Lot of reading really. The management has been reading up research papers and reports of the status of education in India, and the rest of the team has been reading up fervently on how to simplify our academic education.
A lot of facts came up in this enlightening process. We found out that India has a significant amount of money reserved for schooling and literacy. Three lac crores. Yes. That much. The problem however is that most of these funds are allocated to individual states to work on. That, my friends, is a problem right there. De-centralization.
Looking at the current state of education in our country (don’t Google that, the results are depressing), we need reforms which are controlled tightly in one place. Agreed that it is going against the tide of globalization, but to instil some hope in the education sector, this is the only way out. And we’re not going to be the first to do this. Almost all the countries “on top of the education charts” have done this, and are now where they are. Now, there is a very important thing to remember. We need to imitate what these countries have done fifteen to twenty years ago, when their state of education was in doldrums, and adapt those techniques to our nation. Not directly copy what they do today. This seems like a no-brainer, but it isn’t.
And centralization is what they did twenty years ago. We’re talking academic and administrative policies here. This is going to be very strenuous on the central government, but, as they say, “Someone has to do the dirty laundry!” The new government seems to have the grit to do it, and if done, would be a positive step in the right direction.
The twelfth five-year plan focuses on learning outcomes in primary education. While the main focus is on infrastructural and administrative development, learning outcomes has got some attendance too. Here are some issues that need to be answered regarding learning outcomes.
1. What are the quantified learning outcomes?
2. Is there going to be a common syllabus?
3. Is there going to be a standardized common test?
4. Are guidelines going to be given for teachers for imparting knowledge?
5. What are the core areas of focus going to be? Expression? Logic? Understanding?
6. Is there going to be consistency vertically across classes, and horizontally across subjects?
7. Is the primary focus going to be instruction in the mother tongue? What about English literacy?
8. What about focus on technology?
As we see, a lot of questions remain to be answered. We’ve given some thought on these issues and will attempt to give solutions, which mostly are very simple to implement, and at times need a strong policy backing to put into action. We’ll put forth articles on these as we go along…
So, what are the benefits of centralization of academics in primary education? Several.
1. All the above questions will be answered, and applied uniformly across the country.
2. A long term academic goals can be devised and implemented across the country.
3. The diversity of India can be taken account of centrally and consistent policies can be formed accordingly.
4. Primary can eventually be extended to secondary education.
The outcome of this is only one. A strong resurgent India, in which the workforce is highly skilled and capable of being thought leaders, and not clerks, like we produce today.