The National Education Policy 2016 envisages creation of a credible education system capable of ensuring
- Inclusive quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all
- Producing students/graduates equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitude and values that are required to lead a productive life
- Participate in the country’s development process
- Respond to the ever changing requirements of a globalizing, knowledge based society
- Develop responsible citizens who respect the Indian tradition of acceptance of diversity of India’s heritage, culture and history as well as promote social cohesion and religious amity
- The vision recognizes the central role of education in India’s economic, social, political and cultural development
Key Challenges in India’s education system
I. Access and Participation
- Research highlights the importance of early childhood education. Participation in pre-school education remains low in the country
- Expanding access to early childhood education and provide equal opportunity to all children to prepare them for formal education is a priority task
- While nationally the % of out of school children aged 6-13 years has declined since 2000, still the absolute number remains high
- Currently there is a situation of relatively lower enrolment rates in upper primary and secondary education. Ensuring mobility of students from elementary to primary to secondary to tertiary education is a key challenge. Currently Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education is 23.6%. The target is to increase it to 25.2% in 2017-18 and to 30% in 2020-21
- Relatively slower progress in reducing the number of illiterates is also a huge challenge. India currently has the highest number of non literates in the world
II. Quality Issues
1) Poor quality of education leading to unsatisfactory learning outcomes is a huge challenge. At the pre school level the following challenges are there
- Inappropriate curriculum
- Lack of trained educators
- Ineffective pedagogy
Resultantly students coming out of pre schools do not have school readiness in terms of cognitive and language domains
2) Biggest challenge remains the unsatisfactory level of student learning. ASER reports, PISA reports all point towards the same. Finding of National Achievement Surveys covering Grades 3, 5, 8 and 10 suggest that learning levels of a significant proportion of students do not measure up to expected learning levels which has a cascading effect on the next stage
3) Factors affecting unsatisfactory quality of school education are
- Large proportion of schools not compliant with prescribed norms and standards
- Students and teachers absenteeism
- Gaps in teacher motivation and training which affects teacher quality and performance
- Slow progress with regards to usage of ICT
- Sub optimal personnel management
- Inadequate attention to monitoring and supervision of performance
Perceived failure of government schools has triggered entry of a large number of private schools, many of whom also fall prey to the same vices
4) Quality at higher education level – Issues are
- Very few universities and colleges accredited by NAAC are in A grade
- Mushrooming of private players of indifferent quality
- Shortage of well qualified faculty
- Vacancy in faculty positions
- Poor infrastructure in both private as well as public institutions
- Slow renewal of curriculum to align it more closely with skills demanded in a diversified economy
- Inadequate funding for research and development
- Whereas substantial improvement is seen in enhancing enrolment rate in pre-school, still, children from disadvantaged population still lack access to pre school education
- Percentage of Out of school children (OOSC) has declined since 2000, but the absolute number is still high. Moreover, OOSC still very high among SC, ST and Muslims
- Children from certain sections like children with disabilities, children in remote location, children belonging to nomadic families, migrant children and other vulnerable disadvantaged group are yet to take full benefit of educational opportunities
- National Learning Achievement Surveys highlight the following
- Urban students do better than rural
- Students of private schools do better than those in government schools
- General and OBC students do better than SC and ST students
5. Relatively higher gender gap in youth (8.2 % points) and adult (19.5 percentage points) literacy rates
IV Skills and employability
- India is a young nation with 54% of population below 25 years of age. Thus skilling is necessary to take care of livelihood needs
- However institutional arrangements to support technical and vocational educational programme quite inadequate
V Curriculum and Assessment
- Growing disconnect between existing school and higher education curricula
- Curriculum thrust needed for promoting acquisition of relevant skills by students is missing
- Assessment criteria in schools focus primarily on rote learning and ability of students to reproduce content knowledge
VI ICT potential not fully tapped by educational institutes in the country
VII Teacher development and management
- Not equipping teachers with competencies required to cope up with new profile and roles expected of teachers
- Mismatch between institutional capacity and required teacher supply resulting in shortage of teachers. Problem more acute in Eastern part of the country
- Research, innovation and experimentation in teacher education is very limited
VIII Governance and Management
- It has assumed complexity especially at tertiary level due to
- Advent of multiplicity of providers
- Multiplicity of programmes
- Multiplicity in modes of financing
IX Research and Development – Following are the reasons for India’s poor performance in R&D
- Limited initiative for upgrading skills of existing faculty
- Lack of synergies between training and research to promote excellence in both
- Lack of engagement with institutes around the globe to improve quality of research
- Lack of creation and facilitation of alliances for research purpose
- Lack of linkage between research institutions and industry to accelerate process of knowledge development
X Budgetary Constraints
- Target of 6% of GDP envisaged in National Education Policy 1986 yet to be met
1) Pre-school Education:
- Pre-school education for children in the age group of 4 to 5 years will be implemented.
- To strengthen the pre-school education in Anganwadis, steps will be taken in consultation with states to frame curricula and develop learning materials.
- State Governments will prepare cadres of pre-primary teachers.
- All primary schools will cover pre-primary education.
- Appropriate regulatory and monitoring rules and mechanisms will be designed for private pre-schools.
2) Curriculum Renewal and Examination Reforms
- Curricular reforms will be carried out to meet the emerging aspirations and align to national goals of social cohesion, religious amity and national integration.
- NCERT will undergo a re-orientation to address issues of deteriorating quality of school education and periodic renewal of curricula and pedagogy to move from rote learning to facilitate understanding and encourage a spirit of enquiry.
- Procedural reforms will be undertaken, such as, doing away with migration certificate, school leaving certificate, etc. in order to encourage mobility of students from one institution to another.
3) Learning outcomes in School Education
- Norms for learning outcomes will be developed and applied uniformly to both private and government schools.
- Within the parameters prescribed by the RTE Act, States will have the flexibility to design and plan for the infrastructure keeping in view the local conditions.
- The present provisions of no-detention policy will be amended, as it has seriously affected the academic performance of students. The no detention policy will be limited up to class V and the system of detention will be restored at the upper primary stage.
- Effective steps will be taken to improve teaching standards in schools
4) School Education
- Each State will undertake a detailed exercise of school mapping to identify schools with low enrolment and inadequate infrastructure.
- Minimum standards for provision of facilities and student outcomes across all levels in school education will be laid down.
- Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) will be expanded and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) will be expanded and upgraded
5) Protection of Rights of the Child & Adolescent Education
- Framework and guidelines for ensuring school safety and security of children will be developed.
- Every Principal and teacher will be made aware of the provisions of the relevant Acts, Rules, Regulations, etc.
- The Adolescent Education Programme and National Population Education Programme will be integrated into the curriculum of schools in a phased manner.
- Adolescent Education will be included in pre- and in-service training programmes of secondary school teachers.
- Self-learning online programmes on child rights will be developed for the benefit of students, teachers and parents.
- Schools will engage trained counsellors to confidentially advise parents and teachers on adolescence problems faced by growing boys and girls.
6) Inclusive Education and Student Support
- Curriculum will cover the issues of social justice and harmony and legal measures in order to avoid social discrimination.
- With the objective of encouraging merit and promoting equity, a National Fellowship Fund, primarily designed to support the tuition fees, learning materials and living expenses for about 10 lakh students will be created.
- A zero tolerance approach on gender discrimination and violence will be adopted.
- There will be dedicated funds for R&D to strengthen disability studies in higher education.
7) Literacy and Lifelong Learning
- Existing initiatives will be strengthened and curricula revamped with multi-pronged strategies involving Self Help Groups, NGOs, Government etc.
- The Government will set up an apex body of experts to look into remodelling and strengthening of adult literacy programmes and develop scientific criteria for assessing the learning outcomes of adults in literacy, skill development, prior learning and equivalency for certification which may also facilitate entry into the formal education system.
- Adult literacy programme will incorporate skill development and digital, financial and legal literacy.
8) Skills in Education and Employability
- Skill development programmes in school and higher education system will be reoriented
- A detailed plan for the creation of skill schools for improving employment opportunities for secondary school students in special focus districts will be prepared.
- Joint certificates by the Sector Skill Council and the School/College authorities to help students take up wage-employment or start their own enterprise.
9) Use of ICT in Education
- A concerted effort will be made to make ICT an integral part of education across all levels and domains of learning.
- Online maintenance of all records of a child from the time of admission till the time of leaving the school will be made mandatory.
- IT reporting systems will be a powerful tool to better school management and performance.
10) Teacher Development and Management
- A transparent and merit based norms and guidelines for recruitment of teachers will be formulated in consultation with the state governments.
- All vacancies in teacher education institutions and all positions of head teachers and principals will be filled up.
- At the National level, a Teacher Education University will be set up covering various aspects of teacher education and faculty development.
- A separate cadre for teacher educators will be established in every state.
11) Language and Culture in Education
- All states and UTs, if they so desire, may provide education in schools, upto Class V, in mother tongue, local or regional language as the medium of instruction.
- Indian culture, local and traditional knowledge will be given adequate space in the school education.
- Keeping in view special importance of Sanskrit to the growth and development of Indian languages and its unique contribution to the cultural unity of the country, facilities for teaching Sanskrit at the school and university stages will be offered on a more liberal scale.
12) Self -Development through Comprehensive Education
- Extra-curricular activities like games, yoga, NSS, Bal Sansad will be emphasized upon
- Funds will be earmarked by the government/ school management for all co-scholastic activities in schools.
13) School Assessment and Governance
- The framework of school standards with various parameters and indicators to measure school quality, professional competence of teachers, school leadership and the school management, as well as, self-appraisal and performance assessment will be used throughout the country
- A mechanism will be put in place for accreditation of school boards.
- Principals/head teachers will be held accountable for the academic performance of the schools and its improvement.
14) Regulation In Higher Education
- An independent mechanism for administering the National Higher Education Fellowship Programme will be put in place.
- A Central Educational Statistics Agency (CESA) will be established as the central data collection, compilation and consolidation agency with high quality statistical expertise and management information system which will be used for predictive analysis, manpower planning and future course corrections.
15) Quality Assurance In Higher Education
- An expert committee will be constituted to study the systems of accreditation in place internationally. It will draw from the experiences of some of the best practices followed by countries having well performing systems and will suggest restructuring of NAAC and NAB as well as redefining methodologies, parameters and criteria. .
- Evaluation/ Accreditation details of each institution will be available to the general public through a dedicated website, to enable students and other stakeholders to make informed choices.
16) Open and Distance Learning & MOOCs
- The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), in collaboration with Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, will redefine itself to address the large potential demand for vocational education. The issues of management, monitoring and oversight of NIOS will be addressed appropriately.
- A quality assurance mechanism for accreditation of all universities/institutions offering ODL / MOOCs will be put in place to ensure quality, promote, innovation and reshape and modernize the ODL / MOOCs courses and programmes.
17) Internationalization of Education
- Selected foreign universities, from the top 200 in the world, will be encouraged to establish their presence in India through collaboration with Indian universities.
- In order to increase acceptability of Indian students abroad and to attract international students, Indian HEIs will be encouraged to work towards internationalization of curricula aligned with international levels so as to make it globally compatible with best ranked institutions of the world.
- Internationalization will be included as one of the components for allocating additional financial resources to government-funded HEIs.
18) Faculty Development in Higher Education
- A task force of experts will be set up to study the recruitment, promotion and retention procedures, followed by internationally renowned universities and institutions and suggest measures to promote intellectual and academic excellence in HEIs.
- A national campaign will be launched to attract young talent into the teaching profession. In order to attract young talent into teaching profession, a career growth of research students, such as M.Phil & Ph.D scholars, will be created.
- A mechanism of assessment of academic performance of faculty including peer review will be put in place so as to ensure academic accountability of public-funded institutions.
19) Research, Innovation and New Knowledge
- A clear reorientation of research agenda of National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) will be undertaken to reflect actual issues on the ground.
- Steps will be taken to promote generation of new knowledge and their applications and introduction of these new domains into the curricula of higher education to consolidate and strengthen India’s position as a soft power.
- In order to promote innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, 100 more incubation centres will be established in HEIs over a period of next 5 years.
- International collaborations and networks will be promoted for developing human resources required to sustain new knowledge with special focus on inter-disciplinary research and studies.
20) Financing Education
- The government will take steps for reaching the long pending goal of raising the investment in education sector to at least 6% of GDP as a priority.
- Instead of setting up new institutions, which require huge investments, priority of the Government will be to expand the capacity of existing institutions.
- In order to encourage excellence and efficiency, performance-linked funding of higher education institutions will be implemented.