Education Reform in India

Education Reform in India – The Power of Knowledge and Information

India has created one of the largest education systems in existence today. However, despite the extraordinary developments in the last decades, further reforms are necessary. The Indian government, recognizing the true importance of education in the 21st century, has made a firm commitment to creating a knowledge-based society through legislation.

Globalization brings numerous opportunities for India, which the South-Asian country could turn to its advantage due to its demographic and economic potential. More than half of India’s population is of working age, and according to forecasts, by 2020 one quarter of the world’s labor force will be made up by Indians. Job creation is of central importance to the government, for its success can become the engine of economic development at later stages. In the Age of Information society, however, there is only demand for a well-educated, professional workforce, therefore education is of paramount importance. The education system of the subcontinent’s largest country attempts to adjust to the challenges, but there is no doubt about the need for reform. In the past years, India’s governments have consciously striven to correct the errors of the old system, to adopt new developments, and to build a knowledge-based society that privileges creativity and innovation. The main reform comes in engineering sector in india. Now a days there are a large no. of students opting engineering as a career and take admission in top engineering colleges in Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai etc.

The winners and losers of public education

Before the age of colonization there existed no central educational system in India. If someone wanted to study, then he voluntarily joined a master, who initiated his disciples primarily into the secrets of Sanskrit, mathematics and metaphysics. The British introduced modern school system into the country in the 1830s, as a result of which the close relationship between master and disciple ceased to exist, and the curriculum featured primarily natural sciences.

In the course of the 1920s, the British created several central institutions to oversee education in the various states, the relevance of which increased after India gained independence.

According to Article 45 of the Constitution of the Republic of India, education is compulsory for children aged 6-14, but the government encountered difficulties in attempting to enforce the article in certain areas even at the end of the 20th century. At the outset, overseeing education was considered each state’s home affair. Thus, India’s government had little influence over questions concerning education. This situation only changed in 1976, when, after an amendment to the Constitution, education came under the national government’s purview.In the 1980s many legislative acts were passed to enforce compulsory education regulations and to develop elementary education. In this spirit the program “National Policy concerning Education” was passed, a modified version of which is still treated as a priority project by the Modi-government. Women’s participation in education was minimal at the beginning, but by 2001, with government support, more than 50% of all women could read and write, which can be seen as a formidable step forward in comparison to 15% in the 1960s.

Biannual high school examinations

In India’s current education system both government and private sectors are represented, where maintenance of state institutions falls under the purview of the central government, single state governments, and local communities, in addition to numerous and varying kinds of private schools.

Education is pursued on three levels: elementary, middle, and higher. The lower section of elementary education comprises five years, then follow three years of upper elementary, and four years of middle school (divided into two sections each lasting two years), then at universities and colleges there is three years of Bachelor’s, two years of Master’s, and in certain cases three years of Ph.D. training.

The most important government body that exercises oversight over public education is the Council for Education, Research, and Technical Training. Among others, it oversees the implementation of education policy in the country; furthermore, it determines teaching materials and the curriculum, while it also provides financial support to institutions. India boasts serious accomplishments in elementary education development.

As a result, by 2011 the literacy rate among children aged 7-10 reached 75%. This had a positive effect on economic development as well. 80% of elementary schools are state-financed. Accordingly, in 1994 a new program was started to unify elementary education, which also contributed to the development of elementary education. The newest program that aims to provide unified education for all is Sarva Shiksa Abhidjan, which is currently one of the greatest educational initiatives in the world.

A characteristic feature of Indian high school education is that students must pass examinations after finishing each two-year section. In order to participate in an exam, candidates must have reached a certain age. In addition to high schools – with government incentive – a significant portion of middle institutions today also offer technical training to pupils, in order to foster their eventual later placement on the labor force market.

Disadvantaged children enjoy special privileges in this area. The Kendrija Vidalaja program was initially created for the children of public servants, later however it became a networks of state schools engaging in unified education activity. Today high school education in India places strong emphasis on scientific and technical knowledge, but also on cultivating traditional arts. As a result, yoga is an integral part of the curriculum. Despite the fact that in-state institutions’ teaching is free of charge, a tendency can be observed that even the poorest strive to get their children into private institutions, primarily due to better infrastructural circumstances and better quality of education. Currently about 30% of all youth study in private institutions. Some of these institutions are indeed expensive and exclusive boarding schools, whereas others follow a special method (for instance Montessori schools), but there are also true international educational centers amongst them.

Sandeep Malik

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