The Government of India in 2001 launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a nationwide programme to provide universal primary education, thereby encouraging secondary education also. The Center passed The Right to Education Act in 1 April 2010, which guarantees free and compulsory education to every child in the 6-14 age groups. But, the lack of awareness on the requirement of pre-school education & operational challenges including the availability of quality teachers are some of the issues that still limit the widespread benefits from the government act.
Though the number of institutes has gone up significantly since then, but most of them provide an average education. Many state-funded schools in India lack even the basic infrastructure. In fact the quality of education, especially in remote villages, is very dismal. The quality of teaching in elementary schools is not up to the mark. Teacher absenteeism is widespread, teachers are not adequately trained and the quality of pedagogy is poor. One of the major challenges is the diminishing inclination of youth towards the teaching profession.
The low salary base, lack of incentives and a lethargic job with less of dynamism have made the profession a last resort for the youth. Also, the profession has lost the level of respect that it deserved. Nowadays, it is only been seen as a supplementary income, and they keep trying to enhance their qualification, till they get into a better job. While there is immense shortage of primary and upper primary schools, there are some schools in many parts of the district where a single teacher is taking all classes from 1-5.
As per RTE Act norms, the ratio of teacher and students should be 1:30 in primary schools and 1: 35 in upper primary schools. But, past 2 years since the enactment of the RTE act, there is a shortage of 1. 2 million teachers in India. This gap has led to lack of interest in the students too, which led to decline in the enrolment and also shift towards tuitions. Key national highlights by ASER report 2009 * The percentage of all rural children in Std 5 reading text at Std 2 level shows a decline from 56. 2 percent in 2008 to 52. 8 percent in 2009.
This means around 40% of all rural children in Std 5 in India are at least three grade levels behind based on their level of learning * In math, for children in Std 5, the ability to do division problems has hardly increased. From 2007-09, for children in government schools the ability has actually declined from 41 percent to 36% * In Government Schools, 17. 1 percent students take private tuitions, and it rises to 30. 8 percent by the time they reach standard 8th * In private schools more than 25 percent students take private tuitions from standard 1 itself.
Some of these challenges can be overcome by adopting Innovative teaching/ learning methods to achieve the desired quality: For high quality education throughout, India needs to focus on strengthening nation wide network, which would provide equal quality education to all students, including the students from the rural areas and villages, irrespective of the type of school. New methods of delivery would enable to augment access, quality and improve delivery at various levels of education and also to bridge the gap between the faculty requirements and their availability.
Information, Communication and technology (ICT) tools such as videos, television and multimedia computer software that combine text, sound, and colourful, moving images can be used to provide challenging and authentic content that would engage the students in the learning process. ICTs can also be used to improve access to and the quality of teacher training. Some international examples in this regard are: * Cyber Teacher Training Center (CTTC) in South Korea is leveraging on Internet to provide better teacher professional development opportunities to in service teachers.
The government-funded CTTC, offers self-directed, self-paced web-based courses for primary and secondary school teachers * In China, large-scale radio and television-based teacher education has for many years been conducted by the China Central Radio and TV, University, the Shanghai Radio and TV University (RTVU) and many other RTVUs in the country. Some progressive approaches the Indian education sector has adopted * Eight hundred and fifty schools in India use Tata Sky Active. Besides over a million Tata Sky homes spend more than INR 30 every month to buy services such as Active English, Active Learning and Active Wizkids.
* Activity based learning – * Katha: A Initiative involving Amar Chitra Katha characters to impart education to school children * Hey Math: Content providers are selling different school fundamentals as a learning package to children. Initiatives are now in place to sell science packages * Campus-Connect Programs – Governments are having partnerships with training schools for vocational training, like Government of Delhi and IndiaCan have partnered to impart English education to bus drivers * Voucher Schools –
* A school voucher or education voucher is a certificate issued by the government which parents can apply toward tuition at a school * The government of Rajasthan has announced two schemes that use school vouchers- Gyanodaya for classes 6-12 and Shikshak ka Apna Vidyalaya for classes 1-5. Trends in Education Sector in Pre-school: Trends| Examples:| Entry of Big Corporate| * Many corporate houses have / are planning to set up their own chain of pre-schools – Pre schools are viewed as attractive investment opportunities due to the growth potential.
* For e.g. Alphakids set up by Camlin group and Globe Tot’ers by Yash Birla Group, P&G’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility Program Shiksha. | Joint Ventures with Builders| * Increasingly preschools are forming joint ventures with builders. Partnering with builders helps in imparting flexibility in the business against high lease rentals * AEZ group and Mothers Pride entered into a JV for a Preschool| Upgrade to K 12|
* Preschool chains are moving up the value chain by upgrading to K-12 schools to ensure scalability for preschool firms * Kidzee, Euro Kids and Kangaroo Kids are upgrading to K-12 school and a large majority of their preschool population is expected to be the potential customers for K-12| Expansion to Tier I & Tier II Cities| * Demand and affordability is increasing in small towns with the growing awareness among people about the need to send children to preschools.
* Euro kids plans to add 1000 pre schools in medium term with Tier II and Tier III cities as growth drivers| Leveraging Infrastructure foreconomic viability| * In order to maximize space utilization, preschools are leveraging the existing infrastructure to generate additional revenues * Additional programmes are being offered in the same premise in order to allow higher utilization of the infrastructure|.