For decades, the Indian education sector has suffered due to deteriorating quality of education, inept teachers and substandard infrastructure. Even after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power in 2014, several promises didn’t go beyond the paper. And now that the Narendra Modi government has again taken charge, with a bigger mandate, hopes are high that the country’s education will be reshaped, and soon.
In fact, for India, revised education policies make more sense due to its young demography, comprising more than 300 million school-and-college-going mass and around 1 million of those who enter the country’s workforce every month.
So, what does the new regime promises this time?
Under Modi’s governance, the current educational reforms include three key initiatives—a New Education Policy, expansion in the list of the Institutes of Eminence, and a single regulator for higher education. These pillars are set to be deployed by the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) within the next 100 days, and likely to bring positive outcomes across the country. In addition to these, the MHRD will also roll out a five-year vision document that will focus on other important factors such as quality, research and innovation, access, excellence, employability, governance systems, technology integration in education, among others. However, things will only improve when the government addresses the existing challenges through some robust solutions.
More jobs for individuals speaking other languages: The government should create more jobs for individuals who pursue languages like Hindi and Urdu, instead of only focusing on English as the key differentiator. After all, India houses more Hindi-speaking masses compared to speakers of other languages.
Research and innovation to nurture creativity: The government needs to focus more on research and innovation among schools and universities. The move will encourage both public and private institutions to employ quality teachers who can nurture creativity in students. Innovative platforms and creative ways of educating students will help them absorb knowledge in a holistic manner, and develop practical skills to prepare them for real-world problems and future jobs.
Need to go beyond defunct curricula: There is no doubt that Indian education has remained monotonous for years. The government should, therefore, make it more interactive by organising interesting activities and increase student engagement. Hiring qualified teachers who can educate students beyond the syllabus and help in their personality development is the need of the hour.
Reinvigorating infrastructure: In many parts of India, students are reluctant to attend schools mainly due to inferior and substandard infrastructure. Many schools lack playgrounds, hygienic toilets, classrooms with decent seating, and libraries or libraries with ample books. The government should work primarily on these necessities and ensure that students can study in a hygienic environment with access to all the basic facilities.
Drafting policies is the accountability of any government. However, what makes the difference is how they implement these policies. We have heard promises, we have seen revisions, but what’s always been missing is effective implementation. Hopefully, this time we wouldn’t be disappointed by the government.