A deepening crisis {Education}

Context

In 1966, the Kothari Commission had said in its voluminous report that India should aim at spending 6% of its GDP on education. More than half a century later, we are spending less than 3% of our GDP on education.

Our national aspirations will remain unmet at long as we fail to prioritise education

Why in news?

Recently The Union Budget for 2018-19 has been announced by Mr Arun Jaitley, Union Minister for Finance, Government of India, in Parliament on February 1, 2018. It focuses on uplifting the rural economy and strengthening of the agriculture sector, healthcare for the economically less privileged, infrastructure creation and improvement in the quality of education of the country.

  • Role of technology in the education sector will be increased with a focus on increased digital intensity.
  • A new initiative named ‘Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022’ will be launched with an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore (US$ 15.72 billion) over the next four years.

India’s current stage

India is more prosperous today and people’s aspirations are higher. Education is valued across different sections and strata.

Issue

Despite this favourable social climate, education has failed to become a matter of national concern.There is no sign of funds to enable institutional recovery after a prolonged period of damage caused by financial cuts in higher education. In elementary education, supply of funds for improvement in quality is no more certain

Four years option

The Finance Minister made a special mention of the four-year integrated B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education) programme as a way forward for achieving quality in teacher training.

The big question that has remained unanswered since the commission submitted its report is whether the Central government will spend the money the sector needs

Improvement needed

  • That question is whether the government is aware of its responsibility towards higher education. Teachers for all levels are directly or indirectly affected by institutions of higher education.
  • A nursery teacher needs to benefit from current knowledge in child psychology, and someone teaching language in primary classes must know how to leverage contemporary knowledge about how children learn reading or how to impart bilingual skills.
  • The secondary teacher is directly affected by conditions in undergraduate colleges. If they have no science labs and adequate faculty, the graduates who opt for school teaching as a career can hardly do justice to the adolescents who choose to study science. These are reasons why the degraded state of undergraduate education limits the potential impact of training on a schoolteacher’s academic capacity.

 


 

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