Thursday, August 20, 2009

Growing Literacy, Falling Education

Anti-Darwinian Development-
Growing Literacy, Falling Education –
Dr. Satyapal Singh *
* Commissioner of Police Pune, ( Maharashtra ) mailto:EMail-%20%20drsinghsp@yahoo.co.in
The simple concept of human development has been lost to the sophisticated vanity and complicated language of economic planners. The education and health-the acquisition of knowledge and the bodily strength have always been considered the building blocks of human personality. The harmonious development of a human society, according to me, must encompass the six but inseparable activities. Education and experiments, safety and security, health and environment, economic prosperity, entertainment and the last, but not the least is the harmony and hope in the society.
Out of the above six parameters of development, the education and experiments constitute the core of human development. Starting from individual growth to social sustenance and national progress or the global peace all are dependant on quality education. The Indian seers and visionaries of yore regarded education as the purifier and the first and foremost attribute (of Purushartha Chatustaya) of human being. The education alone separates him from the animal-species and elevates him on a higher pedestal. The Indian National Policy on Education, 1986 reverberated the same thought by stating that education is the foundation and an investment not only for socio-economic progress but for human development also. In today's world of global competitiveness knowledge is the key resource and the harbinger of human-progress.
Achievements:
In India, after independence, there have been major achievements in the field of education as outlined by Dr. Vedprakash (2006)1.
· A considerable expansion in the number and spread of educational institutions.
· Incremental expansion in the number of teachers.
· Rise in enrolment at all levels of education.
· Decline in dropout rates.
· A move towards gender parity.
· Reduction of regional disparities in literacy level.
· Social mobilization generated by literacy campaigns which impacted other sectors like women's empowerment, health and environmental awareness.
· Expenditure on education shows a continuous upward trend since independence.
· Trend registered a sharp increase after education was brought on the concurrent list of the Indian Constitution.
· Expenditure on overall education increased from 0.68% of GDP in 1951-52 to 3.86% of GDP in 2004-05.
· Expenditure on secondary education has increased from 0.13% in 1951-52 to 0.89% in 2004-05
· Indian professionals working abroad in the fields of computer, engineering, medicine and science have made the country proud.

Inadequacy of the System
However, despite official recognition by the Govt. of India that education constitutes a crucial investment for national survival, the pattern of allocation of resources to education remains far from satisfactory, if judged in terms of adequacy, efficiency and equity - infrastructure, quality and socio-economic equality. According to the Human Development Report (2001)2 India ranks 104th among the 143 countries of the world on which data are available about the share of public expenditure on education in GNP. India is spending about 3.5% of her GNP to education. In comparison, a large number of countries have been spending more than 6%, some more than 8% and a few more than 10%. Some of the countries which spend more than 4% of GNP on education include countries which are economically poorer than India (Tilak, 2005)3. The Indian government had set a long time ago a target of 6% of the GNP to be spent on education. However, this target is not yet achieved and may continue to elude in the future. In fact amongst the countries with a population of 100 million or more, India figures at the bottom except Bangladesh.
According to the experts, a country has to cross the thresfold level of 20% access to higher education if she wants to become a developed nation. Unfortunately in India the access to higher education is about 9%. What to talk about the higher education when 46 million children in India do not have even access to primary schools. About 20 million children are working as child labourers in ghetoo-industries. And for the children attending schools, the dropout rates from 1st to 5th standard are 35%, from 1st to 8th standard is 53% and from 1st to 10th it is 62% (NIEPA)4. It means that about 38% students only pass out 10th. Out of around 260 million students who pass out 12th standard, about 20% do not even get admission in colleges due to inadequacy of infrastructure (number of seats, class rooms etc.). We really do not know how many years it will take for India to become a developed country and reach the thresfold level of 20% access to higher education.
According to a study conducted by the Indian Merchants' Chamber, Mumbai5 the portfolio of Education has been devalued both at the level of Centre and the States. As a result, literacy in the country has been limping at around 65%.
There is a shortage of trained manpower. The current educational system is woefully inadequate to train our youth to become qualified human resources. This shortage is likely to worsen as systemic initiatives to address such a serious issue are absent.
There is a lack of synchronization between what the industry requires and the kind of education that is offered by the system.
A few key statistics can illustrate the major ills that are prevailing in our present system.
· Drop-out rate in schools from KG to 10+2 ranges from 90 to 94%.
· China has about 1.80 million schools as compared to India's 0.95 million schools.
· About 7 to 8% of the youth who finish the 10+2 stage enter the 17,600 colleges of India. Most of the so called graduates are not­ employable.
· China has about 900 Universities, Japan 4,000 while India has only 354 Universities.
· The coaching business is getting bigger than the education business.
· While 75 to 85% of the youth in developed and developing countries learn a skill or competence or trade between the ages of 14 to 35 through vocational education and training, in India the vocational training hardly covers 3 to 5% of the population.
· India has about 5000 ITIs (Ministry of Labour) and 7,000 vocational schools (Ministry of HRD) as compared to China's about 5,00,000 senior secondary vocational schools.
· India has 300 million able bodied people between the ages of 18 to 50 but are bereft of skill sets and are, therefore, not employable.
· Only 1 in 4 Indian graduation is deemed as employable.
The above mentioned scenario has unfortunately emerged at a time when India is on
the threshold of carving a highly prominent niche for itself in the global arena.
Presently India is the fourth largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing Power, next to USA, China and Japan. By 2010, India will emerge as the third Largest economy overtaking Japan.
With the 21st century economy being largely knowledge driven, India has the potential to carve a prominent niche for herself in knowledge and service industries.
This is a serious situation when we look at the national scenario on quantitative plane.
Education is getting devalued
(i) Modem education system only guarantees the degrees by collecting fees. It is commercialized like mere shops or industries. So, it has been vulnerable to all kinds of unfair means in Examination, leaking of question-papers, manipulation of marks etc.
(ii) Sole reliance on degrees/diplomas for employment has led to a different breed of crime- fake marksheets, degrees, mushrooming of shady/unrecognised colleges and universities.
(iii) There is a big question mark on the quality and relevance of our higher education. In the survey of world's top educational institutions, conducted in year 2004, only our two IITs figured in top 500 institutions, that also quite below in the list.
(iv) Emphasis is on bookish knowledge alone, not to build the health or character of a student. Hardly or no input about life­ values, morality and enduring happiness.
(v) Modern education's emphasis is on money and materialism and pleasure
hunting. Educated people are becoming more and more self-centered.
Enjoyment, not knowledge and peace, is becoming objective and leading to all sorts of deviant behaviour. Among girls prostitution, call-girls, live in relationships, unwed mothers are emerging as a serious concern for social stability.
(vi) More education has led many to frustration and tension. The number of rising suicides among youth prove it; diseases like B.P." diabetes" heart-attacks are now assailing the younger generation.
(vii) Modern education is leading to more crimes. Commercial/financial/
complicated crimes are committed by highly educated people. This country is being looted by educated and rich; more damaging to national economy and security. Comparison of tribal and developed societies prove it.
(viii) Modern education has created some wrong notions - Man and Women are equal. They are not equal. Woman, in fact, is more important and superior. A mother is the builder of the family and nation; she is the cradle of culture. A father can be replaced by a simple injection now - in the 21st century.
(ix) This erroneous concept of man-woman equality has led to irreparable damage to society. Same kind of education is being imparted to both boys and girls. A girl may or may not become engineer, doctor, C.A., bureaucrat, scientist; police officer or a business-woman but almost everyone would become a wife and mother. Are we teaching our girls to become good wives and better mothers?

Other Challenges:
The Indian education system faces a lot more other challenges ahead like:
· Universalization of elementary education.
· Bridging the gap in resources provided to urban and rural institutions.
· Focus on gender and equity - and how to cope up with reservations in higher and technical education.
· Operationalization of 86th Constitutional Amendment-Right to Education Bill, 2005 and the recent Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill (2009).
· Challenges of moving towards universal secondary education.
· Promotion of alternative delivery system to respond to the needs of children with diverse background.
· Bridging the knowledge gap between English medium, computer equipped urban schools and rural school-madarsas.
· Unity in diversity and respect for all.
· Institutionalization of work and education interface.
· Reinventing school curricula to meet emerging challenges. Also to stop the falling graph of life values.
· Increased role of NGOs.
· Public spending in education to be raised to 6% of the GDP.
· Teacher development - key to quality.
· Quality education-relevant to industries and development needs.
· Corporate partnership with social responsibility.
· International collaboration in developing professional institutions.

Need of the Hour
If social thinkers, development-planners, educationalists and political masters wish to make a real contribution and make education as the key to human development then we will have to
(1) Redefine the role of education. We have to return to the basics:
What is education? A seer answers
lk f’k{kk ;k foeqDr;s Saa Shiksha yaa vimuktaye.
Education is that which liberates us - from all kinds of ignorance, injustices and deprivations. It solves all difficulties, cures all diseases and dispels all distress. In fact, the former Union HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi while speaking to the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education, asserted the centrality of education to the Indian heritage. "Pursuit of integral knowledge and liberation, which has been a constant endeavour of Indian culture, is also the central objective of education," Joshi told the conference (1998)6, He further addressed the connection between education and the preservation of culture:

"Education is also visualized as an evolutionary force so that each individual is enabled to evolve from purely material consciousness towards superior planes of intellectual and spiritual consciousness. Education is also perceived as a bridge between the past, present, and the future and as a means by which the best of the heritage is transmitted to the generations for its further progression (Joshi, 1998)."
Education- a real education must teach 4 things or we can say that the entire educational edifice is based on the following four premises :.

(i) ( Vidya ) Knowledge - bookish knowledge starting from earth and bio sciences to
space science; from self consciousness to universal consciousness; from individual growth to social progress and world peace- all have to be the part of bookish knowledge.
(ii) (Sabhayata) Civilization - control of nature external-through use of technology
and engineering; to control the forces of nature for common weal and sustained development. Education (knowledge) must lead to experiments. Knowledge is proved and patented only through experiments. Our civilization-­infrastructure developments - application of technology and engineering - the trains, planes, medicine, surgery etc. all are the products of experiments. Where experiments cease, knowledge dwindles and becomes a burden and not a benedictor. Experiments involve the society, invigorate its members, infuse harmony and improve the capacity of all participants.
(iii) (Dharmikta) Righteousness moral conduct and courage to follow the truth.
Individual purity and social discipline (Truth, non-violence, non-stealing, non-hoarding etc.) Spiritualism ­treating others like our own self.
(iv) ( Jitendriyata ) Control of mind & senses - a balanced and healthy life style;
controlling anger, passions, greed; faithfulness between husband and wife and so on.
(2) Design new curriculum incorporating therein compulsory courses which are vital
for human health, happiness and social development. Dr. Radhakrishnan- our philosopher President ­had said "the future of India will be shaped in her classrooms.”
(3) Planning of human being should be our focus - so the role of mother is crucial. A woman has to be placed on higher pedestal. Education of girls must be of paramount importance. The first teacher and inspiration for a child is always his/her mother. Therefore, the first step in the arduous journey of human development must focus on girl child education, health and preparation for motherhood. What kind of major and subsidiary courses should be there for girls - we have to think seriously.
(4) Girl-students should be persuaded, inspired to join innovative,
creative programmes (not conventional courses as is the case now). Innovative courses are like Mass media, Bio­technology, Ayurveda, bio-chemistry, Astrophysics, MBAs, Maths, Architecture etc.

The 21st Century needs visionary leaders in the crucial sectors of education. A school/college teacher has traditionally been a manager ­managing class and a status-quoist. 21st century needs teachers who can bring out change, foster change, innovate and lead. Such minds only can give a clear vision, transform a society and create a better world. There is an urgent need to stem the rot in the field of education. Literacy and education must go hand in hand and so should be the case with knowledge and life values Knowledge without moral values is not an education at all.
True education combines the qualities of head, heart and the hands. It is logical, rational and in tune with the laws of nature. It has the feelings of compassion, love and respect not only for other human beings but also for other non-claimant stake holders. True education teaches the dignity of labour and strongly opposed to the exploitation of man by his stronger counterpart. Let our education be rooted in culture and oriented to development. Let us remember, in a globalised world today-one good model of education will be followed up throughout the globe. The whole world is watching .
References
1. Dr. Vedprakash, "Education in India Achievements & Challenges”
22nd March, 2006. NIEPA, New Delhi.
2. Human Development Report, 2001 (UN).
3. Tilak J.B.G. “ Financing Education in India ” (2005); NIEPA, New Delhi.
4. Dr. Vedprakash, (2006), NIEPA, New Delhi.
5. “ Education – empowering the youths ” address by Shri NayanPatel, President, Indian Merchants’ Chamber, Mumbai (July 18, 2006).
6. World Education Encyclopedia, Page 596.

9 comments:

  1. Dear Sir:

    It is heartening to see a person who ordinarily would be terribly busy in the day-to-ay affairs of the workplace can find time to take such deep interest in the foundational aspects of humankind.

    I am particularly interested in sharing with you an astonishing form of Yoga known as Siddha Mahayoga, or the Yoga of Spiritual Self-Awakening.

    Unlike other forms of Yoga such as Hatha Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Laya Yoga etc., in this Yoga, it is the awakened Spiritual Shakti that takes charge and various Yoga Kriyas take place that are seemingly automatic.

    Here, only those Yoga Kriyas happen to the aspirant that are needed for his internal purification.

    Most importantly, as the aspirant progresses on this path, an inner experience of Oneness and kinship is felt.

    As this yoga is for the benefit of all, it could be tried out with the personnel from your workforce with benefits that are there for being experienced.

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    With deep regards

    Anand Kulkarni
    Siddha Mahyoga Aspirant

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,
    You are absolutely right. India has been ranked at the second last place among seven developing countries in terms of education quality as it score minimum points in primary, secondary, tertiary and demographic parameters as compared to other six emerging economies of the World

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  3. Hello Sir,
    your are correct our new generation is getting edutacted but they are forgetting thier responsiblities and all. for such people there is a proverb in gujrati "Bhanya pan ganya nahi".

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  7. The Indian education system faces a lot more other challenges ahead like:
    · Universalization of elementary education.
    · Bridging the gap in resources provided to urban and rural institutions.
    · Focus on gender and equity - and how to cope up with reservations in higher and technical education.
    · Operationalization of 86th Constitutional Amendment-Right to Education Bill, 2005 and the recent Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill (2009).


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