25% of the Indian population is illiterate.
Only 7% of the population that goes to school managed to graduate and only 15% of those who enrol manage to make it to high school and achieve a place in the higher education system.
A few reasons why education in India is given less importance in some areas are as follows:
80% of schools are managed by the government. Private schools are expensive and out of reach of the poor.
More hands to earn remains the mentality amongst many families and therefore little kids are set out to fend for the family over going to school to garner an adequate education, in the most literal sense of the word.
Infrastructure facilities at schools across rural areas and in slums dispense very poor quality of education.
The teachers are not well qualified and therefore not well paid and therefore are not willing to work hard enough. This has been a classical Catch-22 problem that the government has been trying hard to fight against.
An Overview Of The Levels of Education in India
The type of education systems in India can be classified as:
1) Pre primary education in India: Pre-primary school education in India is not a fundamental right and is divided into two levels – Lower KG ( for children between 3 – 4 years) and Upper KG ( for children between 4 – 5 years).
2) Primary Education in India: This serves as the link between primary school and elementary education. However, not much emphasis is laid on this level by the prevailing education system and policies in this regard continue to exist solely on paper.
3) Elementary Education: The Government has made elementary education compulsory for children between the age group of years 6 and 14.
4) Secondary Education in India: Serves as a link between elementary and higher education in the Indian education setup, which draws a blank again as far as policy is concerned.
5) Higher Education in India: Under graduate and post graduate level: After completion of secondary education, students can choose fields of their interest and pursue undergraduate and then post graduate courses.
Catering to the largerst population in the world is no easy task and as the annals of beureaucracy dictate, there are more than 15 education boards across the country.
While some of them are regional, the more interesting ones are listed below:
The NCERT – Apex Body for curriculum:
As far as school education and its functions are concerned, the National Council of Educational Research and Training takes care of all curriculum related matters. Various schools in the country seek technical assistance from this body.
State Government Boards: Since 80% of the schools in India are managed by the government, this is the board under which the most children in India get enrolled. The Board of Secondary Education across major states has achieved its objectives of developing various systems.
CBSE: The Central Board of Secondary Education which falls under the purview of the Central Government is a board of education for both public and private schools in India.
ICSE: The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations Board is a non-governmental and private education board for education in India.
NIOS: Established by the Government of India and the Ministry for Human Resource Development in 1989, the National Institute of Schooling Board aims at providing quality education in rural areas in a inexpensive manner.
Cambridge International Exams/IB: International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International Examinations offer international qualifications to students. This is a recent phenomenon in various parts of the country and is mostly offered by upmarket schools and the like.
Islamic Madrasah Schools: These schools may be either controlled by the state government, run autonomously or may be affiliated with the Darul Uloom Deoband that is in the Sahranpur District of Uttar Pradesh.
While there are a number of drawbacks of the education system in India, a number of efforts are being made to create awareness and action for education in India.
Efforts like the Sarva Shisksha Abhiyan aim at making education and good quality of life for today’s children possible by providing community owned school systems. Another indicator of a brighter tomorrow is the Right of Children to free and compulsory education. Large investments in the education system truly make us believe that the children of India will get off the streets and start making education their mainstay for a successful life.
Like with most things we are exposed to today, there are two sides to the education system in India – both good & bad which has made it a subject of many essays and a lot many discourses.