Social Problem: From primary to higher education, Challenges are rising: MHRD must organise state ministers education meet
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It was good to see the union minister Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal taking questions from the student community and answered many questions concerning JEE, NEET, CBSE 10th and 12th exams and others. Such meetings must be more regular and the minister must directly answer student and parents anxiety and other issues.
But the problems in our education system are far and many and the challenges are rising by the day. There is a need for major transformation and the government must be open for the same. The change in environment over the past decade and years have drastically changed the overall education culture especially at secondary level.
The social media and internet revolution has been a game changer to which the government has failed to respond. This should have been envisaged and suitable actions should have been in place. There is a big moral deficit in the schools, especially at the secondary level of education. Many girls become vulnerable to these changing times and are seen eloping with their paramours in the schools itself. Boys are clueless for their career goals. Unemployment is rising and could pose a major challenge for the country as the corona pandemic has taken a big toll and even engineering and medical graduates are found to be staying at home dependent on their parents’ last source of income and savings.
Despite years of effort and projects on teacher training as well as student assessments, the situation has not improved due to structural flaws. “India today suffers from the twin challenges of unviable subscale schools and a severe shortage of teachers which makes in-schools interventions only marginally fruitful,” says the study co-authored by Alok Kumar, adviser, NITI Aayog, and Seema Bansal, director , social impact, Boston Consulting Group. ( News from Times of India).
Today, India has almost 3-4 times the number of schools (15 lakh) than China (nearly 5 lakh) despite a similar population. Nearly 4 lakh schools have less than 50 students each and a maximum of two teachers,” says the report prepared by Niti Aayog. Around 1.5 crore Indian students study in such unviable schools.
Teacher vacancies have compounded the problem. The country today has a shortage of more than 10 lakh teachers. Some states, like Jharkhand, have a severe teacher shortage of more than 40%,” the report maintains. States like Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan are similarly affected. Apart from academic work, existing teachers are also engaged in managing midday meals, conducting surveys and in administration and election duties.
One of the solutions is to rethink vocational education in secondary schools. Currently, nearly 8,000 schools across the country offer one or two trades to vocationalise secondary education.
There should be need-based customised training of teachers at the grassroots level. A teacher weak in mathematics might be excellent in physics.
Communication channels between education directorates and schools are completely broken. There is little data on learning being generated in schools and fed back.
However by and large the authorities occupying high seats are so busy in the regular work culture that no one has time to think beyond the routine and near.
Further it is expected that the National Education Policy will commence from next academic session. This will create extra pressure on all scholls, teachers and students.
The schools are already bogged down by the extra work imposed upon them due to coronavirus pandemic and in terms of online filling of data, and taking classes. Problems are rising for everyone from the students to teachers to school administration. MHRD has to immediately call a national state wide ministerial virtual meeting and discuss all issues comprehensively.
We have tried to highlight some of the issues very briefly. A detailed report can be prepared on such issues.
One has to address the problems when they are just emerging or even earlier. We are witnessing huge problems at the secondary level of school education which is not on the radar of anyone. We request the hon’ble minister HRD to take the initiative and discuss with all stakeholders. There are more than 24353 CBSE affiliated schools. Similarly there are other school affiliations. With such a large number of schools the task is cut out for the government. The government has to go for a major overhaul before taking the NEP forward else the whole education system will be jeopardized.
Dr Asheesh Shah