It’s never too early to nurture a child’s development of literacy and education skills. In today’s world, now is the right opportunity to look at literacy beyond the ability to read and write and help us become more active citizens, aware and conscious of our rights and duties to promote education among the youth
In India, the development discourse has moved from ‘roti, kapda aur makaan’ to basic social infrastructures like health, education, and livelihoods to create more aware, active, and responsible citizens.
It is essential to start looking at the quality of education through a larger lens. Some development efforts in the education sector which will help improve learning outcomes in the country are:
1. Government schools should be primarily owned by communities: Middle and upper-middle-class India should strive to own the decision-making process around education in general and government schools from a policy perspective. This will provide scope for improvement of the education system to the masses.
2. Modernization of teacher education (TE) curriculum: It’s time to revamp the teacher-education institutions and work on removing political ownership and patronage. We should focus on looking at the curriculum and pedagogy to bring modern and innovative elements into it and make it much more rigorous. In fact, there should be centers of excellence for teacher education to ensure that all possible autonomy, attention and resources are given to make them world-class. The centers can be leveraged to help improve the quality of other TE institutions.
3. Make it national mandatory on the importance of good quality school leadership: This will help improve and maintain school quality, nurture a learning culture within schools, maintain teacher motivation, and ensure respect for and involvement of all stakeholders.
4. Establish methods of identifying and grooming potential school faculty/educators: We need to look beyond the parameters of years of service and performance as a teacher. We must explore the idea that a great schoolmaster may not necessarily be the most senior or the best teacher. Also, we must work on devising ways of reinstating the social image and status of educators in the villages and towns to emphasize the importance of these members.
5. The government school teachers should be considered the most critical stakeholders in the government education system: It’s time to make teachers a core constituent in the co-creation and co-designing curriculum and pedagogy for children. They will also help incorporate local flavors and realities into the learning process.
6. Promote and encourage the idea of a good education: There is a need to extend it beyond rote learning of concepts. It should primarily focus on cognitive development, a belief that values a child’s uniqueness, and the celebration of different definitions of ‘intelligence.’ Also, it is essential to extend the scope of education in India, especially pre-primary education in all states (as RTE – Right to education has made primary education compulsory)
7. Improving quality and quantity of education: With the RTE now getting a more significant number of children in school, there is a need to increase focus on developing a shared understanding of what better education looks like through a collaborative process. Also, we need to allocate a higher percentage of GDP towards ensuring quality and quantity.