Education policy and quality education

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“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

-Thomas A. Edison

Education is an important and basic thing and children in a country should have basic education. Indian government introduced ‘Right to education’ for children between the age of 6–14. Along with the ‘Right to education’ there is a need to have an education policy which is framed through an inclusive, participatory and holistic approach. The National Education Policy was framed in 1986 and modified in 1992. It was brought out to meet the changing dynamics of the population’s requirements with regards to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower by equipping its students with the necessary skills and knowledge and to eliminate more amount of manpower in science and technology, industry. The Union government recently formed another committee, this time headed by space scientist Dr K. Kasturirangan, to come up with the blueprint for a new education policy. The formal communication from the HRD ministry did not set a timeline for the new committee to submit a report. The previous committee was constituted under the chairmanship of T.S.R. Subramanian, former cabinet secretary, by the government in 2015. Due to differences between some members the committee and the then HRD minister Smriti Irani, the recommendations submitted in 2016 were not received well. The Kasturirangan committee, which will supersede the Subramanian committee, has been mandated to make Indian education contemporary, improve its quality, and internationalise it. Yet, the real priority focus of the new education policy must be learning outcomes and the syllabus. It could also provide a roadmap for the entry of foreign universities into India. Through the HRD ministry has not set a timeline for the committee, but one can expect the final draft of the policy by year-end or early next year.

In order for students to benefit from good teachers, our system must recruit, prepare, improve, and retain excellent teachers and distribute these excellent teachers equitably across schools and communities. A key factor affecting the quality of primary education appears to be low levels of teacher motivation. Since the ultimate objective of school improvement planning is to improve the level of student achievement, the person who has the greatest impact on students during the school day—the teacher—plays several critical roles in the school improvement planning process. One needs to look into another factor. Some government schools in rural India are overly packed with students, leading to an imbalance in teacher- student ratio. In such a situation it is impossible for teachers to pay full attention towards each and every student, even if they are willing to help. All these problems need to be tackled at the earliest. There is no denying the pact that both the Centre and the State Governments are devising comprehensive approaches and strategies to address the issue of improving quality of education in schools. Some of the key focus areas include working on issues related to teachers, classroom processes, assessments and evaluations of student’s learning, school infrastructure, school effectiveness and community participation.

 

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