Improve quality


Being one of the most dominant instrument for reducing poverty and inequality of society, education is central to the socio-economic and socio-cultural development of our society. Quality education is necessary to provide vital knowledge and skills mandatory for sustained economic growth and overall progress. The same stands true for developing states like ours. The education system in India generally follow the 8+2+2+3 pattern, which provides for eight years of elementary education, two years each of secondary and senior secondary schooling, and three years of university education. Within this structure, each state independently determines the number of grades constituting elementary and secondary education. In most states the first ten years of schooling are expected to provide general education without differentiation into arts, science, and vocational streams. According to Secondary Education Commission Report (1952) and Report of Education Commission (1964-66), elementary education aims to develop literacy and numeracy, acquaintance with the social and physical environment, creative expression and healthy living. Secondary education aims to develop the intellectual, social, and moral qualities essential for democratic citizenship, and to prepare young people for entry into the world of work or for continuation of academic pursuits. Senior secondary education is mainly for university preparation, and separates students into separate streams for arts, sciences, commerce, etc., having sub-groups within the various streams. Our state due to its peculiar geographical features poses a special challenge for its development and economic development with the result the state represents one of the under developed states of the country. Since education is central to the socio-economic and socio-cultural development, the growth and development of this critical sector needs special consideration and priority. Over the years the state has made considerable expansion in improving the educational standards and facilities and equalization of educational opportunities by various initiatives including introduction of various new programme interventions/schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiskshiya Abhiyaan (RMSA), etc, yet the quality parameters could not be maintained. There are still many challenges and obstructions which drastically affect the quality and standard of education. Some of the challenges include poor infrastructure, poor access to resources, inefficient teaching methodologies, scattered career counselling and awareness programmes, especially at senior secondary level. There is also inadequacy in standardizing the quality of teaching, antagonistic eligibility criteria in recruitments, inept and time consuming recruitment procedures, meagre interaction between science and society, fewer options for science graduates due to less intake capacity within the state. The politicization of transfers has also enormous implications for teacher motivation and morale. Many teachers have been transferred because of political and administrative interventions resulting in violation of rules and regulations which ultimately hampers quality assurance and maintenance. Further, when transfers are forced in the middle of the school year, with no replacement for the rest of the year, there is distraction in teaching and learning process. At the same time teacher recruitment forms the most key management issue in the education sector since teacher salaries consume the largest share of the state’s budget. But how do we handle these challenges to bring about the necessary changes in the education sector. The first need is to have at least minimum basic infrastructure in every institution which also includes separate school building with proper sanitation facilities. Among others it include subject specific teachers at secondary and higher secondary levels, proper career counselling and awareness programmes especially at higher secondary level; discouraging the practice of deputation of teachers to handle administrative assignments, conducting workshops, seminars, discussions, brainstorming etc on teaching methodologies, examination and evaluation system, careers, etc. If considered, among others, these measures perhaps shall pave way for creating a knowledge and value-based society. Also the parameters of access, equity and quality are integral to quality education. They should be addressed simultaneously, not in sequence. Further to improve enrolment, attendance, retention and improving learning levels of the children, concrete, focused and time bound initiatives have to be taken keeping in view the global changes and advances on the educational front.