The focus for education in 2017
School education is an important factor for any developing economy. The aim of school education is to develop good human beings and a good society, and this is foundation to our democracy. There is no substitute for public education in a democracy. We must reaffirm this unequivocally, through our actions.
Must Required Steps
- All children must have the same good education up to class XII. There must be no “streaming” into vocational and academic.
- All children must be exposed to vocational education.
- Commercialization of schools must be stopped, else citizens will be fleeced and education damaged.
- Better infrastructure is essential. The reality on the ground is very different from what is claimed, e.g., a large proportion of schools don’t have adequate water.
- Examinations must be improved to assess real and deep capacities rather than memorization and procedural skills.
- Education must develop fundamental capacities—e.g. independent thinking, problem-solving—so that people can adapt.
- Improvement in our early childhood-care system, and also in education for children with disabilities.
- Needed a lot more secondary and higher-secondary schools across the country.
- We must move towards 6-8% of GDP for education. Regional and rural-urban disparities must be addressed.
Technology won’t solve the problem of improvement of learning. It can help, in the same way that books can, but no more. Our teacher education system (BEd) is by far one of the weakest (and most corrupt) in the world. It needs a complete ground-up rebuild. We have 8.8 million teachers. This existing teacher base needs massive investment in effective capacity development. We also need an adequate number of teachers in all schools. Education and learning are deeply determined by the socio-economic conditions of the child. There must be mechanisms to tackle this very complex issue.
Education is not an economic service. It is a social-human and moral endeavour; it’s about people and their aspirations for the good life. And it is about what we owe each other in a democratic society.