Over the past few years, due to the various programs and drives conducted by the Government of India to increase enrolment in remote areas, India has made tremendous progress in schooling and enrollment rates of primary education across the length and breadth of the country. However, the dropout rates and low levels of quality learning still remain considerable challenges for the state and the central government. The enrollment reaching 96% since 2009, and girls making up 56% of new students, it is quite astonishing that many of the problems related to school access have already been addressed. Immense improvements have been made to the infrastructure of public schools, thereby resulting in 1.4 million schools operating in India, with 7.7 million teachers ready to give guidance to the budding engineers, doctors, and future sports personalities of our country.
Making children get enrolled in schools isn’t the end of the story, but perhaps the beginning. Despite these efforts put in by the various governments of our country, keeping children in school through graduation is still an important issue the government has to address. In addition, the quality of learning is a major issue and according to reports children aren’t achieving class-appropriate learning levels. To address the most important issue of all, the quality of education offered, the main thing which has to be addressed and rectified is to increase teacher accountability. Better assessments at each grade level and more efficient monitoring and support systems. Overall the public school system of our country needs better people managing the whole system.
One more of the serious problems haunting the education system of our country is gender issues, where recent cases of violence against girls are on the rise. This issue can be addressed and altered by changing gender mindsets to be imperative and educating the crowd about gender studies.
Some of the issues which need to be understood and worked on, to improve the overall situation of the primary education in India are:
- Optimization of Technology: Technology has a lot of potential in our country to improve the overall education, but how it can be cost-effectively implemented still remains a question. So far philanthropists and incubators are the ones who have helped to identify and scale best practices. A more officially driven effort is required to evaluate digital content and even more important to develop cost-effective methods of making these available to teachers and students in areas where resources are scarce.
- Educating the teachers: The lack of quality learning in India’s schools calls for changes to be made to the teacher education. Collaborating public schools with private schools could help build capacity and upgrade teacher education both in terms of curriculum and pedagogy, which is much needed in today’s time.
- Building good assessment systems: Good assessments are useful at the classroom level for teachers to gauge their students’ understanding and also to inform policy. The need for regular and useful assessments in India is something that Indian departments of education are focusing on at the central and state level.
- Gender Studies Education: The state of women in India has recently drawn a lot of attention and promoting gender equality through education has an important role to play. Boys and girls should be taught to think about gender equality from an early age and the curriculum should include gender studies with appropriate teacher training.