Education Series – Part I

This article is the first part of the ‘Education’ series of articles.

‘Education ’ is a hot topic for UPSC. Questions from this topic can be expected in the essay paper or any other general studies paper. Therefore, in order to cover various aspects and dimensions of this topic we bring to you a series of posts dedicated to this specific topic. We would be analysing the topic from multiple angles and at the same time provide data, quotes etc. related to the topic.


1

Although India is already among the top five economies, and will soon be among the top three, the country doesn’t have a single university that is ranked among the top 100 in the world.

Suggestions to improve the education system:

  • It is important for the country to create top-class universities and idea factories by utilising its own strengths.
  • India could make strong strides on the education front through a credible certification framework, continuing education system and combining technology and available manpower.
  • Accreditation bodies should support the entry of new institutions and start-ups while staying focussed on doing proper evaluations on institutions.
  • There is a need to make the certification process more credible
  • More micro-degrees should be encouraged.
  • Importance of continuing education – On continuing education, he highlighted the example of the National University of Singapore, which allows students to come back, again and again and take courses over a 20-year period.

Strengths India can capitalize on:

India has strengths in three vital areas that can help the country build world-class institutions:

  1. Tolerance – India has an environment of tolerance and that is our strength. Because in an atmosphere, that tolerates dissent, one can exchange ideas and have new ideas created…this strength will carry us going forward when we build top universities because scholars will be able to debate without fear of voicing their views.
  2. Diversity – The second strength is diversity. Different States have different educational policies and frameworks, and this naturally leads to competition, which could encourage the process of improvement and adoption of best practices.
  3. Disapora – More than 5 lakh students go abroad to study. There is a tremendous reservoir of talent and we should keep our options open for them.

Based on a speech by Mr. Raghuram Rajan, former RBI Governer

Source: The Hindu


2

The power of detention to states:

A recent amendment in the Right to Education Act gives States the power to detain students who fail an examination in Class 5 or 8.

Source: The Telegraph

There are genuine concerns on learning outcomes produced by India’s schooling system. But these are determined not only by a student’s effort but also by the number and quality of teachers, processes for continuous assessment and, crucially, active engagement of parents and the community in encouraging excellence.

Why this amendment is a concern:

  • Impact on the Right to Education – This could weaken one of the progressive features of the Right to Education Act, which is to guarantee the continued presence of the child in school during the formative learning phase. The proposed change will allow State Boards to declare a student failed and detain her on the basis of an examination, although Section 30(1) of the RTE Act holds out the assurance that no child shall be required to face any Board examination till completion of elementary education. Detaining already disadvantaged children can only break it further, and render the RTE Act a dead letter.
  • Lack of ideal conditions – Extremely low teacher-student ratios, lack of adequate infrastructure etc. are some of the many problems plaguing the school system. The government is duty bound to provide these facilities to the children. Since the government has failed to provide these facilities, the students cannot be punished for the failure of the government as they did not receive the adequate infrastructure or attention.
  • Increased drop-out rates – In 2016 the NITI Aayog found, based on a study in Punjab, that bringing back detention in elementary schooling would increase the dropout rate, impacting the poor and Dalits the most as they depended on government institutions.

Source: The Hindu