Building an Educated Nation
Why developing quality teaching a must?
Education in India has come a long way since the last decade. When it comes to our literacy rates, we have attained 74.4% of literacy in 2010 as compared to 58.5% in 2000. Such progress has to do with the efforts put in by our government and the teachers collectively.
Government initiatives such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) in 2009, where education has been made free for children for 6–14 years or up to Class 8, has clearly done a world of good.
However, despite all these developments, there are grey areas of concern in our education sector till date. Lack of proper schooling infrastructure, teacher’s training, poor quality of teaching, high dropout rates and negligence is making our country’s dream of getting every child educated an uphill task. Here, we have further discussed these points in detail:
Where there is absenteeism among teachers, it takes a toll on its students
The latest UNESCO report on teaching quality in schools cited accountability on behalf of the teachers as one of the many concerns. The Global Monitoring Report (GMR) released earlier in 2014 cited that absenteeism of teachers varied from 15% in Maharashtra and 17% in Gujarat, which are the two richest states, to 38% in Bihar and 42% in Jharkhand, two of India’s poorest states.
As of the 2011 Census, Bihar ranked at the bottom of the literacy chart with 63% and Jharkhand was not far away at 67%. It has also been observed that states with high teacher absenteeism have high dropout, class repetition and low class promotion rates.
According to a survey by the research firm TNS India in 2008, high class repetition rate was recorded for Bihar (26%), Jharkhand (29.8%), Rajasthan (22.5%) and West Bengal (29.2%) in Class 1.
When Class 5 students cannot read Class 2 texts, there is definitely something wrong
According to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2013 by the non-governmental organisation PRATHAM assessing learning state-wise in India, it presented a gloomy picture:
47.9% of Class 3 to 5 students in Bihar are not able to read Class 1 text, followed by Uttar Pradesh (47.8%), Assam (46.4%), Jharkhand (45.4%) and Madhya Pradesh (38.1%).
32.3% of Class 5 students in Gujarat are not able to subtract, followed by Maharashtra (31.7%). Again, these are the leading economy-wise states in India.
While 52.9% of children of Class 5 could read a Class 2 textbook in 2009, only 47% could do so in 2013.
What is the use of high enrolment if there are high dropout rates?
According to the report, 96% of the children in the age group of 6–14 got enrolled in 2013. In 2013, in an article in The Hindu, ‘Out of school children and dropout a national emergency: UNICEF,’ Professor R. Govinda, Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, said 11.18 million more children had been enrolled in the last three years and while gender disparity in enrolment across social groups had gone down, this did not help in controlling the dropout rate. It had come down marginally to 27% at the primary level and 41% at the elementary level.
13% of the students did not graduate from primary to the upper primary level as the scope for the migrant children and dropouts to re-join school under the ambit of the RTE remained uncertain.
Also Read: Literacy is the key
Are our teachers updated with the changing landscapes of education?
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, between 2011 and 2015, the world would need 5.2 million teachers – including replacement and additional faculty – to achieve universal primary education.
There remains a dearth in teachers not only in India but all over the world. However, has the Indian teaching system adapted to the explosion of new techniques across all knowledge fields to keep students at par with the world’s needs? The outlook of education also has changed from being a service meant for the privileged few – we are a nation like others out there to send every child to school.
There are loopholes in the teacher training mechanism which need to be addressed. Primary school teachers are required to undergo two years of teachers training after finishing Class 12, while secondary school teachers need to take a 10-month programme after an undergraduate degree.
Isn’t that too less a time to learn not only about the content one is about to teach but also about child development and management? Most countries with a good schooling system have teacher training programmes or courses of 4–5 years compared to our 1–2 years.
Imagine a medical or engineering course or any other professional course with a duration of a maximum of 2 years. Teaching is a complex job as compared to the adapted perception that anyone can teach.
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