“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
The power of a nation does not only depend on its resources and the utilization of these resources but also the quality of manpower, skilled or unskilled.
So, how do we ensure the quality of manpower in a country?
Yes, education is the single most important factor that can determine the future of a nation. Education can lift people out of poverty and into rewarding careers.
There are numerous ways how education plays an important role in nation-building.
1. Education Helps to Engage Citizens
One of how education plays an important role in nation-building is that educated youth will indulge in more pro-nation-building activities rather than activities that are detrimental to the nation.
2. Bridges the Economic Gap
With education, citizens will be able to find jobs and build careers thereby bridging the gap between the rich and the poor
Education is required for the basic sustenance of every individual. Whether it’s vocational education or professional education, the purpose is to build a sustainable nation.
Education helps youth understand the diverse cultures and traditions that exist all over the world. Through education, individuals will learn to live and let live.
4. Technological Advancements
It is pertinent to note that without education, technological advancements would not be possible. Education is that one path that leads us to a more advanced nation.
Now that we know the importance of education in nation-building, let us now look at it from the perspective of a particular nation: India.
Education in India
Education in India is primarily divided into three categories – foundational education, higher education, and adult education. The three categories are run by the central, state, and private sectors.
Although Indian education has come a long way from the time of independence, there are still a few challenges in the Indian education system.
Problems of Indian Education System
Let’s look at some of the problems of the Indian education system, the Government initiatives to tackle these problems, and other possible solutions that can be adopted.
1. Adult Illiteracy
One of the major educational problems in India is adult illiteracy. The uneducated adult population does not know the importance of education and hence does not think it necessary to educate the younger generation.
Educating the adult population is a major challenge in the Indian education system. Adults or parents are unwilling to send children to school, thinking it is a waste of time and money.
Instead, parents allow children to engage in manual labour that fetches their meager daily wages.
2. Lack of Funds
Many educational institutions in India are unable to sustain themselves because of the lack of funds. This is one of the Indian education system’s problems prevalent today.
The lack of funds results in poor infrastructure and facilities which results in underachievement of desired results.
3. Government Apathy
In many states, Government apathy is one of the main reasons why the Indian education system is failing. Schools and educational institutions cry for help, fall on deaf ears.
The Government fails to realize the challenges of the educational sector, resulting in a failed education system in the country.
4. Expensive Higher Education
Unaffordable higher education in India is one of the major challenges of the Indian education system. The most recent example is the influx of Indian medical students to Ukraine.
Most of the Indian medical students are studying in Ukraine because of the unaffordable medical courses in India.
Even though medical education in India is of a higher standard than that of Ukraine, India sees an exodus of medical students every year.
According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs in 2018, there are an estimated 5.86 lakh students studying abroad.
5. Lack of Seats
The number of seats available in professional colleges and schools is low when compared to the number of aspiring students.
Therefore there is a lack of seats in India. One of the challenges of the Indian Education System is to create more seats so that all students are absorbed within the country.
According to Dr. Shivkumar Sarin, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India says that the lack of medical seats in India is one of the major reasons for the exodus of students from the country.
Quoting Dr. Sarin, “Every seat in a medical college in India has 16 or more aspirants vying for it. Passing the tough entrance exam is not enough, you will have to be good enough to get into a good college.”
6. The Dearth of Qualified Faculty
Another problem of the Indian education system is the lack of trained and qualified teaching faculty. Many teachers in the Indian education system are underqualified or not qualified at all.
7. Lack of Native Language Publications
India is a vast country with diverse languages. There are 22 languages in the country with more than 19000 dialects spoken in the country.
Although the urban areas saw a great shift to the English language, many rural areas still communicate in native languages.
The lack of native language publications deters students from the rural sector. They are unable to comprehend English and therefore miss out on learning. This is a major problem of the Indian education system.
8. Theory Based Education
Another reason why the Indian education system is failing is that the system is based more on theory rather than on practical training.
In more adaptive countries, education has become more practical. These countries adopt hands-on learning methods to teach the youth. Whereas, in India, the focus is more on bookish types of learning.
9. Marks Oriented
The Indian education system leans more towards the performance in examinations rather than the knowledge gained.
A lot of stress is laid on the marks obtained from final and board examinations. This is one of the major problems of the Indian education system.
This marks-oriented system of education deters students in India. They are not recognized for the knowledge they have gained but are only judged according to the marks they obtain.
10. Bulk Syllabus
The Indian education system does not classify students as slow learners or prodigies. The syllabus is the same for everyone.
In such cases, slow learners may not be able to cope with the syllabus and prodigies may be underutilized. This is one of the biggest problems of the Indian education system.
11. Reservation System
In 1954, the Ministry of Education suggested that 20% of places should be reserved for the SCs and STs in educational institutions with a provision to relax minimum qualifying marks for admission by 5 percent wherever required.
Although this may be beneficial to the minority groups it can also prove detrimental to deserving candidates not belonging to any minority group.
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How to Improve the Education System in India?
Now that we have seen the problems of the education system in India, we must study the measures taken to counter the challenges faced by the education system in India.
Also, the possibility of devising new methods to overcome shortcomings in the education system.
1. Government Initiatives
The Government has come up with several schemes to overcome the challenges of the Indian education system.
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: Launched in 2015, the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojna by the Government of India. It was an initiative to protect the survival of the girl child and promote education.
- Poshan Shakti Nirman: Another Government of India undertaking, the Poshan Shakti Nirman is to provide hot and nutritious mid-day meals to Government institutions and Government schools. The program was initiated to provide food for students and will also encourage students to attend schools.
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan: The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was started to achieve Universalization of Elementary Education.
Apart from these plans, the Government of India allocates a budget for the promotion of education in the five-year plans. Several Government scholarships are also offered to deserving students.
2. Innovative Teaching Methods
Another method how to improve the education system in India is to devise innovative teaching methods that will bring education to the masses.
Several NGOs like Teach for India have made a difference when it comes to education in the rural sector. The aim of such organizations is to eliminate the educational equality that exists in the country.
3. Right to Education
One of the Indian education system’s problems and its solution is the unaffordable fees of schools. To overcome this problem, Parliament enacted the Right To Education Act in 2009.
The provisions of the act were:
- Compulsory and free education for all
- A mandate for all schools
- Quantity and quality of teachers
- Zero tolerance against discrimination and harassment
- Ensuring all-round development of children
- Improving learning outcomes to minimize detention
- Creating inclusive spaces for all (Students from economically backward sections can seek admission in private schools, the fees will be borne by the Government)
It can be rightly said that though education in India lacks substance, the Government and the private sector are making significant changes in this regard.
It will not be long before India is on par with the rest of the world when it comes to educational quality, infrastructure, and facilities.
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