स्कूल की बिल्डिंग स्कूल नहीं है। स्कूल का अर्थ तो स्कूल की पढ़ाई है, जो किसी स्कूल में नहीं हो रही। ~ Rakesh Raman
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), Government of India, has released the outlines of the government’s Draft National Education Policy, 2016.
Released in the last week of June 2016 on the government’s website, the 43-page document underlines the challenges in the Indian education system and attempts to provide a framework for the development of education over the coming few years.
The government document has highlighted so many flaws in the existing education ecosystem of India that it appears educational institutions are mere stone buildings where no education is happening.
And after reading the government document which underlines the poor quality of teachers and teaching methods at all levels, all wise parents would wonder why they are sending their children to schools, colleges, and universities.
The last National Education Policy was made in 1986 with some subsequent tweaks in the early 1990s. So, this is the first major attempt by the Indian government in the last three decades to make a new education framework to provide the right education to the students in India. While it is a comprehensive document, here are some excerpts from it.
Challenges in the Education Systems
The National Education Policy, 2016 finds the following challenges in the education systems of all levels in India:
- Participation in preschool education remains low
- Large numbers of children leave the school before completing elementary education
- Dropout rates in secondary education continue to be high, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged groups of learners
- Slow progress in reducing the number of non-literates
- Poor quality of education resulting in unsatisfactory learning outcomes
- Quality-related deficiencies include inappropriate curriculum (syllabus), lack of trained educators (teachers), and ineffective pedagogy (method of teaching)
- Majority of preschool educators are inadequately trained
- Unsatisfactory level of student learning
- Poor quality of learning at the primary and upper primary stages affects student learning at the secondary stage
- Poor quality of learning at the secondary stage spills over to the college and university years, leading to poor learning outcomes in the higher education sector
Unsatisfactory Quality of School Education
According to the government document, several factors have contributed to unsatisfactory quality of school education. These are:
- Student and teacher absenteeism
- Serious gaps in teacher motivation and training, resulting in deficiencies related to teacher quality and performance
- Slow progress in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education
- Inadequate attention to monitoring and supervision of performance
- Many private schools lack the required infrastructure, learning environment, and competent teachers
- The current teacher education and training programmes are inappropriate
- Commercialisation is rampant both in school and higher education sectors as reflected in the charges levied for admissions in private educational institutions
- The proliferation of sub-standard educational institutions has contributed to the diminished credibility of the education system
The government policy document also reports that:
- Most of the products (students) of the education system lack employable skills
- The utility of higher education in assuring employment remains questionable
- Many graduate and postgraduate students do not get jobs in their respective fields
Focus of the Policy
The National Education Policy, 2016 focuses on:
- Producing students / graduates equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values to meet the requirements of the knowledge‐based societies
- Improving the quality of education at all levels
- Ensuring quality education for all – children, youth, and adults
- Fostering quality education with a strong focus on reforms related to curricula, learning materials, pedagogic processes, learning assessment, teacher quality and performance
- Promoting acquisition of relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for work and entrepreneurship
- Replacing students’ rote learning with creative and innovative thinking and communication abilities
- Ensuring integration of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education
- Ensuring that the systems of teacher development and management are reformed to ensure adequate supply of qualified and competent teachers
According to the government, existing initiatives will be strengthened and curricula revamped with multi-pronged strategies involving Self Help Groups, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), educational institutions, youth and women’s organisations for achieving universal youth and adult literacy.
The government plans to take steps to raise the investment in education sector to at least 6% of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product).
You can see the Draft National Education Policy (NEP), 2016 document here.
The government invites views and suggestions from citizens to make the final education policy. The last date for sharing inputs on the Draft National Education Policy is 31st July, 2016.