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

[op-ed snap] Left behind: on the right to free, compulsory education

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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: Annual Status of Education Report 2017, NGO Pratham, RTE act, digital divide

Mains level: State of education in India and measures needed to improve outcomes


Context

Findings of the Annual Status of Education Report 2017

  1. The state of rural elementary education is far from encouraging
  2. Only 5% of the respondents in the survey, which was aided by the NGO Pratham, reported doing any kind of vocational course
  3. Only 43% of the youth could solve an arithmetic problem involving division of a three-digit number by a single digit
  4. Read full news here: India’s learning deficit is worsening: ASER study

What does this point to?

  1. The insights available from successive studies point to progress being made in raw enrolment of children in school, but miserable failures in achieving learning outcomes
  2. Enrolment figures often do not mean high attendance
  3. A significant section of secondary level students find it difficult to read standard texts meant for junior classes or locate their own State on the map
  4. The ASER data point to a massive digital divide, with 61% of respondents stating they had never used the Internet, and 56% a computer, while mobile telephony was accessible to 73%

What needs to be done?

  1. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act should cover the entire spectrum of 18 years, and not confine itself to those aged 6 to 14
  2. Guaranteed inclusion will empower those in the 14-18 age group who are not enrolled anywhere, and help them acquire finishing education
  3. This is vital to their participation in the workforce

Way forward

  1. All expenditure on good education is bound to have a multiplier effect on productivity
  2. Objectives of the RTE Act need to be translated into a comprehensive guarantee, expanding its scope to cover all levels of education
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