Character-building just cannot be envisioned in isolation unless linked to culture. The NEP respects Gandhi’s vision of young Indians
Policies are formulated on the strong foundation of the outcomes of incisive analysis of past experiences coupled with futuristic vision that could respond to emerging issues, concerns and aspirations. Gandhiji consistently articulated the India of his dreams and his concerns about the impediments ahead. These are evident in the seven social sins he published in the Young India of October 22,1925. These are: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity and worship without sacrifice.
No policy, the one on education included, can ignore the contemporary severity of these sins. It could also be witnessed in the seven tensions identified in the report to UNESCO of the International Commission on Education for the 21st century— also known as the Delores Commission Report. These are the tensions between global and local, universal and individual, tradition and modernity, long-term and short term considerations, the need for competition and concern for opportunity, extraordinary expansion of knowledge and the human being’s capacity to assimilate, and finally, the conflict between the spiritual and the material. One could, in the present context, reformulate them but it would be perilous to neglect any of these. The “sins” are taking stronger roots while the “tensions” are disturbing human habitation and systems that are already under severe strains and pressures as consequences of declining moral, ethical and humanistic considerations.
An incisive scrutiny of the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) would indicate the extent to which both the sins and tensions need to be responded to, as is essential to prepare human beings imbued with character, commitment and concern. It acknowledges the guiding light it derived from the “rich heritage of ancient and eternal Indian knowledge and thought.” The pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and truth is considered the highest goal of human life. The NEP mentions, “The aim of education in ancient India was not just the acquisition of knowledge as preparation for life in this world, or life beyond schooling, but for the complete realisation and liberation of the Soul. World class institutions in India, such as Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Vallabhi, set the highest standards of multi-disciplinary teaching and research and hosted scholars and students from across backgrounds and countries.” The ancient Indian system of education valued the pursuit of knowledge with the sole objective of utilising it for the welfare of humanity: “Let all be happy, let all be healthy; let all see good around and let none suffer pain of any kind.” Could there be a better comprehension of the essential unity of human beings as one family? And in a family, differences and diversities are accepted and respected. This is what the NEP has imbibed in word and spirit. It recalls how the products of ancient Indian education system strived tirelessly to make seminal contributions in diverse fields of knowledge, including mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, surgery, health, architecture, engineering, ship building, navigation, yoga, fine arts and so much more. Every Indian student – inheritor of this great legacy – must be made familiar with it and accept the responsibility to enhance it further through excellence in his chosen area of activity and expertise. Each one of them is an inheritor of the legacy of luminaries like Charak, Susruta, Aryabhata, Bhaskaracharya, Brahmagupta, Nagarjuna, Gautama, Maitreyi, Gargi and Thiruvalluvur.
Once the NEP 2020 is implemented appropriately, no Indian shall remain “delinked from India.” Every learner would be exposed to modern knowledge that would be given to him/her in institutions following the most modern pedagogy, and with due emphasis on critical thinking, creativity and innovations. It would aim at developing a student’s full human potential. Higher education, the NEP-2020 acknowledges, must aim to develop good, thoughtful, well rounded and creative individuals. Obviously, the school education would take note of these aspects in the most sensitive years. Recommendations on multi-disciplinary universities, robust autonomy, revamping of curriculum and pedagogy, reforms in governance of higher education Institutions (HEIs), creation of National Research Foundation (NRF) and National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) would be positive additions to the quality and contemporary relevance of the future model of Indian education.
India could finally turn into an international education hub and certainly attract attention of the corresponding international institutions. The proposed changes in structure, flexibility, autonomy, pedagogy, multi-dimensionality, assessment procedures, including transfer of credit systems, would remove several agonising technicalities. The availability of internationally relevant curricula in the history, heritage and culture of India, as also modern subject areas, could attract a sizeable number of foreign students, helping us achieve the goal of “internationalisation at home.” Some well-thought out suggestions like opening of foreign campuses by established Indian institutions and permitting top international universities to operate in India would effectively put Indian education firmly on the international podium, with dignity, credibility and expectations. Shared courses with reputed international institutions could pave the way for a much-needed morale boosting and encourage our young to compete with and excel among foreign students. One has to be cautious about certain aspects though. Global credibility and recognition would require certain minimum levels of infrastructure and facilities which, sadly enough, are still missing in a large number of education institutions across the board. The NEP 2020 assures availability of all of these: “Every classroom shall have access to the latest educational technology that enables better learning experiences.” There can be no compromise on the professionally acceptable teacher-taught ratio. This raises several related requirements. Quality just cannot be raised by engaging guest teachers, teachers on lecture-based payments, para teachers and keeping more than a million posts of school teachers vacant for decades together! In HEIs, the quality of products, research and innovations would be greatly impeded if there are 40-60 per cent vacant academic positions. The NEP 2020 boldly acknowledges this concern and articulates: “The teacher must be at the centre of the fundamental reforms in the education system. The new education policy must help re-establish teachers, at all levels, as the most respected and essential members of our society, because they truly shape our next generation of citizens. It must do everything to empower teachers and help them do their job as effectively as possible.” Expressing serious concern on the quality of teacher education, the recommendation is to replace by 2030 all of the present one-year school teacher preparation programmes by four-year integrated teacher education programmes. It may be worthwhile to recall that the four-year integrated teacher preparation programmes began in the four institutions of the NCERT in 1964-64, and the products were indeed far ahead of others in their professional performance in schools and teacher education institutions. Unfortunately, the module was not replicated.
In higher education, the policy acknowledges the “criticality, quality and engagement” of the faculty. It also accepts that “faculty motivation” remains far lower than the desired level. Several steps have been listed to attract “the best, motivated, and capable faculty in the HEIs.” The right-teacher-student ratio, access to education technology, freedom to design their own curricular and pedagogical approaches, incentives like appropriate rewards, promotions, recognition and movement into institutional leadership are included in the list.
In his book of 1932, Remakers of Mankind, Carl Washburne writes that when asked, “What is your goal in education when India obtains self-rule?”, Gandhi answered, “Character-building. I would try to develop courage, strength, virtue, the ability to forget oneself in working towards great aims. This is more important than literacy; academic learning is only a means to this great end.” Character formation was the strength of the traditional Indian system of knowledge quest that included creation, generation, utilisation and transfer of knowledge to generations ahead. With all the experiences gained globally in varying contexts and approaches, it is now accepted globally that education in every country must be rooted to culture and committed to progress. Character-building just cannot be envisioned in isolation unless linked to culture. No culture would flourish in isolation and our youth can become global citizens only when they are made well aware and conversant with their own culture before being introduced to others. India painfully suffered as the transplanted system deliberately kept young “educated” Indians away from getting familiar with the nuances of their own culture; they were systematically indoctrinated in the “superiority of the Western culture.” This was very comprehensively articulated by Gandhiji in the Young India of September 1,1921, “It is my firm opinion that no culture has a treasure so rich as ours. We have not known it, we have been made even to depreciate its value. We have almost ceased to live it.” Let us hope that the proposed educational reforms would prepare young people with credentials, and they would be looking after the masses. Education must lead to human dignity for one and all.
(The author works in education and social cohesion)
As of now, the Rajasthan Board Secondary Education, RBSE is yet to announce any final decision with regards to holding of Rajasthan 5th and 8th Class Board Exam 2021 this year. With no announcement, fate of nearly 25 lakh students who are due to appear for the Board Exam lies in balance.
No Official Update
Typically, by November-end, the Board begins the basic preparation for holding of Board Exams for Class 5 and 8 students. The first step in this process is filling of the application form. However, as of now the Board has not announced any details about the application process and filling of the application forms for Class 5 and 8 Rajasthan Board Exam 2021. As the registration process has also not been started yet, many students and their parents are now concerned about the board exam and if it will be held on time.
Reduced / Updated Syllabus Not Released Yet
Along with details about the Class 8 and Class 5 Board Exams of Rajasthan Board, the Education Department is yet to release the updated syllabus for the same. In this regard, the Department of Elementary Education has asked the Education Minister for guidance. Soon after a confirmation from the minister, the updated syllabus will be released for Rajasthan Class 5 and Class 8 Board Exams 2021.
Delhi University has commenced the classes for first-year undergraduate students. The classes are being conducted in the virtual mode (Online) for the students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new academic session for the freshers began after a delay of close to four months due to the colleges and universities being shut since March 2020.
The university conducted the admissions for the students in the online mode for roughly 68,000 of the total 70,000 undergraduate seats offered across the colleges affiliated to the university with five cutoffs which were released.
Admissions conducted online
The admission process including the document verification process was conducted online in view of the pandemic and lockdown situation. With respect to the remaining seats, the university was supposed to release a special cut-off list however the admission process has been deferred due to some of the university officials testing positive for the virus.
Freshers have shared a completely different experience of the first day of college amidst the current situation. The students have stated that usually, the students receive a grand welcome on their first day but now the situation has changed and the whole event has been conducted online.
Some of the colleges conducted an online orientation session for the students which was live-streamed. Students have shared their different experiences of beginning the session online although some pointed out missing the excitement of the first day of college. The colleges which conducted the orientation session online include Miranda House, Hindu College, St. Stephens College, Shri Ram College of Commerce, Ramjas College, and many more.
While conducting the online orientation, the colleges laid emphasis on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of the students. The first-year students were also introduced to the college counselors lining up online sessions with them for the students.
The Delhi University Students Union which earlier conducted a welcome drive for the freshers has also planned an online interactive session and events for the academic year.
Akshit Dahiya, President DUSU, while speaking about the orientation stated that since the students cannot come to college the students union will reach out to them. Unlike the previous years, the students will be welcomed by the union with online events wherein the students can also participate.
Bihar NEET Counselling Merit List 2020: As per the latest update, the BCECEB has officially released the Bihar UGMAC Merit List 2020 today. Medical aspirants seeking admission to MBBS and BDS courses can now check their merit position for state-quota of NEET 2020 counselling online by visiting website bceceboard.bihar.gov.in. As an alternative to the long route of checking merit list via the official website, candidates can also click on the direct link placed below, which will take them directly to the PDF file containing the Bihar UGMAC 2020 Merit List
Click on the link below to check the list:
As per the latest update, ICAI has released an official notification about change of exam centres for the CA November 2020 exams. Candidates who are due to appear for the entrance exam are advised to go through the official notice which is available on website i.e. icai.org. Candidates can also click on the link provided below, which will take them to the official notice from where they can get the necessary updates about the exam.
Click On the Link to Get Full Details:- https://resource.cdn.icai.org/61862exam171120.pdf
Address to 30 Exam Centres Changed
As per the official notice released on 17th November, the institute has confirmed that it has changed address of over 30 exam centres to a new venue. In line with the information provided in the notice, the institute has changed the address for a few exam centres completely while for few other exam centres the exam centre addresses have undergone minor changes. The detailed notice linked above provides the complete detail about the same.
Admit Cards to remain Valid
While the addresses for over 30 exam centres have been changed by the ICAI, the institute has also announced that the exam hall tickets issued by it earlier for the November 2020 exam will remain valid for the same without any changes. Apart from the change in the address for few exam centres, all the other details provided in the CA November 2020 exam admit card will remain unchanged. As per the official schedule released earlier, the CA November 2020 exam is scheduled to be held from 21st November to 14th December 2020.
The ICAI CA Foundation, Intermediate and Final Examinations will be conducted as per schedule. The institution wrote on Twitter to make the clarification after reports if the examinations were making the rounds on social. Media. In its official statement, the ICAI has stated that examinations scheduled to begin from November 21, 2020, will be conducted as per schedule. The institute in its statement has also asked the candidates to concentrate on the examinations and not be misled by any kind of false information which are being provided. The institute has also retained the students to refer to the official website only for information regarding the examinations and other announcements.
The ICAI CA Foundation, Intermediate and Final exams are scheduled to be conducted from November 21 to December 15, 2020. The examination will be conducted by following all the instructions and guidelines since the exams are being conducted amidst the pandemic. The institute has assured the safety of the students and staff at the exam centres during the exam centres along with taking all the necessary precautionary measures keeping in mind the COVID-19 pandemic.
ICAI CA Admit Card
ICAI has also released the CA Foundation, Intermediate and Final Examination admit card on the official website. Students appearing for the examinations are advised to visit the official website to download the admit card of the examinations, the ICAI CA examination admit card will include details such as the name and roll number of the students, the name of the examination, examination centre name and address, reporting time to the CA examinations, examination duration and the instructions to be followed by the students.
Candidates appearing for the exams are advised to read through the instructions provided for appearing for the exams.
Limiting learning to theory and skipping practical applications hinder the learning process of students. A hybrid template is needed
Every year, there are nearly 37.4 million enrolments in higher educational institutions in the country. This reflects the student density in India and also the expanding horizons of the education sector, which has been growing at a rapid pace every year. However, the sudden “Covid shock” created a tremendous negative impact. As a result of the outbreak and the danger it posed to human lives, universities and colleges had to be shut down and their syllabus curtailed. That was until the sector decided to initiate a revolution instead. Making a conscious choice to grow even in the time of crisis, it reinvented its approach and pedagogy and decided to digitise several fundamental processes, which were core to its functioning. The education process reforms seen in India and globally, too, in the COVID-19 era are a perfect example of how necessity is indeed the mother of invention. However, getting back to “normal” is a long way off and in the current scenario, higher education institutions in India are facing two major challenges.
Operational challenges: Maintenance of staff, faculty and infrastructure is becoming difficult as fee payments have been pushed ahead. Expensive infrastructure and expert faculty members make up a substantial part of the expenses for most higher education institutions. Due to the impact of late payments and the unexpected changes in schedules, universities are struggling to cover costs. Across the nation, institutions are facing issues with cash flow as are families, faced with major salary cuts or job losses in a crumbling economy.
Another challenge comes from the parents and students, who are unable to accept the ways and tools of online classes and find it difficult to adjust to the new methods of pedagogy. Besides, the fear surrounding classes in brick and mortar classrooms, even with social distancing norms in place, is widely prevalent and does not seem to be a viable solution for the moment.
Poor network in far-flung areas: Geography, too, becomes another hurdle as far as acceptance of the “new normal” is concerned. Numerous students residing in remote areas do not have a proper mobile network or alternative means for having a seamless digital experience. For example, a student who lives with his family near the suburbs of Kolkata faces regular network problems due to which his classes get disrupted and his learning gets compromised. Similarly, there is a lack of cyber connectivity even in cities like Jaipur. Students from tier-II and tier-III cities have to struggle a lot due to connectivity issues and often use dongles to be able to study online. That has its own challenges.
Earlier, students had to attend five or six classes a day but now this has been curtailed due to online education. Plus, given the lack of blackboards at home, which are used by most teachers to demonstrate practical models of application, the faculty finds it difficult to explain problems and share solutions. And even if teachers research and share findings with the students online, they cannot be assured of student participation as they cannot monitor them remotely.
Absence of peer to peer learning: Learning goes far beyond classroom education and also involves inter-personal engagement with fellow students. Extra-curricular learning has been known to provide a significant impetus to overall personality development. Peer to peer learning, which is a major source of new skills and knowledge in higher institutions, has been majorly compromised by distancing norms. Apart from this, there are tremendous problems being faced by design and engineering students as they can learn through simulations but are now sadly devoid of real experiences.
Limiting learning to theory and skipping practical applications hinder the learning process of students. The psychological and mental challenges that will result from prolonged isolation and lack of interaction for many students is another factor that needs to be addressed. Many institutions will need to create in-house expertise for the same.
The way forward: What is the solution to the challenges that the education sector is facing? While institutes struggle to provide an integrated and holistic learning experience to students, they need a blueprint to bring back a certain level of “normalcy” in the sector.
There is a need for Government intervention at this point. Even though it is doing its best to bring the outbreak under control, it will be a while before the pandemic goes away. Even then, fear and doubts will exist for a long time to come. Which is why there is an urgent need to create a plan for students and higher education institutions in order to sustain and increase the pace of growth of the sector in the coming days. Additionally, the nature of teaching should be such that it does not compromise on learning outcomes, particularly in courses which require laboratory practicals, case studies or group activity. These, too, merit some portions of the courses to be conducted in normal ways as opposed to online.
(The writer is Vice-Chancellor, JK Lakshmipat University, Jaipur)
Without increasing public investment, neither the infrastructure, nor the standards required for the New Education Policy 2020 can be achieved
There have been plenty of debates and discourses about the New Education Policy 2020 (NEP) but not many focussed on its implementation. No doubt, the NEP is the most progressive and futuristic document and if implemented with sincerity in letter and spirit, it has a tectonic potential to transform India from an educationally laggard nation into a knowledge superpower. Indeed we have never had any education system, only a system of examinations and that, too, an inefficient one, based on rote learning that kills all creativity and innovation. The NEP aspires to transform this moribund system by aiming to produce “good, thoughtful, well-rounded, and creative individuals,” who are needed to transform the 21st century India. But it has failed to provide a specific implementation roadmap, except specifying some broad targets.
Neither has it prescribed any accountability mechanism for its implementation. But most importantly, any great idea like this needs great finances. Education being a concurrent subject, both the Centre and the States need to share the responsibility for its implementation as well as finances. But the NEP has almost skirted the issue altogether.
The higher education in the country has seen phenomenal growth during the last two decades. The number of colleges, universities and students has quadrupled since 2001, and the private sector has grown much faster than the public institutions. Today, we have 993 universities, about 40,000 colleges and 10,000 standalone institutions, and nearly four crore students. But unfortunately, most of these institutions produce unemployable graduates and postgraduates annually, with very little knowledge and skill.
If we can forget for a moment our current military standoff with China, a comparison with that country might be instructive in many respects. In India Unlimited: Reclaiming the Lost Glory, Arvind Panagariya has provided some tale-tell statistics about China and India. Based on the Scopus database of articles published and cited in international journals, the National Science Foundation of US brings out annual rankings of different countries. In 1996, in almost all subject areas, China and India were ranked more or less evenly. In fact, India was a tad better. In terms of the total citations, India was ranked 19th amongst all countries, while China was ranked 21st. In social sciences, India was ranked 21st against China’s 24th, in chemistry and molecular sciences, India was ranked 11th and in physics 17th against China’s 13th in both. But by 2017, China moved far ahead of us in all subjects — third in terms of total citations against India’s 14th. In social sciences, chemistry and physics, China ranked fifth, first and second while India lagged way behind with 14th, fifth and eighth ranks respectively in these subjects. In the Times Higher Education Ranking 2020, China has three universities among the top 100 of the world, four in the next 100 and altogether 72 among the top 1,000. India has none among the first 200 and 36 among the top 1,000, half of China’s 72.
How could China race so much ahead of us in just two decades? Actually, it had started its economic liberalisation in 1976, a good 15 years ahead of us. But it started reforming the education system in 1995, 25 years ahead of us. It realised that to become a great power and a great nation, the primary need is to have a good system of education.
What is a good system of education? If we take the US as the model, we would appreciate that a good system of education needs basically two things: adequate funding and decentralised governance with a very high degree of autonomy to the institutions. The US universities have complete autonomy in deciding admission, courses and faculty and they compete amongst themselves to attract the best faculty, students and research endowment funds. They function independent of federal and State Government regulations with practically no interference by the State.
We had inherited a colonial legacy of higher education where universities were primarily tasked with granting degrees with very little focus on research, and by and large, we still remain the same. China has modelled its system of education in the Soviet-style after 1949 but Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution nearly did it in. Then in 1995, as Panagariya informs, it launched the so-called Project 211 with the slogan: “For the 21st century, manage the top 100 universities successfully.” In 1998, it passed the Higher Education Law, which liberalised and decentralised its higher education just like the US, with academic and administrative freedom given to higher educational institutions (HEIs). That law recognised the need for ensuring adequate funding and allowed tuition fees to be hiked by the universities, with State subsidies for those who couldn’t afford it. So the tuition fees rose steeply from ¥600 in 1992 to ¥10,000 by mid-2010. The Project 211 funded $4.6 billion (30 per cent on infrastructure) to 107 universities between 1995 and 2005. In 1998, China launched another project — Project 985 — to create world-class universities out of the 107 universities selected for Project 211. Under this, the top two universities (Peking and Tsinghua) received $240 million for three years. By 2007, the project had covered 39 universities. Of these, 27 are now ranked within the top 600 universities of the world.
The NEP has correctly identified many of the problems that beset our higher education system — like a severely fragmented ecosystem characterised by a rigid separation of disciplines with little emphasis on cognitive skills, learning outcomes or quality research, limited institutional autonomy, poor leadership and ineffective regulatory and governance systems. The result is that the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education is a paltry 26 per cent compared to 58 per cent in Senior Secondary and 79 per cent in Secondary schooling. The NEP promises to correct this by focussing on multi-disciplinarity, flexibility, emphasis on skill acquisition and quality research. To fix the problems, it prescribes that there would no more be any rigid separation between arts and sciences, curricular and extra-curricular activities, or vocational and academic streams. Students will select subjects of their choosing across all streams to excel wherever they can and discover their aptitude and potential. For this, it prescribes a roadmap of credit-based undergraduate degree courses with multiple exit options.
It has also suggested a new institutional framework comprising a new overarching body — the Higher Education Commission of India — with four verticals for regulation, accreditation, funding and learning outcomes, which will end the multiple conflicts of interest that bedevil our current regulatory system. Research gets the maximum emphasis with a National Research Foundation to “seed, grow and facilitate research” in academic institutions. Most importantly, the NEP recognises that the HEIs need to be depoliticised and educationists appointed on their Board of Governance instead of bureaucrats. But given the present stranglehold of retired bureaucrats and politicians over the HEIs and their stubborn objections to any reform, it would be difficult to end their dominance over our higher education anytime soon.
The most revolutionary part of the NEP is perhaps its single-minded focus on multi-disciplinarity by creating large universities and HEI clusters and ending the present system of affiliated colleges. But such a major shift would also need enormous resources, and it is here that the NEP disappoints. The total combined public expenditure on education by the Centre and the States, currently at only about four per cent of GDP, falls way behind the target of six per cent envisaged in all our previous education policies. Consequently, our expenditure on research remains a pathetic 0.69 per cent of GDP. Without investment, neither the infrastructure nor the standards required for the NEP would be achieved.
The NEP only paid some lip-service to this crucial element — by hoping that the Centre and the States will work together to raise expenditure to six per cent of GDP which it recognises as essential for “progress and growth.” But it stops short of recommending that a law should be enacted to enforce the same. Thus, there is neither any commitment nor an accountability structure built into the NEP to ensure implementation. Maybe the committee had felt restrained by pandemic-related budgetary stress. This would be over some day but the future will not wait.
Meanwhile, universities can think of going beyond operating from their individual silos. They can form provincial and regional consortiums for better synergy. By mapping their educational resources and sharing these among themselves, they can together provide students access to the best facilities. Each institution can expand capacity in its strength area to optimise investment and specialisation and share this through a network of institutions. The mantra should be to give access to quality learning to all who desire to learn.
(The writer is former Director-General from the Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India and an academic)
With apathy, low Government allocation and high-handedness, school education is becoming nobody’s baby
India’s unaided private school education is collapsing as thousands of institutions have closed down and many others are struggling to survive. This may cost the nation over Rs 1.75 lakh crore a year, as the Coronavirus-induced lockdown has harmed the education sector immensely. Though the mention of private education conjures up images of swanky private schools with world-class facilities and sky-high fee structure, these are also in crisis today.
However, it is the online, low budget schools that have been the worst-hit by the pandemic. These schools penetrate rural areas, small towns or low-income localities of metros, according to the State of the Sector Report on Private Schools by the Central Square Foundation (CSF). As per the recently released Household Social Consumption on Education in India Report, the aggregate household expenditure on private schools is approximately Rs 1.75 lakh crore, almost equal to the e-commerce sector. Also, about 50 per cent of the total school enrolments are in private schools.
Though almost all schools, Government or private, are under stress due to the lockdown, the worst sufferers are the virtual informal schools. With or without Government recognition, they serve the hinterland of the country. They have improved school enrolment, especially in rural areas, where the number of students attending private schools has increased from four per cent in 1993 to 26.6 per cent in 2017-18.
The CSF says that the struggle for the survival of private education in the country is intense. Even under normal circumstances, it is not easy for private schools to attract students and during the Coronavirus era, the situation has worsened further as parents refuse to pay fees. Plus, the digital footprint has made online education unaffordable.
So most such schools have either closed down or are facing closure as they are neither able to pay their teachers nor can they afford infrastructure costs. Some had planned expansion in early March and taken loans. Many have gone into severe debt and even after closure, are in distress. Most of these are entrepreneurial ventures by innovative individuals. In Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh, a shopkeeper’s son started a school that followed the concept of “pay Rs 1 a day.” However, since the students are not coming to school, entrepreneurs like him have little option but to close down operations.
The impact on society is severe as these virtual schools employ mostly jobless youth at low salaries. The payment is on a daily or hourly basis. But each school sustains at least 100 people on an average. The youth prefer to opt for such jobs for sustenance as well as for the prestige they enjoy in their neighbourhood due to it. In villages or semi-urban areas, such schools have become the first choice for parents, as they are perceived to be better than Government schools due to the overall care that a child is given as the teachers (trained or not) are from the neighbourhood. This is making education more mass-based as the official system has many limitations and despite some recent efforts, suffers from delivery problems. Recruitment of teachers itself is flawed as the disclosures from VYAPAM in Madhya Pradesh and by the UP Government have shown. The Yogi Adityanath Government also found that the district officials interfered in “Basic Shiksha” schools and issued orders for severing these from the district administration. Plus, online education has largely come a cropper in all such institutions.
The pandemic gave rise to the need for having a digital infrastructure and due to their low budgets, the unaided private schools claim that they are neither able to match up with elite schools nor with the State-run schools, for which the content is aired through television and radio channels and other Government-run platforms. To make matters worse, parents do not consider online teaching to be proper education. They do not pay the schools because their wards are not going there. Apart from that, they find online teaching expensive due to the high internet costs. Another problem they face is that each child needs a smart phone or computer, which they cannot afford.
Apart from this, many children do not find online teaching interesting as there are many glitches and teachers, too, find themselves struggling due to the lack of eye contact. Plus, students mostly switch off the video mode because of the poor network across the country and to reduce unaffordable data use.
The students and their parents find brick and mortar schools more affordable and fruitful because apart from learning from books and the teachers, the children learn language skills, etiquette, discipline, interaction with peer groups, use of a library and social behaviour. So parents, despite their low incomes, do not mind paying for education at brick and mortar schools.
As per a Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation report, Indians pay 12 times the money for pre-primary education at a private school. The number decreases to about three times at the higher secondary level. A majority, 70.8 per cent students, pay less than Rs 1,000 monthly fee, while 45.5 per cent pay less than Rs 500. The monthly median fee in an elementary unaided school is Rs 958 in urban areas and Rs 500 in rural India. Schools complain that at least one-third of the parents default in paying this minimal amount also. The closure of budget private schools can adversely impact “education for all” and multiply unemployment. With apathy, low Government allocation and highhandedness, school education is becoming nobody’s baby.
(The writer is a senior journalist)
NEET Result 2020 Declared: The much anticipated and highly awaited NEET 2020 results have finally been declared. About 13.79 candidates who had appeared for the exam initially held on 13th September and again re-held on 14th October 2020 can now check the result of NEET 2020 and access the outcome of their hard work. The NEET results 2020 declared today are for both phases of the exam. The National Testing Agency, has formally announced the NEET 2020 Results online for all these candidates on its official website ntaneet.nic.in. In order to provide ease of access to NEET Results 2020 to nearly 14 lakh students, a direct link to the same has also been provided below.
NEET 2020 Results online via the direct link provided below:
NTA NEET Result 2020 Live Updates: Finally, the NTA i.e. the National Testing Agency – NTA is all set to declare the NEET Result 2020 for the recently concluded medical entrance exam. Following the Supreme Court’s approval, NTA released a notification confirming the date and time for the declaration of NEET Result 2020. As per the notification, today evening at around 4 PM, nearly 14 lakh medical aspirants will receive their NEET 2020 Results online via the official exam portal ntaneet.nic.in. Once announced officially, candidates will be able to check and access their individual NEET 2020 Results via the direct link provided below. The link given below will be activated as soon as the NEET Result 2020 is declared; therefore stay tuned to this page.
NEET 2020 Results online via the direct link provided below: