Educational reforms in India since independence – Flaws & suggestions
Education has been considered as one of the very important dominion in our national life. Education holds the important key for development and progress in every aspects of our existence, which starts from an integrated and synergic viewpoint, the system of education constitute as the foundation of the legal, civic, administrative and also developmental domains of future unfolding India.
Though several debates have undergone on this issue in the recent past, but the discussion still prevails on this issue which is in motion since the era of pre-independence days. It was a know fact that the educational system which was devised in the erstwhile alien rulers was not target at the national goals and aspirations, in the later stage several educational leaders learnt the truth the deleterious effects the erstwhile educational systems had on the young minds, as such the movement has been started with the initial efforts to establish few nationalist educational institutions. In this approach several nationalist schools and also colleges were established to impart education in a nationalist content and its approach, as they thought this type of education will infuse a spirit of patriotism and also a national outlook which one cannot forget.
To eradicate such prevailing systems in the pre-independence era in India, many committees and several commissions were brought up to propose recommendations to make a change in the educational system, few of them in the year 1948-49 it was the Radhakrishnan Commission on University education, in the year 1952-53 Laxmanaswamy Mudaliyar Committee on secondary education and later in the year 1964-66 it was the Kothari commission on education, though there are several these three can be looked as an important.
Failure of Implementation
As the voluminous material could not withstand which were available in the form of suggestions and recommendations which were flown from the committees and commissions, the reform on education is still in an elusive mood and we have not seen any significant changes or break through has been achieved in bringing about changes in the fundamentals of the system which was thought as to make an effective instrument of national reconstruction. Hence the earlier existing system continued to rule made by the colonial rulers with little minor alterations which were more concerned about the exterior details. As this resulted in an direction less drift which is prevailing in the present system today, as one can see the present educational system an uninspiring and disconcerting.
The present crisis in education is a crisis in implementing the same essentially. As in our country no dearth of ideas or suggestions in bringing out changes in educational systems, but the several ideas are lacking in putting them in to action.
The educational system which we have now lacks the goal of universal which requires constitutional directive which has become a distant dream, the gains we made in terms of enrolment will be set to nil by the drop out high incidence. Hence the ultimate result it brought as the number of illiterates in the country continues to remain. The extreme inadequacy of infrastructure facilities, as few reports on education have shown the pathetic condition of many of the schools in the country, from which it is evident that the resources available were not enough as in the present scenario it is highly difficult to provide even the basic or minimum facilities to such schools, as the allocation made for education still remains the below recommended average of 6% or less of the GDP.
A committee formed few years back have reported that the main aim of around quarter strength of the total students were opting for vocational system of education, though the recommendations were accepted as an policy decision, the implementation granted additional 5 years term but till date it fails to take off. As one can observe the strengthening of the higher education is rather a distantly accomplished, additionally the fast deterioration in the standard of education in the university level of education, as our universities by and large never functioned as centers of excellence instead they have widened the horizons of knowledge, failed to provide intellectual leadership which were desired in the initial stages. As it is time now to make an earnest effort to identify the reasons for failure in what could have been achieved by declaring such objectives and remove any obstacles. Sufficient care has to be taken in future to see that such mistakes not to be repeated, the failures must become guidelines for the sake of the future if such reforms to become a reality.
The basic weakness in the present system is it lacks to reflect the national ethos, national spirit which were marked as an important aspect, inculcating the national feeling and which helps the students to develop a national vision is another aspect of educational, one must have the knowledge of history, tradition and its values, one must understand the basic of our national unity and our culture, but not now lot of inputs required to imbibe a sense of national pride, which is required to be included in the present curriculum.
Further the education is to be linked to socio-economic and for social needs, the main purpose of education should not become to create just human robots or making a skilled manpower towards the global market, educational levels should be changed and it should become an effective instrument for economic development for a social change. As our country have enormous resources due poverty could not be exposed, yet to be harnessed whereby we can raise living conditions of the common man, as we are not able to tune our educational systems to make this end successful.
The individual and material gains are the main goal and focus of the present educational systems, these needs to be addressed properly in all levels of education. From the social point of view the present level of country is marked by dissensions and cleavages, mixed with old and new, which never be compatible each other to meet the demands of society, the need of the hour is right kind of education must focus on economic and social needs of the society, education must help to produce the army of skilled personnel with a sense of social awareness and commitment.
From where it has to start
It has to start from gross root level that is from primary level, have to avoid dropouts, we need to give this a top priority, which needs a detailed study to know the causes of drop outs should be made on a long term planning, which needs extending necessary facilities and with right incentives to the learners and also to the teaching mass.
Moreover a single factor which has to be given more importance in the level primary education is the level of imparting education it should be in the mother tongue or we can say regional language, one need to take a firm decision to implement this without delay. Further, the content of education should be relevant to the necessity for day to day life, that means the curriculum must be indigenous and within the limits of knowledge of the teacher and the taught. The time table and academic calendar has to be changed in accordance to the life style and also occupation of the concerned, which needs a mass awakening program and make them to understand the need and necessity of literacy and education, learning should be productive and enjoyable, before the schools need to be equipped with basic infra structure facilities, before teacher needs to be trained in this level for imparting education in the right path like issues concerning culture, writing, reading, arithmetic and other relevant core subjects.
What to be done from secondary education
From this level the strengthening of the vocational stream has to be made by bringing the gap closer between world of work and world of knowledge. Needs to inculcate the value of respect in manual work and also in dignity of labor, it should be connected between the local and regional needs, which can develop an appropriate technology for indigenous development and a change in the society, a redesigned curriculum which can provide a multi track way to the future vocation not a uni-track path. Skills like communication, comprehension, logical, creative, management, information technology must be given top priority over a mere book learning.
Changes required in University and Higher educational levels
Universities are centers of learning and research, it should give an importance in horizon expansion in knowledge and intellectual leadership must be provided, but today these universities were a mere examination conducting bodies, to change these attitudes certain qualities are required they are system of affiliation with gradual dispensing, a fair and true trial must be given to autonomous colleges, one must make sure these experiments gets a success or not.
According to an survey we have around 240 universities with 9000 colleges and around 35%-40% are viable, and remaining of them mostly get a substandard education in most ill-equipped colleges, one cannot expect such learners capable of meeting the challenges in all the fields, here such colleges needs improvement of infraqstructure.
A formal community system of education in higher level is feasible here which will provide horizontal and vertical mobility inside the academic framework, an frequent examination of such procedures are requirement at the moment.
The information technology the new revolution has to be used extensively as this science has made an impact effect in the field of education, has to used at all levels, it will open up a new world of opportunities for both women and young men but a serious look at the damage caused to values and identity must also be noticed, which is a matter of serious consideration. But as per the studies the negative effects of the recent invasion of these technologies is the relegation of humanities and basic sciences to take a back foot, from the original research in various spheres of knowledge, as both the sciences have an significant importance, the need of the hour is to promote and protect the importance of these qualities in a meaningful path.
As the level of higher education is very crucial for any developmental process, it needs to be strengthened, the governing authorities has to play a major role in strengthening and supporting the higher education system, the present argument is that the higher level of education is getting a major share at the cost of primary level of education, though it have a little justification but one should not forget the both have its own importance, primary level of education should get its due attention in all aspects but in turn if higher level of education is neglected then it could become a disastrous.
Education a commercial aspect
The private organizations will have to play a very important role in the area of education, leaving the vacuum open in the name privatization it could become a self defeating proposition, such processes may not only denude education with an noble value and all ideals associated to it, further it will widen the gap of social disparity also, hence commercialization of education must be curbed in the interest of the education at large.
Education and its finance
In expenditures one incurs on education can be an investment for the future, the targets could not be achieved with sufficient funds, hence it needs available funds, therefore a determined and maximum efforts has to be made if one needs to achieve the target of 6% of the GDP on education, it needs the cop-operation of non governments also as it has to play a supporting role in this behalf, but the major chunk is in the hands of the governing authorities.
Change in examination system
It needs a thorough and detailed revision to make the present examination an comprehensive system with evaluation abilities and also achievements of the students, this process must cease to be a mechanical exercise and also an fault finding process. The training of teachers from gross root to higher levels should be seriously considered for a meaningful reformation, it is also important teacher must be equipped to play an important role in the implementation of an meaningful educational system.
Independent body to govern education
It is absolutely necessary to formulate an independent or autonomous body like Judiciary or election commission etc., as one can expect a required guidance from such bodies, which will co-ordinate and also monitor the educational policies implementation, as this demand is made by certain educational expert way back, as such bodies will become responsible in assessing the overall performance of educational institutions in all levels, as it is necessary to create such agencies or bodies is the need of the hour.
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above all, the government and schools should make arrangements in relation to reduce the book luggages borne by students. it is highly pity in seeing their difficulty.
Recognizing the renewed global focus on the need for education reform, IIM Kashipur is proposing to hold a Seminar in Delhi on 25-26 March 2013 to discuss this issue more comprehensively. A preliminary outline of the event is attached herewith.
We, at IIM Kashipur, strongly feel that this seminar should include your participation wherein you will set in a new perspective on the reform agenda for us from your regional / country context.
For details contact:
Prof K M Baharul Islam, PhD
Chair, Planning & Development,
Indian Institute of Management (IIM)
Kashipur 244713 (Uttarakhand)
Tel (Dir) Off: +91 5947 262177
Res: 05947-262064 Fax: +91 5947 262820
This article is suitable and deserving to be continuously updated.
There are many developments after this article was published like the Right to Education and its impact and effects. The FYUP issue in Delhi university is also another one to be touched upon.
If such an updating exercise can be taken up, this article can be used as a reference article.