Indian education system: A shift from public to private sector
Education in India is provided by public schools (controlled and funded by three levels: central, state and local) and private schools. Under article 21A of the Indian Constitution, free and compulsory education is provided as a fundamental right to children between the ages of 6 and 14. The approximate ratio of public schools to private schools in India is 7:5(Wikipedia). India has made progress in increasing the attainment rate of primary education. In 2011, approximately 75% of the population, aged between 7 to 10 years, was literate, this rate of literacy has increased by 9.2% from 2001 to 2011 (Census 2011). India's improved education system is often cited as one of the main contributors to its economic development.

At the primary and secondary level, India has a large private school system complementing the government run schools, with 29% of students receiving private education in the 6 to 14 age group (The Hindu, 21 August 2014). Certain post-secondary technical schools are also private. The private education market in India had revenue of US$450 million in 2008, but is projected to be a US$40 billion market (Wikipedia). While quantitatively India is inching closer to universal education, the quality of its education has been questioned particularly in its government run school system and due to this private schools are getting more importance. The enrollment in govt. schools is rapidly decreasing and on the other hand the enrollment in private schools is flourishing day by day. This has become a matter of concern for civil society, social organizations and the administration as well. There are a number of reasons that are responsible for the decreasing enrollment in Govt. schools. Some of the main reasons are as follows:

(1) Absence of Kindergarten in Govt. schools: Absence of KGs in govt. schools discourage many parents to send their wards to Govt. schools because they want their children to get an admission at early age, & kindergarten is also important for the development of the child.

(2) Lack of co-curricular activities: While fulfilling the requirements of the curriculum, co-curricular activities are also important for the all-round development of a child. Pvt. Schools are very cautious about this fact so they remain engaged throughout the year in organizing- summer camps, trekking, mountaineering, seminars, workshops, conferences, competitions, counseling, annual day, sports matches, educational tours etc. These activities give space and opportunity to a child to expose his/her talent and inner instincts so that he/she can follow his/her passion in future. Unfortunately these things are absent in most of the Govt. schools and they are traditionally stuck on one or two co-curricular activities viz. excursion, sports matches and in very exceptional cases they take part in competitions, hardly taking care of the child’s passion and interests.

(3) Absenteeism among teachers: The World Bank tool up a research project in 2004 on teachers’ absenteeism in 6 countries, including India & conducted a survey in 3700 schools in 20 states and found absence of around 25% of teachers everyday in govt. schools. Not only teachers themselves are responsible for their absenteeism but govt. has also a role to play in it like deployment of teachers in non-teaching duty e.g. elections, census, mid-day meal evaluation. While as we find minimal absence of teachers in Pvt. Schools and the staff there is also timely bound.

(4) Lack of quality education: The above mentioned problem also becomes a root cause for the lack of quality education in govt. schools in a way that absence of teachers leads to the vacant class & in some cases where a substitute teacher is being sent to a class who is generally least specialized in that very subject. Moreover, we are well aware of the fact that the learning outcome of Govt. schools is very poor as compared to the Pvt. Schools.

(5) Lack of proper infrastructure: As we observe in Pvt. Schools, there is a specific facility for a specific task, for example, well maintained classrooms, separate computer labs, science laboratory, library, well maintained playground, recreational hall, well maintained assembly stage, transport facility, caretaker, auditorium & most importantly very hygienic washrooms separately for both genders. While as in govt. schools, we hardly find such facilities, for instance there is usually no caretaker for children and we often find one or two washrooms specific for staff members only and students are not allowed to use them.

(6) Lack of dynamism: We live in the era of 21st century where the world is changing rapidly & ICT is getting more and more importance. Today educational system has taken a paradigm shift from the tradition of books to audio-visual material (online & offline). New methods of teaching are being now practiced like non-violent & friendly methods of teaching, learning by doing. Updated and appropriate knowledge is being imparted, internet & social networking sites are helpful to connect (24x7) the students with each other and with teachers as well, traditional race for getting higher marks have lost its validity, environment of the class has now became student friendly wherein students don’t need to act like robots who need to follow the orders of the teacher, they can relax themselves within the class as well. These features are generally found in private schools and very few Govt. schools have opted some of these features and that too are not working effectively.

(7) Problems with the implementation of policies and schemes: Indeed there are lots of policies and schemes for the development of educational sector but unfortunately, these policies and schemes are not being implemented in true letter and spirit as has been mentioned in a well known proverb “Hindustan Mein Nitiyon Ki Kami Nahi, Niyat Ki Kami Hai.”The failure of policy implementation happens because at times policy documents are not clearly worded, use of technical legal language in a policy document, non-availability of trained/competent and efficient staff, no one is held accountable for the failure of the of the policy and scheme, etc.

(8) Lack of surveillance: Undoubtedly education sector is also under surveillance from top to bottom despite that due to many reasons like unwillingness to work, leniency and corruption, this surveillance remains ineffective and leads to malfunctioning of the Govt. schools. These factors hardly effect the surveillance in Pvt. Schools.

(9) Involvement of parents: Private schools always emphasize on the involvement of parents in children’s education process. The concept of a 3 way partnership is an important part of that way of most of the Pvt. Schools curriculum. Private schools arrange parent meetings on regular basis & remain in touch with the parents where they continuously evaluate and discuss the performance and conduct of the child. Such involvement of parents is missing in govt. schools. Additionally Pvt. Schools are known for the discipline and maintenance of uniform as compared to govt. schools.

(10) Schooling for the children of govt. teachers: We hardly see any child of a Govt. teacher studying in a Govt. school. These teachers prefer private schools for their children because they are well aware about the problems in Govt. schools. When Govt. teachers themselves refrain from sending their children to Govt. schools how can we expect that other parents would send their children to Govt. schools.

Recommendations

Kindergarten is a Germany originated concept and is practiced throughout the world. It has yielded positive results so far and is beneficial for the promotion of language cognitive skills, social and emotional development and it also nurtures child's curiosity. Therefore it should be introduced in government schools as well throughout the country so that parents will be motivated to send their children to the government schools. Co-curricular activities must be practiced by Government Schools for all round development of a child so the children can recognize their abilities and Instincts and in the future they can follow their passion.

Biometric attendance should be used strictly; about 90% attendance of teachers should be made compulsory and the avoidance of engagement of teachers in election, census and midday meal evaluation etc. Instead a surprised body should be employed for such tasks. Although, government teachers are well qualified than private school teachers and have qualified competitive exams but still the quality of education is poor in government schools. This problem will be solved by imparting such ethics wherein they will treat the students as their own children and will teach them honestly. Moreover, schools with least pass out result should be made accountable.

Education is one of the most important institutions of our Society and government should pay serious attention towards it and should invest a bit more in developing the infrastructure of the government schools so that the gap between government schools and private schools would be lessened. Teachers should be provided trainings by which they could provide up to date education, use non-violent means of teachings, promote ICT, and adopt audio-visual material. In order to make the studies interesting, students should be taught in trending patterns like by showing movies, involving the in learning by doing activities. Besides these, computer education should be made compulsory in order to overcome the differences between Govt. and Pvt. Schooling. As earlier said there a lot of schemes and policies for the development of Educational sector. All the policies would be of no use unless they are implemented. A policy remains a dream unless it is culminated into reality. Hence, all the schemes and policies should be implemented in letter and spirit.

Policy makers should also use simplified language, should explain every aspect of the policy or scheme clearly while formulating the policy or scheme. Policy or scheme implementers should be given proper trained before implementing a policy or scheme and finally the school administration should be held accountable for the proper implementation of the policy or scheme. Unless leniency, unwillingness and corruption are not being checked, it would be like, running water into a leaking tank. Government should constitute a separate body for surveillance of government schools. Government schools should also involve parents in the educational process of the child. They should organize such programs in which they could train the parents and make them understand about the benefits of parental involvement in the process of child's education.

The way forward

Investing in education yields significant development benefits. Education reduces poverty, boosts economic growth and increases income. In sum, education is one of the most important investments a country can make on its people and future. The results should not be judged on the basis of schemes lunched and money spent, rather it should be based upon human development achieved. Education is a subject in concurrent list. It has been noticed that states do not come forward and take responsibility in this field which they should do as soon as possible. India provides the best opportunity in the world for generating returns from the Investment in education. Quality human resource will provide quality output which is ensured by education. The fourth sustainable development goal will be achieved if India performs well in education sector. Moreover the aim enshrined in the preamble and fundamental rights will also be shown the light of the day. Indeed the destiny of a nation is shaped in the classroom through education.

Source : http://risingkashmir.com/news/indian-education-system-a-shift-from-public-to-private-sector-356160.html

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