Indian Education System

Indian Education System

Rukmini Banerjee, the incharge of Pratham which is an organization striving to improve the quality of education in India. Pratham publishes an annual survey for the same known as ‘Annual Status of Education Report’ popularly known as ASER. For their 2018 report ASER surveyed a total of 546,527 children across 596 districts in rural India. For this survey the ASER staff gives children reading and basic calculations as test. And if you aren’t familiar with rural India, the results may seem shocking. About 50.3 per cent children studying in 5th standard were unable to read a paragraph from 2nd standard textbook. Only 4.4 per cent of students aged between 7 to 16 years are recorded not going to school which implies that children are merely going to school and not actually learning.

The problems of the Indian education system maybe classified as

  1. Design of the system
  2. Governance

Design of the system (Low learning)

Economists Karthik Murlidharan and Abhijeet Singh conducted tests with children from government schools in Delhi and came up with results reciprocating those of ASER. For example their survey showed that only two students in 6th standard had the learning level of an average 6th standard student. Other students of the 6th standard had learning levels that of an average 5th, 4th and even that of 1st standard student. According to researchers majority of the students are lagging behind the curriculum.

Any education system shall work to fulfil two major purposes i.e., Skill development and Filtering students for higher studies. Whereas the Indian education system works more like a factory system which has set really high standards to produce students which would further perform well at various Indian competitive examinations. Our education system does not focus much on the skill development of the students. It is basically a ‘one size fits all’ kind of a system where students are supposed to pass out of school or college even when they haven’t learnt properly. This pressure leads to cheating, bribing and other such malpractices observed during the major examinations. This system isn’t limited to schools. The same situation prevails in many universities as well. This is the major reason why many surveys say majority of Indian graduates are unemployable.

Governance

A government school teacher Sangita Kashyap came to lime light in the year 2014 as she set a record of being absent for 23 years from her job. But she isn’t an exception. Survey conducted by Karthik Murlidharan shows that 23.6 per cent of teachers were absent during unannounced visits, and it is estimated to salary cost of about 1.5 billion dollars per year to the Indian government. Due to this absenteeism Delhi government installed CCTV cameras in all classrooms of government schools. But teachers aren’t the only one’s responsible, system actually makes the situation worse.

A analysis conducted by Azim Premji foundation showed that about 18 per cent of teachers were absent from classes but only 2.5 per cent were actually skipping their duty. About 9 per cent were on paid leave whereas 7 per cent were busy with official duties. According to the Right To Education (RTE) Act 220 days of study is mandatory at school but on the contrary, in 2015-16, just 42 days were spent on teaching during the academic year. This means teachers spent about 81 per cent of their time on administrative duties. Many teachers recently lost their lives to election duties in Uttar Pradesh due to the large scale negligence of Covid protocols.

Solutions

There are two major problems i.e., low learning despite going to school and further lessening of the learning potential due to administrative duties performed by teachers.

Several learning programmes in the country are working innovatively to solve the first issue. The Indian government too recognizes the issue to some extent, as a result it recently withdrawed its ‘no fail policy’ till class 8.

For the second issue, efforts should be made to reduce the admin duty time of teachers. This may be done using technology and hiring staff specifically for administrative tasks like poll duty.

Solving all such issues, one at a time, lead us to a education system that the Indian youth deserves.