Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

[op-ed snap] A deepening crisis


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Kothari and JS Verma commission on education

Mains level: Dismal state of education and teacher training in India


Public spending on education

  1. In 1966, the Kothari Commission had said in its voluminous report that India should aim at spending 6% of its GDP on education
  2. We are currently spending less than 3% of our GDP on education

Kothari commission recommendation timing

  1. At the time the commission chaired by him was drafting its report, India was passing through a difficult period
  2. Famines, wars and political uncertainty were taking their toll
  3. The economy was stuck in sluggish growth
  4. The idealism of the freedom struggle was waning

Present conditions

  1. India is more prosperous today and people’s aspirations are higher
  2. Education is valued across different sections and strata
  3. Despite this favourable social climate, education has failed to become a matter of national concern

Budgets over years

  1. Budgets have been offering a marginal increase in different routine expenses and reduction on some
  2. There is no sign of funds to enable institutional recovery after a prolonged period of damage caused by financial cuts in higher education
  3. No funds are in sight to sustain the bold dream of making the Right to Education a sustainable reality

Focus on teachers training

  1. In this year’s budget, the Finance Minister referred to the importance of teacher education
  2. Teacher training constitutes a relatively invisible, low-status sector of the system
  3. It seldom receives high-level attention
  4. A few prestigious colleges that were set up under British rule a century ago have lost their sheen

JS Verma commission

  1. A commission was appointed by the Supreme Court under the chairpersonship of the late Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma
  2. The report of this commission brought to public attention the dismal state of teacher education
  3. Rampant commercialisation and rigid bureaucratic control combined to stifle any possibility of academic growth in teacher education

Achieving quality in teacher training

  1. The Finance Minister made a special mention of the four-year integrated B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education) the programme as a way forward for achieving quality in teacher training
  2. National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has been running such courses at regional level

Why does India not worry about its educational crisis?

  1. In the first few decades following Independence, resources were limited and they were used for other, more immediate needs
  2. Then, for a little while, it seemed as if education might become a priority because social demand for it had increased
  3. However, before this demand could acquire a political voice, the state got seduced by the option to privatise education

Way forward

  1. The damage our institutional apparatus has suffered over the last three decades has begun to hurt our long-term national economic interests and social goals
  2. The United Nations discourse of sustainable development should remind us that our national aspirations might get a jolt if we fail to prioritise education
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