Parents love to boast about their kids when they are small, yet as they grow older many parents find their children not good enough compared to other kids. Why is this? Is there a sudden change in parents attitudes or the child has lost his talents or is it that our system does not support our children’s talents. Let’s talk about children and the Issues and Challenges in Indian Education System they have to face.

What are Issues and Challenges in Indian Education System?

“Urmila sit down to study or no television for you today”, said her mother. Urmila shrugged. She would just throw a tantrum and within some time they would let her watch her favourite tele-serial. Her parents started pleading with her and shouting at her. They did whatever they could to try and make Urmila work harder at studies. But for Urmila studies had become boring. “It is a common phase among school going children,” the parents declared, throwing up their hands. But for something so common it was surprising there was no cure.”Mr Shetty too was complaining about his son”, exclaimed Urmila”s father. “But he doesn’t have an answer to this problem either.”

There was a time when Urmila used to love going to school. School was where her friends were. She loved to play with her friends while waiting for her dad to pick her up.  Now she hated going to school because nobody played with her after school. Everyone had extra tuition. She used to sit sadly near the gate waiting for her dad. Where once she used to make her dad wait for her, she now requested him to come early.  “Why do you come late dad,” she cried. “If you cannot come in time let me come with the school bus.”

What could be the reason for the change?

Although Urmila’s parents noticed the change in her attitude they did not notice the change in her environment. She had to study more subjects now than she had to earlier. There were more things to remember. Teachers did not explain the lessons at school and tuition teachers were interested in completing homework and giving more practice. Urmila’s chirpy spirit was being killed. Her parents too reminded her she was growing. She had to be responsible. She tried to help around the house, but that was not enough. Responsibility meant getting more marks than the neighbors’ son or daughter. Will it be a surprise if she fails in standard 9? If that happened the school would simply hand her a leaving certificate because the school doesn’t want to spoil it’s average. Schools really don’t care. They have enough students to take care of and showcase as example of good teaching. Even if they are doing a bad job of it.

The solution to disinterested children

One of the Issues and Challenges in Indian Education System is that Schools do not want to change the way they approach subjects. We have to change the way we approach subjects. Most of history is important to the one who is interested in it. It is a subject that had been much politicised anyway. What if we have history for information only. In fact, it is information and not something that needs to be learned. It could just be a period that shows history in audio visual format. No questions or exams should be required unless it was a small objective test or maybe what the students learned from history – as they say those who don’t learn from history tend to repeat it. Similarly, math is a vast subject. Why not teach basic math till the 7th standard. Standard 7 should be a standardized board exam. Till then students should learn to read, write and talk languages. Do basic math, know basic science and know some information from geography, civics, history, economics and even home science. Enough to help students to tackle most careers. For example trigonometry or geometry is not going to help a student who will decide to take up a career in finance or journalism.

But what about engineering?

To tackle this problem students should be given psychometric tests and counseling so that they can choose their future occupations. Once they have chosen they can jump right into the kind of studies that will help to be good at what they want to become. One of the Issues and Challenges in Indian Education System is that no choice in learning is given to the students who don’t want to study certain subjects. So students who need trigonometry can opt for it  and students who need chemistry can opt for that subject. Keeping a buffer for students who cannot decide or who think they have chosen wrong we should have an open system of studies so that they can join whenever they realize their calling.

Sports and Dance as Subjects

Today we have schools that have academics. These schools have physical education periods to offer holistic growth of children. Why can’t we have sports schools that have academics or maybe dance or drama schools that also teach academics. So after std 7 children go to a school with their respective callings and still go on learning new and better things they would love to learn.

Remember Steve Jobs dropped out from his regular studies and attended calligraphy, something that had nothing to do with computers. Yet it helped him to make an important decision about his operating system – that it will have good fonts.

Education should be encouraged at every stage and age and no one should feel that he or she is too late to learn anything. At the same time education is for learning and becoming wiser in our choices. Students should not be forced learn things they might never use.

Indian education system problems

The Indian education system problems have increased in the past many years and there is a need to revamp the system completely. Almost everybody knows that. So the question is why doesn’t anybody do something about it?

uncomplicate-indian-education-system

Who are the Stake Holders in Education ?

Students do not gain anything from their years in school. It is like 10 precious years of school thrown away in hope that one day the child will learn something. In the meanwhile there are businesses that benefit from this neglect. Private tuition classes are the obvious culprits who actually help children pass. Work that should have been done by the schools. When will the stake holders be responsible to dictate what should be in the curriculum rather than politicians and bureaucrats who have their own agenda. 

Who decides what we learn?

Why should every state have a say in the syllabus rather than people who it is supposed to help. The syllabus should be decided by industry people who need young talent to be competent on the global level. The syllabus should be decided by parents who would like to have a say in what their child should be learning. And of course most important the syllabus should be decided by the students who have to study and go on to take up a career in their chosen field.

Do the children have a say?

Ask the children? What do they know. Yet the decision to allow children to the next class was supposed to be a child friendly decision. What good did that do? Children need to learn some basics while they are growing up. These basics should be taught to them in the first few years of school. Basic math, languages, science that would help them in life. All other agendas should be put aside. Up till a certain age the basics should be made strong and then the studies that will help in future career should click in.

The much awaited results

Exams should then be easy to give. Whenever the student wants according to his pace. The authorities are so rushed to make children skilled labour that they are not concerned about the mental and physical health of students. What we need is a young person who had decision making abilities and who is sure footed about his choices and not whimpering puppies who take up whatever is offered or get waylaid by the side.

Our Education System Needs a Revamp

The education system needs a revamp. Almost everybody knows that. So the question is why doesn’t anybody do something about it? Students do not gain anything from their years in school. It is like 10 precious years of school thrown away in hope that one day the child will learn something. In the meanwhile there are businesses that benefit from this neglect. Private tuition classes are the obvious culprits who actually help children pass. Work that should have been done by the schools.

When will the stake holders be responsible to dictate what should be in the curriculum rather than politicians and bureaucrates who have their own agenda. Why should every state have a say in the syllabus rather than people who it is supposed to help. The syllabus should be decided by industry people who need young talent to be competent on the global level. The syllabus should be decided by parents who would like to have a say in what their child should be learning. And of course most important the syllabus should be decided by the students who have to study and go on to take up a career in their chosen field.

Ask the children? What do they know. Yet the decision to allow children to the next class was supposed to be a child friendly decision. Gary good that did. Children need to learn some basics while they are growing up. These basics should be taught to them in the first few years of school. Basic math, languages, science that would help them in life. All other agendas should be put aside. Up till a certain age the basics should be made strong and then the studies that will help in future career should click in. Exams should then be easy to give. Whenever the student wants according to his pace.

The authorities are so rushed to make children skilled labour that they are not concerned about the mental and physical health of students. What we need is a young person who had decision making abilities and who is sure footed about his choices and not whimpering puppies who take up whatever is offered or get waylaid by the side.

Current Scenario of Education in Modern India

They say a chain is as strong as the weakest link. Similarly, schools are as strong as their teachers. Even the best teachers are struggling to finish their syllabus. they are teaching students obedience, discipline, and to do what they’ve been asked to do. These qualities are useful also. Patience is a virtue and students are learning that by sitting in uninteresting classrooms waiting for the bell to ring.

Teachers are giving away information on the board every day in which they have become masters. Behind them are 3 students who are paying attention while the rest of the class is busy in various activities including finding out who can make the best paper rockets, a chalk throwing match, passing chits to people in the furthest corners of the class etc. Fortunately, if the teacher doesn’t find out about the commotion behind her back then she will give a brief explanation and homework. Unfortunately, if she finds out and it makes her angry then the students will have to learn the lesson themselves and do the homework. Either ways there is no time to make sure all in the class have understood what was being taught.

So there are students who have mastered the art of learning from the board and acing tests. These are the students who stand first in class and these students are the favorites of the teachers. The other students succeed in various degrees. Most of them will never talk to teachers throughout their school life. They will believe they are mediocre. Their belief will become stronger because sometimes teachers will make them the subject of their jokes. 

Read: Teach Your Child How to Achieve Success in Life

It’s only recently that schools started increasing sports activities and physical activities and there is a continuous teacher improvement programme. Schools, if you’ve noticed have taken over a project based curriculum. That’s because there is a demand for experiential learning. Unfortunately, in the name of experiential learning we have projects and videos. Both are good, but is video good for concept understanding. And everyone knows who is doing those projects. Parents usually do the complete project assignment for their children because they don’t want to lose marks.

The Assessment Scam

Teachers are awarding marks and prizes to children acing assessments. 

The assessments don’t allow you to be different. Although many schools claim to be focusing on understanding, students are still complaining that marks are cut when answers are not given according to a preset format. And I am talking about answers that are correct. What about questions that are open ended and can be different with different students. You know what? Nobody is asking them!

However, let me remind here that all is not gloomy for the students we call back benchers. Some of them will become powerful entrepreneurs. How is that possible you ask.

This is one more way the system doesn’t allow you to grow. Why is that most success stories you hear are of people who either did not get education or dropped out? That is because those stories are fascinating. Nobody wants to know about stories where the protagonist studied a lot for good grades and carved out success for himself. These guys are all around you. 

Even today when it comes to studies, parents will ground students by stopping games. Physical and virtual. 

Today’s school curriculum has added physical activities and project based learning but schools are implementing them only to fulfill obligations not because they believe it’s true.

Is it possible for us as parents to forget marks and let the children learn on their own? Let them finish the projects, give them time to learn on their own?

The Demographic Advantage and our Education System

The much touted Indian Demographic Advantage has been languishing and trying to find its way to a better life. Unfortunately, the powers that be haven’t been able to provide the jobs they had promised and the parents have their own ideas regarding their children’s careers. The question now is not how many hands we have on deck but that if we have a deck that can accommodate the hands that we have or will it capsize the ship before we learn to take advantage of our talents. Right now it is every man for himself.

uncomplicate demographic dividend india

The matriculation and higher secondary exam results are rolling out and it has been quite some time that I have been wondering about the demographic advantage or should I say the lack of India’s youth. In the recent years we have gone from talking about the advantage of being the youngest country to the demographic bomb and demographic catastrophe. I for one had a lot of hopes with the youth of India. I still have, but it seems that we are adamant at wasting away this advantage. The biggest drawback I believe, as a person interested in the education sector is how to improve our education system. That I think is the root of the problem.  Why do we have a fair amount of educated people who are unemployable? I started by looking at facts and figures about students and dropouts. I studied our whopping education budget and money that is donated by our industrialist-philanthropists, money coming from abroad, which by the way has doubled in the past few years according to a report. I also went through the statistics about children studying in private schools and the majority of children in public schools. That is a vast topic by itself.

So I think I would tackle it in parts rather than the whole. Pointing out the problems seems much easier. However, if we don’t look at the problems we cannot talk about the solutions. Personally I do it for my own learning.

The rat race

We in India have mastered the art of rat race. We have applied that in the education sector too. Most of us are not interested in what our wards are doing and what they would like to do, but how they are doing in comparison to the neighbor’s kid. While they are small we do like to exhibit their singing and dancing skills to all our relatives and friends, but when the time comes to notice their skills seriously we ignore them and become strict disciplinarians who want children to study hard. The only concession we allow them is TV b breaks because that’s what we want to do after a long hard day at work.

While a lot of parents are opening their eyes to alternative careers in sports and music, we are still narrow-minded about our engineers and doctors. However, in our zeal to see children succeed, we either overlook our child’s education or make them overwork to get through the exams somehow, since we believe we have found their calling.

Finding their own path

We must allow our children to find their own path and walk on it at their own pace. I remember earlier generations used to be pushed into a career by getting them married. ‘Once he has responsibility he will start earning’ it was said. People have become a lot more independent, but the mentality remains. We as parents still believe in coxing and nudging our children into fields that we think are lucrative and high earning. Some jobs have changed the game thankfully. That neighborhood kid we thought was going to become a junkie and waste his life has suddenly bought a new car. He is now a Software Engineer. That other kid who used to be wasting his parents’ money and party all the time has bought a new flat. He became an Event Manager. Parents do not have any idea where to push their child. They still search for a suitable career though. What they fail to understand is that the answer is not outside, but within. A child’s talent whatever it could be can be nurtured. In one of my lectures I was asking students what they believed their talents were and what they would like to become. One of them answered that he loved to sleep all the time. Now that is a talent. I am sure that there is a job for him out there somewhere. Sleepwell?

Urban Education Worse than Poorer Districts – Survey by NAS

Urban Maharashtra sliding down the charts

The national achievement survey NAS had highlighted what has been worrisome trend for some time. That the urban education situation has become bad. It is not easy to slide down below districts like Ratnagiri and Beed in education, no less. What use is then the connectivity, the technology, the facilities that people talk about when they stay back in the city for their child’s education.

Girls gaining the upper hand

Girls leaving behind boys in studies has also been an obvious trend. People recognise that from news headlines during results. However, the options to choose from are limited. While most girls choose medical, many traditional families restrict girls to get into the medical field because it is service oriented and women will have to interact with ‘all sorts of people’.

Most people’s understanding of education is the certificate which students get after Class 10, 12 and Graduation. However, there is ample proof that those certificates do not really help in earning livelihood. Neither are they helpful in the development of a child. That is because the certificates are based on assessments.

Assessment and results

Maharashtra does not have the best statistics when it comes to education yet when it comes to assessments the state has refused to accept the parliamentary standing committee’s recommendations that there should be assessments in class 5 and 8. Failure to pass the exam will give the student one more chance after two months failing which the student will be retained in the class. The no detention policy has given us more problems than it has solved. The biggest problem is that we do have matriculation passed students who have no inkling what they have been taught in school. And English medium students who cannot even say one proper sentence in English. This is the situation in urban areas.

The committee rightly pointed out that there were abysmally low learning levels in children and there was no motivation for then to learn it for teachers to teach.

National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) had stressed on continuous assessment throughout the year which is supposedly a good recommendation. Rather than assessing a student on one year end exam students can be given multiple exams. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights supported “the assessment of children in Class 5 and 8” but not their detention. It found the 2 months period for a re-exam a short time for children to build up confidence to reappear for examination.

Where do our Priorities lie?

The people in power are hardly bothered about the development of children. Although the assessment policy is being debated Maharashtra board that has been opposing such a move has gone ahead and ordered books over 59 lakhs on PM Modi. Leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil has claimed that the Books Published by Pune-based Bharatiya Vichar Saadhana – that has links to the RSS – contains adult and objectionable content. He says the books are inappropriate for children. In other words, the book has been ordered to increase the sale of one publishing house and push the agenda of a certain political party.

Do we need thinkers or brainwashed people

The agenda behind pushing a certain ideology has been going on since forever. The opposition parties have been accusing the Congress party for promoting the Nehru-Gandhi family in text books subsequent governments have replaced or added icons that are closer to their party ideologies or symbols. The latest being the books of PM Modi.

Meanwhile, students continue to suffer taking to school huge loads that are heavy to carry of books that will probably not help them to do anything in life.

Maharashtra: Psychological evaluation of Class X students made mandatory

The Maharashtra government will make the psychological evaluation of all Class X students compulsory from this year. The objective is to understand the aptitude of children. The state believes these tests will help students understand which stream of education they should pursue or which vocation they are best suited for.

The tests will be conducted online.“All students studying in Class 10 of schools affiliated to the Maharashtra State Secondary and Higher Secondary Board will have to undergo a psychological test. The test will help them select higher education streams or vocations that are best suited for their aptitude,” said Baban Mali, Under Secretary, Department of School Education and Sports.

Such psychological tests to understand a student’s aptitude are conducted by the government-run Institute of Vocational Guidance and Selection. The tests were till now voluntary, with those desirous of knowing their aptitude approaching the institute. Under the National Education Policy, vocational guidance of students at the secondary and higher secondary level has been termed as an important mode of harnessing the potential of students. The state has claimed that such methods help clearing doubts in the minds of students as well as their guardians on what vocational stream they should pursue in their lives. There are 22,000 secondary and higher secondary schools in Maharashtra with a total intake of 65 lakh students. While there are 2.5 lakh teachers, the number of certified vocational counsellors in the state is only 539. These counsellors are spread across nine branches of the vocational guidance institute. Due to staff crunch, the institute is able to provide help to only those students who approach it. To tide over this problem, the state has decided to conduct these tests online. All Class 10 students will have to undertake these tests online and the counsellors will mail them their reports after evaluation. The tests will commence from this year and the state is hoping the move will help students who will start junior college from next year to take an informed decision on what stream they should select. “It will not be compulsory for the students to heed the advice of the counsellor. However, knowing where your strength lies will help students take an informed decision,” said a senior official of the education department.

Courtesy: Indian Express

All boards may follow one curriculum

Puja Pednekar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai

All national and state boards in the country are likely to share a common core curriculum, exam schedule and question paper pattern.

The ministry of human resource development (HRD), along with the Council of Boards of Secondary Education (COBSE), has formed committees to ensure uniformity among various boards aiming at creating a level-playing field for students across the country.

Four committees consisting of members from various state and national boards and experts from National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) have been assigned one topic each — core syllabus, question paper design, teacher training and fighting malpractices in exams.

The committees were constituted during the 44th COBSE annual council held in Pune between November 5 and 7. They will submit a detailed report with their recommendations to the MHRD by December 31.

The need to bring in some kind of uniformity among the different boards operating in the country as a new Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) pattern was introduced last year, in which 40% weight was given to the marks in the boards and 60% to the main JEE score. The JEE is conducted for admissions to engineering institutes including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in the country.

“Since every board has a different exam pattern, it was causing discrepancies in marks. This has made us realise the importance of bringing in uniformity among the boards,” said YSK Seshu Kumar, in-charge chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and a joint-secretary in the ministry. “Every board wants their students to do well in competitive exams, so we need to create a level-playing field,” he said.

A common question paper patter and a common core curriculum for all boards might help in creating parity across boards, added Kumar.

The common curriculum could comprise of 70% common syllabus and 30% regional variations. While, common question paper pattern will give equal weight to various components in exams to avoid inflation of marks in particular boards.

“A common core syllabus can be worked out for English, maths, physics, chemistry and other subjects,” said Puran Chand, general secretary of the COBSE. “We are also thinking of having common subject codes for at least the main subjects, to avoid confusion among students.”

Similarly, the boards are also discussing whether they can come up with a common exam schedule or declare the results around the same time so that students will be able to appear for competitive exams on time.

source: Hindustan Times

  • Spending time on domestic chores can impact education, finds study

NEW DELHI: A new study has found time spent on domestic chores can impact education. Data collected from 952 children and their communities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has shown that 12-year-olds who spend three hours or more on household chores in a day are 70% less likely to complete secondary education.

These findings came to light after Renu Singh and Protap Mukherjee studied data gathered through the Young Lives longitudinal study of childhood poverty to determine the factors impacting children’s participation in and progress through secondary education – Grades 9 and 10.

Young Lives tracked the progress of these kids through school for over a decade starting 2002 when they were aged eight to 2013 when they were 19. Data was collected in multiple rounds and in the third (2009) round, they were 15. Determinants of Successful Completion of Secondary Education: Evidence from Young Lives, Andhra Pradesh, was released on November 16.

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Considering the high correlation between drop-out rates and time spent on errand-running, the study’s authors have pushed for safeguards to be worked into the amendment of the Child Labour Act that proposes to allow kids under 14 to work in non-hazardous family enterprises.

Of the 952, 680 completed Grade 10 successfully and 48.8% were continuing their education in vocational studies or higher education. The variables considered were classified into four categories — socio-demographic factors, household characteristics, pre-schooling and “individual (child) characteristics” which includes nutrition status, “self-efficacy”, reading and writing ability – all at age 8 – and time spent on domestic chores and participation in paid work at age 12.The number of kids who reported working over three hours at home is low — 58. Of the rest, 299 kids didn’t work at all; 398 kids worked one hour; 195 worked two. The sections dropping out from these groups are 19.4%, 25.1% and 39.0% respectively. The drop-out percentage for the three-hour category was 65.5%; with all other parameters factored in, the likelihood of kids working over three hours dropping out is estimated to be 70%.

“Combining work and school is a reality for children under 12 in a pro-poor sample like ours. And it’s not harming the education of kids in the one-two hour group. But that changes with the last group,” Singh said. In the proposed amendments, already passed by the cabinet, there’s no provision for defining the nature of work or a time-limit. “There’s no monitoring mechanism. All you can do, then, is raise awareness,” she added.

There’s rising aspiration for education among the poor but in the absence social protection, policies have to be very carefully worded, she said. With all factors accounted for, girls are 45% less likely to complete secondary education than boys.

Most kids start primary school already at a disadvantage. The researchers have found very high correlation between kids reading and writing well at age eight and completing secondary school. “The Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan addresses only secondary and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (and Right to Education Act) only primary. But what about kids under six? The foundations have to be laid then,” Singh said.

Those among the respondents who attended private pre-schools did well; those who attended the anganwadi version of pre-school – provided for by the Early Childhood Care and Education policy – not so much. “The early years need much more focus,” they said.

courtesy: times of india

8-hour day likely for school kids in Mumbai soon

Children may soon start having eight-hour school days, if the state school education department’s new education policy is accepted.

For the first time, the department has recommended a minimum eight hours a day of learning for students, in a report it submitted to the human resource development ministry.

While the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, has put in place the minimum number of teaching hours, it did not specify how much time students must spend learning every day. Currently, most primary and secondary sections in city schools run between six and seven hours.In its report, the department said many studies point to how an eight-hour school day helps improve learning outcomes.It suggested the eight hours should include at least six hours of instructional learning.

“The school systems should revamp their existing administrative/infrastructure hurdles to comply with this norm,” the report read. “Tagline should read: 100% students in schools learning for eight hours a day!”

School principals, however, said the eight-hour rule is impractical for schools in Mumbai, as many of them run double shifts owing to space crunch. “Our school runs in two shifts, in the morning and afternoon, because we do not have enough room to accommodate all classes at once,” said Meenakshi Walke, the principal of the Indian Education Society School, Bhayandar. “Having each shift for eight hours will not be possible.”

Principals also said the eight-hour learning rule would be harsh on younger children. “Students in Class 1 or Class 2 cannot stay in school for such long hours,” said Chandrakanta Pathak, the principal of HVB Global Academy at Marine Lines. “It will be difficult for teachers to keep the students engaged for that long.”

If learning hours for students are increased, teaching hours will also be extended, said others. “Teachers are required to stay back for at least two hours after students leave, to plan lessons and for other work. Going by the government’s recommendation, teachers would then have to be spend 10 hours at work,” Pathak said.

The government has also recommended linking the no-detention policy to learning outcomes and setting up a career lab for Class 9 and Class 10, among others suggestions in the report.

“It will mainly be for self-awareness, life-skills, goal setting and rational, sustainable and informed career choices. This will help the child to understand their unique potential and reach it,” the report said.

Source: Hindustan Times

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