Addressing Challenges in Secondary School Education

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Dr C Chandramohan,
Sr Adviser, Planning Commission, Government of India

Teachers of good quality can revolutionise education

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India has a large educational framework of primary and village schools. A total of 95 million children have enrolled in schools. There is  a substantial decline in the social and regional gaps in education.
The first issue is of lack of quality education. The other drawback is that although students have enrolled yet they are not progressing into the system so there is a significant drop out rate. With 8.9 million children out of school, good basic elementary education has to be achieved. In Secondary Education, demand has increased significantly and only a few states like UP, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Gujarat have a strong private sector participation in schools and higher education.
Secondary education cannot be achieved without full partnership with the private sector. The next step is to ensure the quality of teachers. The major problem is that we have about two lakh secondary school teachers who are not fully trained. Teaching has to be seen as a specialised profession which requires knowledge and skill. Teacher Education Scheme has been operational for the last two  decades, but nothing much has come out of it.
Pre-service teachers’ training has to be heavily invested in. About 600 universities have come up and eight more IITs and IIMs have  been added but the quality of education in these institutions has significantly dropped. Universities are of huge size, but they are  unmanageable at the micro level. Education today means reading thick books, whereas the curriculum has to change and things have to be broken down to small specs for better understanding. The primary aim of education is to provide generic and cognitive skills to the students. With the expansion of higher education institutes, we have to consider inclusion and quality in its wake.
Digital learning solutions are uniquely capable of bringing quality and inclusion to the education space.

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