus on micro planning & preference in opening schools in areas with concentrations of SCs/STs/Minorities.
• Significant & rapid increased participation of private sector & NGOs.
• With rapid expansion of school system, access to school education has become near universal, children from certain sections of population, for population, for reasons arising out of poverty, the need to work & social restrictions or lack of belief in usefulness of education.
• Regional disparities continue as do differences in access depending on socio-economic background of students.
• Private sector has played major role in growth of colleges and institutions in India.
• Global ranking of universities is a useful indicator and none of Indian university is in top 200.

New Education Policy

(Related Article: The Policy Suspense by Purnima S. Tripathi (page no. 13))

• Indian education policy was established in 1968 and then in 1986. The present government has been working on new education policy for a year.
• The government had set up a committee headed by TSR Subramaniam and it has submitted the report to the government.
• But the government has nit shared the report with public and it has resulted in creation of doubts regarding governments new policy initiative.
• Few leaked points related to report are:
a) Value education must be made an integral part of education as students need to be developed as responsible citizens of globalised world.
b) IT tools to be integral part of learning process.
c) The HRD should have assistance of a permanent expert body which may be called a Standing Education Commission.
d) Education needs to be managed by professionally qualified personnel; an all-India education service on line of IAS should be set up.
e) The outlay of education should be increased to around 6% of GDP.
f) RTE to be extended to pre-primary and secondary level.
g) No retention policy should be discontinued.
h) Minority Institutions should be brought under RTE.
i) The class X board exams should be made universal.
j) The appointments of VCs should be depoliticized.
k) The UGC should be made leaner and it should manage only national fellow-ship programme without any regulatory or promotional work.