Things we can do to improve the Indian Public education system

Education in India is provided by public schools and private schools, controlled and funded by three levels: central, state and local. Under various articles 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. Right now in India are 250 million children and they attending approximately 1 million schools. Statistic data tells us that in 2001 18% of Indian children were attending private schools, and today 30% to 40% of these students are enrolled in private schools. The estimate is that by 2025 the proportion will be 75% if the current trend continues.

All over the world private schools have been the mark of the elite. In most nations, the state takes responsibility to educate children, and the majority is enrolled in public schools.

  • USA 92%
  • UK 93%
  • Finland 98%
  • Sri Lanka 97%

The Indian Story

Beginning in the year 2000, the authorities in India put in action two educational reforms. The first one was Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and then the Right to Education Act (RTE). The positive effects of these two reforms were the fact that enrolment numbers soared, and now it is almost 100%. Unfortunately, with these reforms, the government failed to tackle the principal problem of the system, the QUALITY of the Indian educational system.             

It is the government’s fundamental duty to run free and high-quality schools as mandated by the Right to Education Act 2014.  However, Indians seem to have lost their belief in public schools because of abject educational delivery across most states. With a lesser number of gifted individuals opting to teach and inadequate infrastructure, the teacher-student ratios continue to drop. Moreover, the school system fails to address the issue of employability.

The immensity of the problem is something that is unlikely to be corrected just by sporadic policy intervention. The education system needs to be restructured altogether, and School Management systems need to be implemented. Here are some solutions that can help India achieve the end goal of efficient educational delivery:

  1. Improve accountability – Across Indian states, the performance of students in board exams continues to remain abysmal. In Punjab, there are schools where not a single student passed their Class X examination; in Himachal Pradesh, only one, out of the 80,000 students who cleared, found a place in the distinction list and in Haryana the pass percentage has stagnated at 49%. None of these public schools were called upon to account for the low performance of their students. In the absence of a risk-reward system, the teachers’ incentive to improve student performance remains a matter of individual choice rather than a fundamental duty.
  2. Public-Private partnership and collaborative efforts – One way to correct the massive vacuum of quality in education is through privatizing. Private enterprises, to survive market forces and to scale in size, need to consistently deliver high-quality education at a competitive price. Schools that don’t deliver on quality or price won’t survive, and parents will choose other schools if regulatory mechanisms allow for rapid expansion of private enterprise. Unfortunately, the regulatory mechanism in our country continues to restrict private intervention as education is a “not-for-profit” field. This, in turn, leads to loss of opportunity for public-private collaboration. Countries like the United States, Canada, England, Germany, and Australia, have Charter schools or Academies, which are funded by the government but run by private bodies and they maintain the highest standards of accountability. A similar system could potentially revolutionize the Indian education space.
  1. Skills and employability – The student dropout rate at the secondary level is staggering. The prime reason for this is that students, especially from low income families, feel that a high school education will not help them get a job. That could change with the introduction of vocational studies at the higher secondary level. Subjects like retail, hospitality, nursing etc. should be taught at the +2 level rather than allowing students to continue studying general subjects until their undergraduate education.
  2. Effective incorporation of ed-tech: With the emergence of online learning platform and social networking, students are able to connect, communicate and collaborate with their peers and teachers to extend learning beyond the walls of the classroom. Earlier, time and location used to be constant in the learning process. Nowadays, these are variable, and learning is constant. Effective use of technology will greatly enhance the ability of students to learn when they want, wherever they want, and in a much better way than ever before. So, let’s embrace educational technology!

A healthy and accessible education system is the key to achieving India’s vision of being one of the world leaders in the 21st century, and to create an educational system that keeps the needs of his future citizens in mind. Based on these statistics, a public-private partnership in the education will help fuel the potential of the Indian people, and it would spark a change for everybody in the current competitive climate that exists around the world. For such endeavors to succeed, clear and concise guidelines need to be implemented, and a mechanism of accountability to be put in place.

An answer to resolving some of the problems of the public education system is implementing a learning management system for K-12 and higher educational institutions, and using an ERP that can free some resources and save time for these institutions can bring a solution.  VClassrooming offers a learning management system that does just that! With a powerful learning management system that integrates with some core ERP features, Vclassrooming equips these institutions to go beyond learning and create digital experiences across their campus. It is time to go beyond books and create a personalized experience for every child.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. So, regardless of the solution, the Indian Government intends to put in place, the clear conclusion is the something needs to change and to be improved. Without change, India’s future may be jeopardized.