Tag Archives: Government expenditure

Poor Quality of Education in Government Schools

30 May

India is currently in the midst of one of the worst educational crisis which is being followed by huge inequity in the socio-economic status of its people. While there are a significant number of people falling under the upper and lower middle class of society in India, there is a huge population lying below poverty line with no major efforts towards the elevation of their status in society. 

  • 40% of India’s population is illiterate.
  •  Indian classrooms are understaffed (1 in 4 teachers will be absent on any given day)
  • Teachers are not engaging ( Only 50% are likely to be teaching at any given time)
  • Drop-out rate is unusually high (More than 1 in 3 children who begin primary school will drop out before reaching 5th grade)
  • Education spend is relatively low (India spends only 3.3 percent of its GDP on education, compared to an average 5.8 percent in developed countries) (Source: India’s Educational Crisis, Teach For India)

 “Perceptions and Myths on the Education System in India” by Child Rights and You (CRY) states that results after rigorous research and interaction with parents from the underprivileged sector shows that parents want to send their kids to schools regardless of which section of society they belong to and one of the major reasons of their kids’ dropping out of school is that they don’t witness any changes being brought by education in their child’s life. Further they also believe that the public or government schools are not functioning well as the teachers are generally absent or even if they are present they hardly show any inclination towards engaging their class through active presentation and child management skills. 

Thus, unquantifiable improvements in a child’s mental abilities, lack of immediate results and the sorry state of public schools are the major factors behind the drop-out rate being unusually high in India. 

The approach of the government has been to ‘provide’ education by ‘producing’ it through a vast network of government schools managed by state bureaucracy. However, government schools are failing the poor. Though Education spend is relatively low in India in terms of GDP the high rate of teacher absenteeism is not due to low salaries. In fact, in India, the ratio of average teacher salary to per-capita income is more than 3.5. The corresponding figure for US and UK are less than 2.0 and those for East Asian countries are less than 2.5. (source: Business Models for Providing Education to the Poor, Ayan Sarkar)

The problem is systemic – the government simply does not have the organizational wherewithal to ‘produce’ quality education for all. Fiscal measures have proven to be incapable of mitigating systemic inefficiencies and failed leadership. 

In order to provide education based on improvements in communication and life skills while increasing the confidence, spontaneity and other soft skills within a sustainable framework to children from vulnerable back grounds I visualize that a self sustainable educational model with alternative revenue sources can be an answer to the problems of schools running on grants or low economic backup by the government.  

This can be achieved by starting with a pilot project where we need to work with the education scholars and develop study and training modules with single minded devotion to develop English speaking ability in kids and help them get over their fear, gain confidence and acquire excellent communication skills. This is because English which is needed to get a good job is nonexistent in public schools. The vernacular medium of instruction does not leave the children with the confidence to study further, given that all higher learning is only in English. Even those who pass out of these schools and go further have little ability and confidence to get equal access to the new age jobs. Hence, the huge gap between those who have benefitted from economic liberalization and those who haven’t keeps on increasing day by day. (Source: http://www.parikrmafoundation.org/) 

This would also provide a quantifiable model, where changes in the overall personality of students and their standing in the class can be measured based on their acquired abilities and confidence levels. Further, the model would encourage children to take up subjects of their choice and make informed decisions through availability of unadulterated information. This information will not only provide consulting while making career choices but would also help them develop into creative and informed individuals who will bring positive changes in their respective communities. This would be our first step towards an India where all children will attain an excellent education.