Education: India’s Endeavour

I don’t know if I should believe the claim of the faculty of Amity University being the only university of the country filing 400 patents. On the channels of NDTV, an advertisement comes quite regularly with this content. Last year it was advertising with its strength of 100 PhDs in its faculty busy in research work. I wish it to be correct and be example for other private and state universities. Are these advertisements for attracting aspiring students passing class XII from different education boards of the country or for convincing the regulatory authorities about its infrastructure? However, it is certainly a good marketing of the educational institute.

Indian universities have lagged behind in focusing on R&D. I still don’t know if it is because of the inferior quality of the faculty in the universities or the scarcity of fund for the necessary infrastructure. Unfortunately, more than anything else, it is lack of zeal required for research work and innovation and deteriorating dedication in the profession that was a very respectable one once.

I came across a good programme on two private B-Schools of the country on CNN-IBN recently. However, there is difference in claims in ads and the reports that the channel prepares and transmits for the information of the general public. I wonder these are not the paid ones sponsored by the institutes for its publicity. Many of these institutes are claiming today about its research programme.

However, the serious most for good education for any country is its primary education system that lays the foundation of the knowledge society.

India has perhaps the largest student community in the world. However, the primary schooling, particularly in rural India, is of very poor quality and this is the challenge that India must face with all its resources including the assistance from India Inc, and its mandatory CSR. As per the recent reports the country has seen a tremendous rise in enrolment going up to 96 percent, but the number of dropouts between primary school and higher institutes are extremely high and certainly unacceptable, as it means poor productivity of the teaching system.

India has already got successful models of schools in Kendriya Vidyalayas, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, and Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalayas and many in private sector. And some of the leading business houses such as Ambanis, Tatas, Birlas, and many willing ones must adopt 100 rural schools each to take education of the right quality to the remote villages in next five years.

It is the need of the day and was clear in the emphasis that President Pranab Mukherji in his Republic Day Address: “Education is the ladder that can help those at the bottom to rise to the pinnacles of professional and social status. Education is the mantra that can transform our economic fortunes and eliminate the gaps that have made our society unequal. So far education has not reached, to the extent desired, to those most in need of this ladder. India can double its growth rate by turning today’s disadvantaged into multiple engines of economic development.”

The government departments must save from its expenditure and spend in setting up hundreds of schools of proven models, one in every panchayat of the country. Let us look at the tremendous potentials of the country through these numbers: The number of school children is 226.7 million school students as per the most recent 8th All India Education Survey (AIES) and as many as 1.3 million schools, which means that on the average there was a school for every 173 students. What will be the potential impact of the schooling system if there are no dropouts and each child in school system could go for the higher education or certain employable skill training?

We keep on hearing the news of closing down of private colleges of management and engineering because of the lack of the students not coming for the entrance. School education, particularly in rural India, must get the maximum attention of all, be it government, be it India Inc. or NGOs and philanthropists.

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