Low enrolment in Government Schools – UPSC GS2

Context:
  • The proportion of India‚Äôs children attending a government school has now declined to 45 percent.
  • Whereas this number is 85 percent in America, 90 percent in England, and 95 percent in Japan.
  • This enrolment decline happened despite higher teacher salaries, teacher qualifications, and government spending.
  • This needs to be addressed because a quality, free and regular school education represents our most potent infrastructure of opportunity, a fundamental duty of the state.
Challenges and Issues
  • There is an issue of a huge dropout ratio and poor learning outcomes. For instance, only 50 percent of Grade 5 children being able to read a grade 2 text.
  • There are too many schools and 4 lakh schools have less than 50 students. Whereas China with a similar total student has only 30 percent of our school number.
  • Only 26 per cent of kids studies in English. Though, English has remained a significant factor for higher education pathways and employability.
What needs to be done?
  • Performance management, currently equated with teacher attendance, needs evaluation of scores, skills, competence, and classroom management. Scores need continuous assessments or end-of-year exams.
  • Teacher competence should be evaluated on child interaction, knowledge, planning capacity, communication, feedback abilities, and collaboration.
  • Classroom management needs assessment by classroom observation of learning, physical set-up, instructional differentiation, and communication.
  • Governance must shift from control of resources to learning outcomes. It includes learning design, responsiveness, teacher management, community relationships, integrity, fair decision-making, and financial sustainability.
  • Apart from reading, writing, and arithmetic, our education system should stress the need for competency and English awareness.
  • Currently, Education Policy is into Lists I (Centre), II (State), and III (concurrent jurisdiction). This fragmentation needs to be revisited because it tends to concentrate decisions that should be made locally.

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