Even after a few decades of the country embracing the concept of Globalisation, things haven’t changed much for the people in India’s villages. Education is certainly one of the main issues and it is refusing to cave into the big winds of change ushered in by Globalisation, a by-product of liberalisation of the Indian economy.
Below, I have discussed the factors ailing the sphere of education, in rural India and also endeavour for likely workable remedies.
Where Does The Shoe Pinch?
With a whopping 67 per cent of India’s population finding its subsistence in rural India, education here truly qualifies for much more scrutiny. This is particularly more so because there’s a dearth of teachers– the emanators of knowledge. The problems, therefore, range from a shortage of teachers, their absenteeism to their inferior quality. The cause of poor education, therefore, lies with nags associated with teachers. These further account for the failure in successfully meeting the expectations of rural students and their parents.
Demotivating Non-Permanence Of Teachers
The temporary character of teachers’ jobs in most of the Indian rural schools, whether handled directly by the government or the private sector, is enough to stress out our village-living fraternity of mentors. Even the ones paid by the government are kept on an ad hoc basis as almost every job in the government sector has embraced the concept of contractual work, let alone the teachers. Such transitory teachers suit the government better which otherwise could have doled out a greater amount of money, through inducting full-time Trained Graduate Teachers (TGTs).
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Besides these ad hoc teachers, the village educational ecosystem also finds itself bereft of lucrative career prospects. This nurtures grave discontent in them, which further paves way for them looking for more opportunities or greener pastures.
Absence Of Teachers
Rural education India
Want of answerability of school authorities and teachers has fastened the rate of absenteeism among them. According to the rights provided to the SDMCs or School Development and Management Committees, they are entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring teachers. The SDMCs comprise of parents and members of the local community. However, research indicates that the committees have hardly seen success in remedying the usually occurring malady.
Besides, insufficient salary is also a factor that appears to contribute to the disease of lateness and absence of teachers. With their salaried grants being dismally low, these teachers have to look for other means of earning their livelihood. This means they provide private tutoring to their students either prior to the school or post it. This naturally interferes with their timely arrival in their educational institutions.
Additionally, teachers often have to perform their duties in places quite distant from their home. Add to this, the under-resourced transport system in rural India and their woes multiply. This often results in absenteeism and late arrivals in schools.
The Additional Duties Of Teachers
Moreover, duties pertaining to non-teaching activities, like invigilating elections and executing data-feeding chores in various government surveys often keep teachers aloof from teaching activities. Consequently, students suffer when they don’t find their teachers in class. The whole teaching-learning process instantly comes to a halt.
Lowering The Eligibility Criteria
A number of state governments have excluded the newly inducted teachers from taking the Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET), a mere 20 per cent of the candidates are successful in clearing it. This defective decision, with a pretext to quickly fix the dearth of teachers, has worsened the quality of education in these provinces, even more. However, the calibre of teachers is the main issue with which, not only these states suffer, but the entire country.
Want Of Quality In Training Teachers
There are several teacher-training colleges in India which many educationists own privately. Still, the quality they provide through their training fails to satisfy the expectations. For teachers, continuous professional growth is a motivating factor, and therefore, the benefactors of education crave for more attention, here.
So, What’s The Rescue Plan?
To salvage the rural education scenario, experts have proposed several cures, such as better teacher-training courses, surprise school inspections, etc. Without dismissing any of these, I would like to propose the utility of digital tools in fighting the challenges infesting our education system. This front has improved much and gained recognition. Thanks to some of the potential endeavours by both non-government and government bodies, alike.
Endeavours from the Government
Aligning with the Digital India initiative of the Modi government, the authorities have introduced a couple of projects in the segment of school education.
For example, the government intends to provide access to the digital education for the rural learners, via the E-basta (E-school bag) program, via computers and tablets. The project intends benefitting rural learners in learning various concepts. Moreover, it also wants to soothe their lives by letting them avail the ease with technology.
Measures are already being implemented to provide digital tools in preschools. Although digital tools can’t ever replace teachers, these kinds of efforts can definitely provide quality content to them.
Again, Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (National Secondary Education Campaign), in party with provincial governments, desires to improve the capacity of teachers in the sphere of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Often, several teachers are unfriendly to the concept of tech-savviness. Besides, their sessions of training don’t ever really make them ready to use and manage digital tools in classrooms. Consequently, such programs may keep them inspired, besides bettering their skills, in the long run.
Endeavours From Non-Government Organisations
Akhil Samaj Sevak Sangh, a non-government and not-for-profit organisation, links rural learners and volunteer teachers via their digital study programs. The motivated teachers belong to a varied group comprising of IT professionals, housewives, and retired personnel from the defence. People from Akhil Samaj Sevak Sangh conduct their teaching through Skype. Moreover, the teaching also is conditional to the availability of volunteer-teachers and batch sizes of pupils.
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Though India suffers from a concerning want of teachers, a great number of college graduates remain jobless. This organisation makes efforts for properly directing the supply of teachers in the segments where there are demands. Anyhow, regular cuts of power and poor connectivity of internet in rural spheres reduce the outcomes of the classrooms.
Factors Aiding In Securing Better Grades For Urban Counterparts
As it happens quite often, performance statistics reflect the urban learners garnering better scores over their rural counterparts. It isn’t the virtue of excellence that influences their outcome, but the opportunities and resources available at their dispense. To repeat, we can’t proclaim that teaching is an uninspiring occupation. There truly are some passionate teachers to produce the difference for better. However, inadequate training and poor remuneration are disappointing.
Technology, on its own, can positively influence the standard of education. It can also break the digital divide infesting the rural facet of our system.
Undoubtedly, it is essential to raise the standard of rural education. Dialogue across the nation is the need of the hour for traversing the road ahead. Moreover, the current top-down and highly regimented system in India needs to yield to an arrangement which fosters innovation in teachers and develops confidence in the parents to participate in the processes of decision making. One hopes that meeting the demands as discussed in all the lines discussed yet, will usher the much-yearned transformation for our rural brethren.