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20101018

Revisit the basic framework of the education system

Breaking news! India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world, after China and the US. But in spite of the various steps being taken by the government, the country is able to manage a literacy rate of just 65%, which is far below even many of the lesser developed countries. Several initiatives like the Right to Education Act and and government-sponsored education have not been able to provide the desired results. The sluggishness of Indian bureaucracy, widespread corruption and the lack of monitoring by various administrative bodies are some of the reasons that have marred the growth of the education system.

As of 2009, India has 227 government-recognised universities of which 20 are central universities, 109 deemed universities, 11 are open universities and 215 are state universities, under the State Act. According to the department of higher education, government of India, there are 16,885 colleges, 99.54 lakh students and 4.57 lakh teachers in various higher education institutes in the country.

And steps to improve higher education in the country are being taken. The Prime Minister announced the establishment of eight IITs, seven IIMs, five Indian Institutes of Science, Education and Research, and 30 Central Universities in his speech to the nation on the 60th Independence Day.

The coming of foreign universities in the country will further add to the competition and will push Indian universities towards excellence. Defending the proposed entry of foreign universities in India, union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal asserted that they would help create a talent pool for the country. This will also help recognition of Indian university courses in the foreign countries.

Apart from these initiatives, in order to raise the quality of education even in small towns, the central government has to revisit the whole framework of this system. Almost all of us agree that our education system focuses on learning by rote rather than understanding the basic concepts. All the institutions, right from the primary schools to the colleges, should focus more on concepts and practical applications of learning.

Last but not least, most government schools and colleges fail to provide quality education because of poor infrastructure, a problem that can be solved if the government mandates sharing of infrastructure with private educations institutions.
By: Nishant singh
The author is a master of management student at SJMSOM, IIT Bombay

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