Majority of India – living in villages – is still facing many challenges including the faulty education system. Solutions come, implementation practiced, yet the issue remains what is important or what is sensational? What deserves our full attention? Children are the future of republic but the educational system in rural are failing them.
The struggle and fight have never been to make rural India urban rather provide basic amenities that can make and shape people and free them from superstitious practices and values. This is possible only through the medium of education. The challenge is the mass which is scattered and spread all across the nation.
Several government, non-government institutions, private schools and even the entertainment industry have highlighted the issues of illiteracy rates and empower education to girls. According to an Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), the number of rural students attending schools is rising. They have reached 16,497 villages and about 5,70,000 children were covered. Enrollment levels at schools have reached 96 percent. And nearly 75 percent of rural schools have drinking water while 65 percent have toilets, significantly higher than five years ago.
Unfortunately, more than half of the students in fifth grade are unable to read the second grade textbook and are not able to solve simple mathematical problems. English is one of the major setbacks.
The level of the quality of education has been declining, though a lot of efforts are being made, may be direction set is not appropriate. It’s also witnessed in some rural government institutions/schools the strength of students for a particular session is more than double. This leads to a distorted teacher-student ratio. As a result, teachers fail to give attention to students, groom and guide them in the subjects being taught.
How many of us think so? Let’s dig few top thinkers who relatively debate on issues related to change in educational system in rural India and the measures they brought as a weapon of initiatives.
Exchange programmes in rural training
Bringing a solution to it, Indian government recently collaborated with the US to cater development in the field of education, especially to students hailing from economically disadvantaged section of the society.
Vijoy Prakash, Senior IAS, Agriculture Production Commissioner, states that quality and access to education in the major concern in educational system for rural India. “The streamlining of the education system has become very important. Though there are lot of government schools but when compared to the private ones the quality difference pay a major concern.”
He further added that nearly 100 students have been selected for the development programme from rural areas who mostly belong to Below Poverty Line (BPL) section. “I am thankful to the US Consul bodies who laid the hand forward for the development of rural education in India. The programme seeks to equip students with strong English, mathematics and science skills that can lead to better jobs, educational opportunities and gain the ability to participate in and compete for future exchanges and study in the United States,” proudly states Prakash.
Encountering a major drawback in the education system in rural India, it’s found that every village is not provided with school. As a result, students either have to go to another village to get education or simply miss the education. Thus, the ratio of boys to girls education is a misleading factor and failure in achieving rural education in India.
Bhargav Goswami, a leading Social Activist and Director Programme, Shiksha, states that Mobile Vocational Education (MoVE) has been a new initiative to provide vocational education and training beyond barriers. “Presently, we have covered nearly 250 villages and 10 states including Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar,” says Goswami.
The project consists of a fleet of fully equipped classrooms on wheels, with laptops/tablets powered by solar panels, to provide technology enhanced vocational education to logistically and geographically diverse areas.
Targeting the majority of people who live in villages though have understood the importance of education but lack due to poverty.
“Thus, encountering the drawbacks that are associated with the rural education, the MoVE programme is designed to train students, teachers as well as provide vocation education to farmers and retailers about skills, latest methods and technologies and give emphasis on active learning,” says Aarati Behera, Programme Associate, Shiksha.
Goswami elaborately explains that quality related issues are far powerful than poverty. “As we have noticed that students have a common nature to memorise the answers without having a clear knowledge about the subject. Moreover, many state boards too implement a rule to promote the students to the next class irrespective of the marks obtained. The quality of education is thus being compromised. We therefore work for knowledge sharing and concept clearance rather than working on merit list,” adds Goswami.
A noted Social Activist, Rosalin Patasani and the founder of Parichay Foundation, wish to turn India into a strong nation that has to be laid down at primary and rural levels and so the quality of education right from the beginning should be excellent.
“The education and textbooks should be made interesting. For rural students textbooks related to their culture, traditions and values should also be there so as to create their interest in studies. The reasons behind so many drop-outs in spite of free education should be found out as this is a hurdle on the road to progress. Improvement in the condition of government schools, education quality, committed teachers and more salaries to these teachers should be part of development,” highlights Patasani.
As an initiative for the rural development the Foundation has taken a new measure by empowering indigenous community (Scheduled Tribe) and introducing scholarship programmes and building educational community centre in different part of states.
“We have embarked upon newer avenues of social welfare and upliftment of the less – privileged in the society. And have achieved remarkable strides in improving the living conditions of the women and girl children in the slums of different part of nation by educating and empowering the women with training in skill development and promotion of rural art and culture,” adds Patasani.
Decision reached by reasoning
The differences calculated between the metropolitan and rural students and schools are not graphed in terms of brain rather on the basic amenities including infrastructure, skills, learning ability and the environment the students are exposed to. The achievement of educational system can be very satisfactory ones the educational administration merge with the ruling bodies i.e schools and training institutes.
Sharing her experience, Ashmita Pani, a school teacher in a government High School, Haryana, says that personal grooming of schools and institutes must be considered while making the curricula which should not be different but how it is going to be taught would make the difference.
“Encourage the genuine rural students who are interested in education and make them competent. There are many examples of success in rural education in India like that of Gurukul schools in Bihar, their module and plans should be followed to bring change in the educational pattern. Number of schools should be added at least every village to have a school of its own providing quality education and timely assessment is even required that will throw light on present problems and achievements, points he.
“Let us try to build a solution around these problems which will resolve the overall issues of rural education in India,” concludes Pani.