Friday October 18, 2019

Resurrect Government schools to revive our education system

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By Harshmeet Singh

Government educational institutes in the country are a study in contrast. While the Government controlled institutes of higher education such as the IITs and IIMs rank among the best in the world, the government run primary schools are in shambles since time immemorial. From avoiding government schools as a kid to aspiring for government colleges for higher education, the students witness contrasting aspects of education system in the country.

With the Right to Education coming into force in 2010, Education was made a fundamental right in the country. While it drastically improved the enrollment ratio in schools, it remained silent on the quality of education that the child deserves.

The result? According to the 10th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), about 1/4th of the class eight students in India can’t read the text meant for class 2nd. Reports like these underline the fact that national literacy rate of 74% is just eyewash.

Nowhere is the division between India and Bharat more evident than in our education system. A multitude of problems have been plaguing our education system for quite a while. The first and foremost is the lack of funds when it comes to government-run schools. While the private schools get a shot in the arm by raising enough finances through sky-high fees, the government schools are at the mercy of the budgets allocated by the government. Not only can the government slash the budgets anytime (like Jaitely did this year), only a fraction of the total allotted sum reaches the ground. Nothing else can justify classrooms where kids sit on the floor due to lack of chairs and no lectures taking place in the rainy season since the classroom has no roof. For long, government schools have been regarded as the dumping ground for the kids who couldn’t afford anything better.

Another factor that has further aggravated the problem is our affinity towards the English medium private schools. Realizing the financial potential of the idea of opening a private English medium school in small areas, a number of such schools have mushroomed in our villages over the past decade or so. The parents, who are usually poor farmers in such cases, willing to give their child the best possible education, admit them to these schools. And thus begins the erosion of their savings. Most of these private schools pay a meager salary to their teachers (Rs 500-1500 per month) since their solitary aim is to fill their own purses. It is impossible to imagine any learned teacher working for such a sum. With the parents themselves being too uneducated to check their kids’ progress, they continue paying the fee from their hard earned money, under the delusion that their kid is learning.

But if teacher’s salary determines his dedication towards his students, why is the standard of teaching so dismal in government school? While the government schools pay their teachers a healthy salary, they do not impose any accountability on the teachers. Unlike the teachers in the private schools, the teachers at government schools have a permanent job with almost no chance of being ousted (unless they create a major blunder). There are hardly any checks on whether the teachers are actually teaching in the classroom or whether the syllabus is covered in the allotted time period or not. And for those who give their best inside the classroom, the rewards are few, in any. The promotions are arbitrary and majorly based on your tenure and your connections. Their performance inside their classroom is seldom appreciated by anyone. All these things are no secret, but that hasn’t forced anyone out of their slumber.

While we take utmost pride in making education a fundamental right in our country, we must accept that much more needs to be done. Imagine what if the solution to some of the world’s biggest problems lies in the mind of a kid who goes to a school where teacher never turns up! Let’s do ourselves a favor by taking care of our school system.

 

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Kerala Tops in Niti Aayog’s School Education Quality Index; UP Figures Last Position

The government policy think-tank Niti Aayog on Monday launched the school education quality index where Kerala has been ranked No.1

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niti aayog, education, school, ranking, top, Kerala
The index is aimed at evaluating the performance of states and Union Territories (UTs) in the school education sector. Wikimedia Commons

The government policy think-tank Niti Aayog on Monday launched the school education quality index wherein states, including Kerala, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Assam have been ranked as the best-performing among large states, each achieving an overall performance score above 60 per cent, while Uttar Pradesh figures last in the ranking.

As per the report, Kerala has the highest overall performance score of 76.6 per cent, while Uttar Pradesh came last among the large states, with an overall performance score of 36.4 per cent.

Among 20 large states in the country, 18 have improved their overall performance between 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 in what is referred to in the report as “incremental performance”.

Haryana, Assam and Uttar Pradesh showed the most improvement in their performance in 2016-17, in comparison to the base year of 2015-16.

The School Education Quality Index assesses states on the basis of learning outcomes, access, equity, infrastructure and facilities, using survey data, self-reported data from states and third-party verification.

Tamil Nadu was the top performer in access and equity outcomes, while Karnataka led in learning outcomes. Haryana had the best infrastructure and facilities.

The index is aimed at evaluating the performance of states and Union Territories (UTs) in the school education sector.

Among the UTs, Chandigarh has the highest overall performance score of 82.9 per cent, while Lakshadweep ranks last, with an overall performance score of 31.9 per cent.

Delhi was reported to have performed better on governance processes aiding the outcomes category.

niti aayog, education, school, ranking, top, Kerala
Haryana, Assam and Uttar Pradesh showed the most improvement in their performance in 2016-17, in comparison to the base year of 2015-16. Wikimedia Commons

Among the smaller states category, Manipur emerged as the best performer. West Bengal refused to participate in the evaluation process and has not been included in the rankings.

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The school education quality index, developed through a collaborative process including key stakeholders the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, the World Bank and sector experts, consists of 30 critical indicators that assess the delivery of quality education.

Present at the launch event were Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman NITI Aayog, Amitabh Kant CEO NITI Aayog and Secretary (Higher Education) Rina Ray, among other dignitaries. (IANS)