EDUCATION SERIES – PART II

This article is the second part of the ‘Education’ series of articles. Read Part I here.

‘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.

Wherever required, we will link the article with previous parts of the series. This will not only help a better understanding of the topic but also would help in revision.


1

Data:

As per the All India Survey on Higher Education report 2017-18:

  • The total number of teachers in higher educational institutions in India has come down by about 2.34-lakh in the last three years.
  • The total number of teachers in higher educational institutions in India — inclusive of all posts from professor to temporary teacher — stood at 12.84 lakh in 2017-18. The figure for 2016-17 was 13.65 lakh and that for 2015-16 was 15.18 lakh, signalling a fall of about 2.34 lakh within three years. Between 2011-12 and 2015-16, the number had been rising from 12.47 lakh to 15.18 lakh.

The reason could be that professors who are retiring are not being replaced, and fresh vacancies at all levels are not being filled up.

Source: The Hindu


2

The Centre has decided to establish a Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) in the place of the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The National Knowledge Commission Report (2006) and the Yashpal Committee on Higher Education (2009) had made a solid case for bringing in a new regulator.

Problems associated with HECI are over-centralisation and enhanced political interference.

The move to entrust all grant-giving powers to the Ministry can lead to politicisation of grant allocation and more interference by the bureaucracy.

Read in detail about HECI: POINT IAS

Detention Policy:

Comprehensively covered at: POINT IAS

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.  The amendment gives States the option of holding regular examinations either at the end of Class V or Class VIII, or both. Students who fail this exam would be given a chance to re-appear after two months from the date of declaration of results. In case they still cannot pass, the States will have the option of detaining them.

The problem of lack of continuous assessment – The no-detention policy was to be implemented together with continuous assessment, which would help identify learning deficiencies and correct them. However, the education system has failed to provide continuous assessment and so the government is falling back on examinations and detention, which can lead to students becoming discouraged and higher dropout rates.

To improve learning outcomes in children, there are other specific provisions in the RTE that need attention. Besides maintaining a good pupil-teacher ratio (PTR), proper infrastructure like all-weather buildings, barrier-free access in schools, separate toilets for boys and girls are pertinent measures to improve qualitative standards enshrined in the RTE. Government data show that out of 10,72,742 government schools at the elementary level, only 7.5 lakh have ramps, 6 lakh have playgrounds, and 9 lakh have libraries.

The issue of funds

Declining funds is another reason why the RTE has not been implemented in letter and spirit. For example, an Accountability Initiative Report shows that allocations for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the main vehicle to drive RTE implementation, have remained much below the resource estimates made by the MHRD. Quality-related interventions accounted for only 9% of the total approved budgets in FY 2016-17.

States like Kerala that wish to continue with the no-detention policy spent nearly all their allocated budget on quality in 2016-17. It is evident that no-detention can work only if there is improved quality, which the current amendment to RTE does not ensure.

Source: The Hindu