Education is a continuous and seamless process. There are no boundaries, time limits for any kind of education. Age limits are there for competitive exams, but then education doesn’t end there. Neither does it end with a person’s graduation, or Masters, or a PhD, nor does it begin in the first standard, as it is widely perceived. This was even pointed out by the late Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam. He said “India needs to change its education framework completely.”
In India, education is looked at as a short term goal. There always is the pressure of finishing one’s education by the age of 25-26 and then “settle down”. It is assumed by most that a person won’t study further post marriage, since there are other responsibilities to be catered to. Education is only looked at as a means to get a high paying job. It is irrespective of a person gaining knowledge from it. This can be seen with the sudden rise of MBA colleges around us. People don’t mind compromising on the quality, for that label of ‘MBA’. There are many who remain jobless, or find lower jobs, despite their “higher education”. Everything seems to be about getting the answers right in the exam, more than gaining knowledge and enjoying the whole process of learning.
India’s expenditure on education
One’s education also begins from the teacher’s side. It has been evident time and again that the quality of teachers deployed in the rural areas is fairly abysmal. With the kind of budgets allotted for primary education, it is not not surprising at all. Any country, no matter how prosperous, can’t reach there without universal education. Japan, after the War aimed at achieving universal literacy and it did so within 30 years. Of course, challenges vary with every country. India’s expenditure on education as a percentage of its GDP was 4.75% in 2013-14. Since then, it has reduced considerably to 3.65. China spends almost 2% of its GDP, which is almost 5 times that of India’s. So, that 2% is considerably more than what India is spending on its education.
But this is was only the budget part of it; the other part being quality of teachers selected. Teacher evaluations should be based strictly on professional standards. It is often seen that those who haven’t got much to do take to teaching, especially in the rural areas. Teaching is one of the noblest jobs and is yet taking so lightly and is grossly underpaid in India. In order to give a good feedback and to make the right selections, the evaluators also need to be knowledgeable. A sound feedback to the rejected ones will also help in improving themselves. Academicians should be made a part of the panels which evaluate and select teachers across India. This can certainly help in getting a better perspective regarding the entire teaching process.
In India, another important thing which is omnipresent is the failure of the student and the success of the teachers. Which, in my opinion, is a complete misrepresentation of our education system. There are examples of schools failing students clearing their class IX exams just so the school can have a clean sheet in its class X results. Such students who are failed deliberately instead of getting more attention lose confidence and further deteriorate. Such instances should be identified and made an example of. A deeper look into such students will certainly help in solving the problem, rather than just ignoring it.
Development strategies can be made by the teachers and committees alike. The information gathered from the evaluation should be checked for gaps and weaknesses. This gap filling can definitely churn out the best from the teachers. Apart from this, another thing about education is that it has to be relevant. If a person decides to learn some skills, it should be because of that person’s interest in that field and not because of lack of options, societal pressures etc. The very fact that a person with a not-so-good academic can never get into a premier institute like IIM despite having cracked CAT itself is quite a pity. For students, this nothing short of demotivation. They are denied the chance to get quality education despite having worked hard for it, and that too only because of their past academic record.
Evaluating teachers remains to be the most important thing which needs to be done urgently, and also simply remains to be implemented. Even school teachers should be absorbed from NET and SET. It’s always the teacher that makes the difference, never the classroom!
Author: Akshay Palande
Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.