Indian Education Sector Analysis
According to IBEF:
· India has 850 operational universities as of April 2018.
· With both the Government and the private sector stepping up to invest in the Indian education sector, the number of schools and colleges have seen an uptrend over the past few years.
· Government’s initiative to increase awareness among all sections of the society has played a major role in promoting higher education among the youth.
· Total number of agricultural universities in the country increased from 35 in 1999 to 75 in 2017.
Indian Education System is divided into 4 levels of schooling:
Primary Education is further divided into 2 parts: lower primary (standards: I to V) and upper primary (standards: VI to VIII). This level of education is compulsory and free in India. Schooling is offered at state-run and private schools. The regional language is the medium of instruction for most primary schools and English as a second language generally begins by grade 3.
Secondary education begins in grade 9 and lasts until grade 12. This stage is further divided into 2 two-year cycles generally referred to as General/Lower Secondary School, or ‘Standard X’, and Upper/Senior Secondary School, or ‘Standard XII’.
Students who do not wish to go on to tertiary education, or who fail to complete secondary school often enroll at privately-owned vocational schools that specialize in just one or only a few courses. The curriculum offered is composed up of a language course, foundation courses, and electives, of which half of electives are practical in nature.
University Grants Commission (UGC) oversees the university education. Bachelor’s degrees in the fields of arts, science, social studies, and commerce are almost exclusively three year programs. Professional Bachelor’s degrees, in the fields of Medicine, Architecture, Law, etc., vary from 4 – 5.5 years depending upon the discipline. Distance learning is also offered in this level of schooling for various courses for example, Masters of Social Work, P.G. Dip. in Library Automation & Networking, Symbiosis Distance Learning MBA, are some distance courses available.
Modern education in India is often criticized for being based on rote learning rather than problem solving. New Indian Express says that Indian Education system seems to be producing zombies since in most of the schools’ students seemed to be spending majority of their time in preparing for competitive exams rather than learning or playing.
Quality and access to education is the major concern in rural schools as there are fewer committed teachers, lack of proper text books and learning material in the schools. Though Government schools exist, but when compared to private schools then quality is a major issue.
Women’s literacy rate is much lower than men’s. Fewer girls are enrolled in schools, and many of them drop out. Conservative cultural attitudes also prevent some girls from attending school.
In rural areas, every village is not provided with school which means that students have to go to another village to get education. Owing to this parents usually do not send their daughters to school, leading to a failure in achieving rural education in India.
Latest Trends and Reforms
In the past few years, some latest trends and reforms have emerged in the Indian Education System to counter the above mentioned issues:
Smart Class from Educomp is a digital content library of curriculum-mapped, multimedia-rich, 3D content. This makes the class more interactive rather than being a rote-learning session for students.
Online Education Portals
Some players in the education sector have come up with innovative ideas in changing the education system by giving online help to students. Some of them are Everonn Education, NIIT, Core Education & Technologies, IL&FS, Compucom, HCL Infosystems, Learn Next, Tata Interactive Systems, Mexus Education, S. Chand Harcourt and iDiscoveri. Also, there has been a substantial increase in the number of institutes providing distance education especially Distance MBA in India.
More Schooling Options
High-level of stress in students caused by the mainstream schools have given rise to various alternative methods of schooling in India like Montessori schools, Krishnamurti schools, Home-Schooling and Gardner’s Model.
Under the Non-Formal Education programme (NFE), about 40% of the NFE centres in states and 10% of the centres in UTs are exclusively reserved for females. As of 2000, about 300,000 NFE centres were catering to about 7.42 million children. About 120,000 NFE centres were exclusively for girls.
Saakshar Bharat Mission for Female Literacy
This programme was formulated in 2009 with the objective of achieving 80% literacy level at national level, by focusing on adult women literacy seeking – to reduce the gap between male and female literacy to not more than 10 percentage points.
Indian Education System still predominantly follows the system laid by the British. Despite of having the IITs, IIMs and some of the best Law and Medical colleges, India’s contribution to the world of innovation is very low. Our education system should therefore focus on churning out not just engineers, but also entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, writers etc. all of whom are influential in the development of the economy.
But with the gradual increase of popularity and application of trends and reforms, India will surely progress on the International Education Rankings.