Why the Indian Education Sector is Badly in Need of Reforms and Revamp at all Levels

Why Building Human Capital is So Important for Higher Economic Growth

A quality education is needed for people in countries such as India, which aspire to be major players on the global stage. Education is necessary for building human capital that would go a long way in establishing capacities for economic and social growth of the country.

Further, the fact that all the major economies of the world have gotten to their present stage mainly because they invested in education is another reason why the Indian Education Sector assumes importance in light of its great power aspirations.

Moreover, the experiences of the so-called Asian Tiger Economies in South East Asia show that unless human capital is built, the concomitant improvements in economic growth and social quality of life cannot be achieved.

Thus, there are compelling reasons why the Indian Education Sector needs to be of world class standards to ensure that India becomes a superpower.

The Need for Reform of the Indian Education Sector

Having said that, there is much gap between rhetoric and reality as far as the Indian Education sector is concerned. Despite decades of governmental policies aimed at revamping and overhauling the sector, it continues to languish at the bottom due to a number of reasons.

These include lack of motivation and commitment of the participants, societal attitudes towards education and absence of a grassroots social revolution or transformation that can vastly improve quality and reduce the dropping out rate in the rural areas, and the very real aspect of lack of adequate funding from the government which coupled with leakages of existing funds due to corruption means that the trend towards educating their children in private schools is very much the case with parents in India.

Indeed, the fact that there is a yawning gap between the quality of education in the government schools and the private schools ensures that a majority of Indian children attend the latter irrespective of their income and social class.

Right to Education and the Present State of Education in India

While this might not be a bad thing in itself as quality education wherever obtained can lead to optimal outcomes, the fact remains that the Indian Government and the Indian State cannot abdicate its responsibility towards its citizenry in providing quality education.

Indeed, the fact that the Right to Education is now considered a fundamental right means that there is more than a moral obligation on the part of the state to impart high standard education to the masses.

In addition, the fact that the Indian Education Sector is a study in contrast wherein graduates from the premier institutions such as the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), IIMs (Indian Institute of Management) head Silicon Valley firms, those from the middle and lower tiered institutes cannot even find jobs due to them being unemployable means that there are serious inequities and inequalities within the sector.

For instance, research has shown that nearly 90% of Indian Graduates are unemployable due to the gap between their skills and the skills needed by the employers should cause concern to all stakeholders.

In other words, what this means is that it is not enough to attend college or schools, but, the more important thing is what one has learnt there.

Revamping Primary Education

Apart from this, the Primary Education in India also needs reform. Many of the students enrolled in either private or government schools often drop out before Class Seven or earlier due to economic and social problems and attitudes.

For instance, in the rural areas, the pressure on the primary school students to work as farmhands is especially high and despite the government offering free midday meals and other incentives, the dropout rates are very high indeed.

In addition, the cultural attitudes against educating girls means that even if they are encouraged to enroll in schools, the societal pressure to drop out and get married is so high that the dropout rates for girl students is among the highest in the world.

While these are problems over which the government can only do that much, nonetheless, the fact remains that together with social activists and societal stakeholders, a social transformation can be actualized that can remedy the situation to a certain extent.

Having said that, at the risk of repetition, one must again point to statistics that show that even High School students in many states exhibit ignorance of basic knowledge markers which highlights some of the deep problems that the Indian Education sector is under.

Reforming Higher Education

Talking about Secondary and Higher Education, as mentioned earlier, unless the quality of education goes up tremendously, the problem of degree holder unable to find jobs would persist.

Indeed, many experts believe that the so-called Demographic Dividend wherein India, by virtue of its youthful population would leapfrog economically can turn into a Demographic Nightmare if the present trends in education and employment continue. Thus, the case for reform of the Indian Education Sector cannot be stronger.

Conclusion: Bottom up Approach

Such reforms can happen if the government takes a bottom up approach to the sector instead of resorting to catchy slogans and popular jingles.

In other words, it must walk the talk and ensure that change happens from within and starts from the bottom.

In short, what is needed is a cultural and social transformation much like the Indian Independence Movement where the emphasis is on reaching out to the masses and taking them along in the journey towards excellence.

To conclude, India risks massive social unrest if its youth are undereducated and unemployable and hence, the right place to start is by reforming the Indian Education Sector.

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