Education is very important. No one would argue about the validity of this statement. But good education in various countries is very limited. Most of the time, the scarce resource of a good school education is only available to the few elites of the society. This seems to be especially true in India.
According to Kartikeya Sharma of iTV, India has a GER of 19 percent. GER or gross enrollment rate represents the number of students that are opting to enroll to a higher education after graduating from high school. This means that in 100 students who finish high school education, only 19 will enroll for higher education.
India’s GER is around 6% below the current world average and over 50% below first world countries like the USA and Australia. The government aims to increase this percentage by at least 30 percent before the end of 2020.
Before the government can do so, a great deal of critical analysis needs to be done about the importance of education accompanied by the implementation of new rules and regulations that could make the quality of education in India better.
To start this great revolution, here is an in-depth analysis of what are the fundamental problems with India’s educational system and how they should be changed.
1. Lack of Hands-on Experience
Every year, a list of the world’s top 200 universities is published. For year 2014-2015, no Indian university made it to this list. This does not mean, however, that the country doesn’t have a good standing. At least 4 universities actually made it to the top 400. The Indian Institute of Science and Punjab University even made it to the top 300. This fact alone is sufficient to ring the alarm bells that India’s higher education system needs desperate changes, to provide students with the competitive edge, that other countries’ education system is providing.
The number one thing to note about this is the fact that most universities that offer higher education focus on textbooks and they completely lack in giving students a hands-on experience. It’s common knowledge that a child who does not have much exposure with other children often have difficulties in reaching basic milestones like talking, walking, and many more. But a child that is exposed with adults and other children often have a faster time developing their skills.
If a student is given thousands of books to read but not given enough time to apply what he has learned, he will not be able to develop his skills. On average, an engineering student has to study over 40 subjects; this is probably equal to around 6000 hours of attending classes and more than 300,000 pages of engineering information. Of the 6000 hours devoted to studying, only around 500 hours is actually spent on hands-on lab work.
If the government wants to reach its goal of a 30% GER by 2020, the education in India should be more project-based or hands-on.
2. Lack of Relevant Industry
India, today is known for the service industry. Gone are the days when students wanted to be doctors, engineers, architects and the like. Most of the students of today often end up in the service industry after completing higher education. With the rise of IT industries and BPO companies, Indian graduates usually end up as call center agents because of the high salary. If not in the IT industry, most Indian graduates of higher education often end up in an industry that has nothing to do about what they studied for more than 4 years in the university.
In order to encourage students to further their studies and enter higher education, the government should create more industries. If a student knows that there is an opportunity to have a better standard of living by finishing a certain course or degree, the country’s GER will definitely increase as planned.
3. Short Supply of Educators
To date, there are over 100 million teenagers in India between the ages of 17 to 19. Given the GER of the country, this means that around 19 million students enroll to institutes for a higher education every year. This amount is just 19% GER. This means that there are more than 80 million students who just don’t have access to the opportunity of a higher education even if they wanted to.
With the 19 million enrollees, there should be at least 1.9 million the number of teachers. This is if the ideal student-teacher ratio of 10:1 should be followed in the system of education in India. However; the number is very very less. On an average the higher education classes has student-teacher ratio of 100:1. In some cases, it’s even more than that. Acute lack of teachers, doesn’t provide the attention the students’ should be getting and it hampers the education perspective on the whole. Moreover, out of these enrollees, very very few opt for education based degrees.
With the amount of higher education enrollees every year, roughly only around 3.5 million students actually graduate and enter the workforce annually. Most of the 3.5 million even end up in the IT and BPO industry. So, this means that there is a very short supply of future educators in the country.
If the government wants to reach its 2020 goal for education in India, they should address this problem and create more opportunities and benefits for teachers in order to entice students to enter the academe.