India aims to be recognized as a superpower in this century. However, that dream would not be fulfilled till the time the issues in the public education system in the country are addressed. The system has to be made so effective that it is able to keep up with the needs of our future generations. India has more than a million schools, where around 250 million students study. As of now, around 40 per cent students are in private schools. However, if the standards stay the same by 2025, 75 per cent of the students would opt for them.
Improving accountability of the schools
The first proper step that needs to be taken in order to improve the education system in the government schools is to improve the levels of accountability. There are certain states where the performance of students in the board exams can be described the best with just one word – abysmal. For example, in Punjab there are schools where no student has passed the 10th standard exam. In Himachal Pradesh most students are able to pass the 10th standard exam but only a handful are able to score respectable marks. The situation in Haryana is a lot better compared to these states but, even then, there is little or no improvement in the performance of students in the last few years.
The problem is that the government has not hauled up any of these schools for such bad performance. There is no risk reward system right now in India’s public education system and in such a scenario it only depends on the teacher if she or he wishes to take steps to help the students perform better. It is a matter of choice rather than the duty of a teacher, as it ideally should be.
Collaborating and partnering with private bodies
Privatization could be one way in which the massive gap in quality in Indian public education can be addressed. Private enterprises are always in a need to deliver quality because they have to survive the market and they also need to scale in size. At the same time they have to be competitive about their prices and for the same reasons as well. If schools are unable to deliver in terms of price and quality they would not be able to survive. In such cases parents would go for other options. For that to happen though the rules have to allow for rapid privatization.
Focusing on employability and skills
One of the biggest problems plaguing public education in India is the high rate dropout rate at the secondary level. The main reason is that the students do not feel a high school education would enable them to find jobs. This is especially true for students who come from the low income families. However, by introducing vocational studies at the secondary level this situation can be addressed to a significant extent. Special focus can be given on sectors that have high demand such as retail, nursing, and hospitality.