How can the primary education system be reformed in India?- Adwaita Joshi

By- Adwaita Joshi
Gurukul system of the vedic times marks the beginning of teacher-student learning institutes in India. Later, in 1835 under English Education Act an education system was developed by Thomas Macaulay for India. The aim of this system was to introduce English language and create cheap labor in service sector for the East India Company. Currently existing elementary education system finds its roots in the same system. Elementary education in India is a cycle of 8 years which includes primary education from Class (Ⅰ-Ⅴ) and upper primary education, Class (Ⅵ-Ⅷ). There exist 3 types of primary educational institutes: the government, aided, and private.
In the Indian Constitution under Article 21-A, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act has been described. To achieve the objective of the RTE Act, the Government of India has adopted various plans including:
1. 2, 04, 686 primary schools have been sanctioned over the years, of which 347 were sanctioned in the 2014-15. Also 1,59,427 upper primary schools have been sanctioned in a radius of 3 km, including 248 sanctioned in 2014-15.
2. In sparsely populated, hilly and densely forested areas with difficult geographical terrains and in densely populated urban areas, land for establishing schools residential facilities are provide. SSA has provided 797 residential institutions with a capacity of around 88,400 children.
3. Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya : KGBVs provide for a minimum reservation of 75% seats for girls from SC/ST/OBC and minorities communities and 25% to girls from families that live below the poverty line. As of now till 30th September 2014-15, 3609 KGBVs have been sanctioned in the country enrolling 352389 girls therein. The scheme is being implemented in 28 States/UTs
4. The RTE Act clearly outlines the 50% stake of women’s in constitutions of SMC (School Management Committees)
5. “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”
6. Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat
7. The National Curriculum Framework,2005 prepared by NCERT calls for a education system is more child-friendly and inclusive, and teaching learning processes that are more constructivist in nature.
The above mentioned are just few initiatives taken by the Government of India to increase the enrollment for primary education, reach of the educational institutes and the quality of education being delivered. Even after the implementation of the above plan there are some hurdles faced by the Indian primary education. The lack of availability teachers, students opting out after primary education, geographically unreachable areas to provide education, infrastructure, facilities and amenities etc are some of the problems to be tackled. The quality of education became a major concern after the report of PISA published in year 2012, ranked Indian primary education level as 2nd last amongst the 73 countries. A 2 hour test for 54,000 students from 73 odd countries was conducted by PISA in 2012. 15 year old students from Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh were nominated from India’s end. Also, the ever rising population and the gender based discrimination are adding to the problems for the Government. Considering the issues prevalent in the education sector it is evident that the sector needs to be reformed.
The teacher’s qualification course Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) should be made more intensive. Various parameters like communication skills, explaining the concept, relating the concepts with current affairs, should be the backbone of new designed course. This would ensure good quality teachers and hence, improve quality of education being delivered.
In lines with ‘Teach India’ scheme launched by Hon. Prime Minister of India, the graduate courses under universities should include an internship of 2 months as a part of the curriculum to encourage students to help the initiative. This will encourage the students to take up teaching as a profession and also help in making them aware of social issues and thereby making them more empathetic. This can solve the problem of availability of teachers.
A new emerging concept of Gamification is being adopted worldwide in the education sector. Gamification is basically application of game elements like points, badges, leaderboards etc in a non-game situation to make it more interesting. This type of learning ensures healthy competition, motivated students, interactive learning and constructive outputs.
The curriculum of the education should include subjects like Design Thinking which is seen to be a hot talent required by industries in the future. This subject will increase innovative approach of students and thus, primary education itself can be the building block of raising future entrepreneurs. This will imbibe the spirit of ‘Make in India’ from the earliest possible level of education.
Subjects like value education, electives under skill development, personality development, environmental science etc should be introduced from the basic level. These subjects should be focused upon along with languages, math and science to ensure overall development of the students. The curriculum should include projects on latest development in the technological sector. A practical approach to existing subjects should be added in the curriculum. This will help clearing and retaining a concept. The skill development electives should include skills as per required in the industry.
School examination audit committee should be formed by the Government. This committee should be responsible for updating the information about existing situation of the students, teachers and infrastructure provided by every school in the country. This audit should be conducted every 2 years. The schools located in remote areas, villages especially should be examined for proper facilities like separate toilets, transportation etc.
As a part of CSR activities a share of help should be made compulsory for primary education section. This will ensure additional funds for improving the infrastructure of the schools.
An inspiring quote by Kamand Kajouri, “Do not give them a candle to light the way, teach them how to make fire instead. This is the meaning of enlightenment!!!”

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