Top
Millennium Post

Strengthen the foundations

Strengthen the foundations

The importance of quality school education cannot be emphasized enough, especially in a country like India balancing delicately the extremes of being an emerging global superpower and being a land poor, hungry children to whom school is only a dream. In a series of attempts to make school education a reality for maximum children in India, the government at various levels and in various aspects has introduced constructive changes seeking to first maximize enrollment and then engage as many children in school education as possible. There is no doubt that education is pivotal to a country's economy and that making sure to impart quality education is a step of renewal in the process of progressive growth and development; the right to education holds tremendous significance in the wider spectrum of affairs where one is not only entitled to education but also that the system of education contributes considerably to the overall health of a state. Education is clearly a parameter of a nation and society going in a favorable direction, and, conversely, any compromise on this front speaks of a retrograde approach in managing the state. If education is not a priority in a country, it is only obvious to expect matter to go down south, as they are eventually bound to. And the most fundamental of education imparted in schools are the foundation stones of an individual, their respective community, and ultimately, of the country—particularly with reference to the economy which thrives on the basis of combination of factors which are inevitably the result of good education.

In a latest development, on the pretext of shortage of funds, the Central government is said to be likely to slash school education budget for 2019-20 by Rs 3,000 crore. Definitely coming as a matter of concern and one to provoke investigation, a sum of Rs 56,536 crore was sanctioned to the school education department in 2019-20, from which the finance ministry is likely to cut Rs 3,000 crore. The Ministry of Finance cited lack of funds as the reason behind the proposal through sources in the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). Sources inform that MHRD is pushing the Finance Ministry to release the full amount because the school education department has no other way of generating funds. Higher education department has sources like HEFA (Higher Education Finance Agency) through which they can raise money, but school education (department) does not have any such means. Although the proposed fund cut is not yet confirmed, any deliberation along these lines warrants critical thoughts towards both education as well as finances and management of it by the state. While the final decision on the matter is awaited, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra went ahead and hit out at the Centre over reports that there would be a significant cut in the school education budget for 2019-20 and accused the Modi government of benefiting its 'rich friends'. "The BJP government forgives loans of Rs 5.5 lakh crore of its rich friends. Gives away six airports to its rich friends...But, the school education budget is getting cut by Rs 3,000 crore. Means big people eat rasgullas, but in mid-day meal, government schoolchildren will get salt and roti'', she expressed through a tweet. In the wake of ongoing protests against the fee hike in India's flagship Jawaharlal Nehru University, among few others, it is especially brought to highlight that making education an expensive commodity is only counter productive to its very purpose. With reduced funds for school education, two scenarios are most obvious: that consumers are expected to make up for the services that could not be rendered owing to fund crunch, and that in case of consumers not being able to do the former, the education of the child suffers considerably to the pointy of even termination. Several reasons are already at play due to which basic education is not in the best of health. Poor quality of teachers is a major factor as teaching is unfortunately not considered a lucrative career option in this country. It remains a fact that most teachers end up in this career because they could not find jobs elsewhere. The content of learning, the syllabus and curriculum and the conspicuous absence of state-of-the-art teaching methods are also some of the most significant reasons to bring down the quality of education in India at the most elementary levels. Irrespective of funds and finances, what is most needed in the domain of school education is reform. Playing a vital role in shaping an individual's social and professional growth, schools in India aim to nurture children and prepare them for the competitive world outside. The prominent culture of examinations and assignments are debatable methods to assess the capability of the students who are further judged on the basis of marks scored by them. The practice of rote learning instead of making sure of understanding things through has been a point of debate with respect to the quality of education imparted to children. It is often concluded that the common method of learning, that is rote-learning, is the reason for poor standards to learning in students passing out from schools. Allowing sufficient scope for creative thinking and focusing be on skill-based education are some ways to impart quality learning. If there is any change in the school education sector that the government must proactively introduce, it is to improve methods of learning and support endeavors in this direction.

Next Story
Share it