“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school – Albert Einstein”
Today, India’s education system offers a great opportunity to approximately 29 percent of India’s population is between the age of 0-14 years. India has one of the largest networks of higher education institutions in the world with 666 universities and 39,671 colleges. It is also the third largest in terms of education enrollment with over 21.5 million enrollments per year. The Government of India has allowed 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the education sector through the automatic route since 2002. The education and training sector has witnessed major investments in recent past.
But, the question remains whether quality or quantity that matters when the education system is concerned. Currently, two-thirds students struggle with basic arithmetic, Grade 5 students in government schools can only read grade 2 level syllabus. These numbers are increasing over the years. The quality of education in over 1.1 million government schools is more severe, the increase in budget amount for education is not reflecting at ground level. The parents are worried about their children and demanding better education from schools. Like we say the foundation of the building need to be strong if you want a durable and long lasting building. The same concept needs to be reflected in school education. The parents are now moving from government schools to private schools where they can hold the management accountable for the quality of education. But, the private schools are also suffering from their own challenges like retention, financial funding, and substandard curriculum. Almost 7 to 8 lakh of engineers graduates from colleges every year and joining the workforce, but they are lacking requisite skills and being unable to produce the required productivity. India is the largest producers of engineers in the world, but the quality of engineers are quite poor and only 7-8% of engineering graduates are employable.
India is witnessing dearth of quality in education, though every year thousands of new colleges are opening like the growth of mushroom in ground. India’s literacy rate is still below 80 percent and it needs huge improvement. Illiteracy is highest in Muslims while Jains are the most literate community. As per UNESCO’s new Global Education Monitoring(GEM) report, India is expected to achieve universal primary education in 2050, universal lower secondary education in 2060 and universal upper secondary education in 2085. This statistic needs to be improved if we, as an Indian want to lead in the global arena. Over five lakh posts of primary teachers are lying vacant in government schools across the country.
To improve the quality of education, Indian Government has taken substantial initiatives in terms of different schemes like “Kaushal Bharat, Kushal Bharat”, Skill development training, Skill India initiative, etc. The Government of India has taken several steps including the opening of IIM’s, IIT’s, NIT’s in new locations to improve the quality of education. Now, they need to bring efficient reforms and frameworks to develop educational infrastructure and financial budget outlays to transform the country into a knowledge hub. Moreover, in this digital era, online modes of education in several educational organisations will play an important role to bring a change in the quality of education. Both state and central government need to sit together to formulate different frameworks and strategies to fill the vacant posts lying in government schools with quality teachers. The literacy campaign can be used in the states to reduce illiteracy rate in India. The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has made a maiden attempt to assess and rank colleges and universities in India using National Institute Ranking framework. This will help the government to find out the quality of education as well as the areas of improvement. India needs to bring the efficient innovation and technology to radically improve the quality of education. When the quality of education improves then employment, literacy and the nation improves.
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” – Socrates