Prof.Krishna Kumar is a retired Delhi university professor of education. He is currently the Arjun Singh nominee as the Director of National Council for Education(NCERT). He along with Prof.Yashpal are charged with revamping the School Curriculum.
Both are eminently suited to the job. Let us hope they succeed where others, other angels and devils failed!
Now the prof. says that the shocking state of our education. First he says, even the best of teachers can’t distinguish between syllabus and curriculum! We too can’t do that! That apart,what he says is that 53 per cent of our children of our school-going young children are eliminated by our education system before Class 8! Is it an achievement or shame? Then, says the prof such a terrible figure must trigger a shame and make us take emergency steps. But no! The Indian public are more interested by latest events, and other happy diversions! Says the NCERT boss at the moment:”When I mentioned this statistics at a recent TV show, many dismissed it as an irrelevant statistics! That didn’t catch fire, so to say! He recalls the great Gokhale’s call for free and compulsory elementary education 94 years earlier in 1901.
The financial dimensions of the primary education focus have left out of the New Delhi mandarins many theory building excercise. All time ideas would come to nothing unless you have a workable put in – practice strategy.
Many states have no clear allocations. In Karnataka alone, the State has decided to construct 3,000 classrooms this year utilising Rs.57-crore loan assistance providedby the Centre under RIDF (Rural Infrastructure Development Fund).
The state wants HRD ministry to allot Rs.500 crores! For the whole India? Also need a special focus on maths and science education. The State received Rs.260-crore as grants under “Sarvashikshana Abhiyana” programme and awaited release of remaining Rs.80 crore due for 2004-05. He said the sum of Rs 67 crore the state received from the Centre towards food conversion charges under mid-day meal programme was also being utilised for construction of new classrooms and kitchen. He assured that the Government would ensure supply of free textbooks and uniforms to 73 lakh children by this June, when the schools reopen. He said 3.15 lakh children have been trained under the “mahithi sindu” programme to provide computer education to high school children. He ruled out change in the existing tri-semester examination introduced in schools.
Second, the medium of education. Now,we say that all sorts of parents,poor,dalit or others must be given the freedom to choose their own medium.This means in most states English will start in the first standard. This has to be conceded.There is no mention in NCERT man’s NCF.
India is estimated to have a surplus 47 million working age people in 2020. US alone will have a deficit of 17 million. So, migration of talents from India will accelerate. Yet, the massive skills shortage cannot be bridged by migration alone. So, offshoring will gather greater momentum in the next two decades. Only 10-15 percent of graduates are world class. We need more multi linguistic skills. Now we only have less than 500 Ph.Ds in technology annually. The critical issues are not discussed by the prof, in our opinion. They are here. One, what about the exams.How many exams a student passes before he or she gets into the engineering/medicine courses?
Second, the medium of education. Now, we say that all sorts of parents, poor, dalit or others must be given the freedom to choose their own medium. This means in most states English will start in the first standard. This has to be conceded. There is no mention in NCERT man’s NCF. Third, how the 100 per cent enrolment of school-going children be achieved? Academic men can do many things. They can’t deploy an army of achievers.The industry could make all the difference! Populist politics had led to many undesirable education coaching business ventures. How long we can wait for the government machinery to deliver? It can’t beyond a point.