Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Education news

A couple of report cards look at the UPA government's record on education. The first, by Charu Sudan Kasturi of The Telegraph, focuses on higher education (its second half does cover school education, though). The UPA government gets 7 out of ten.

India is riding an unprecedented boom in educational opportunities thanks to policy decisions under UPA rule that have significantly improved access to schooling and higher education for most citizens.

But Manmohan Singh’s outgoing government has failed to find a cogent strategy to prevent the education explosion from turning into a cancer that could eviscerate its foundations.

Pallavi Singh's article in Mint, however, is largely on school education.

An annual report on the status of education in the country, published by non-government organization Pratham since 2005, has repeatedly noted that increased enrolment in public schools was accompanied by poor learning levels.

Madhav Chavan, founder of Pratham, says the government’s approach has not been serious about evaluating the results of its education programmes. “Quality-wise, not much has happened,” Chavan said. “The government has not been able to give any direction to initiatives on quality.”

He added that higher fiscal support to state governments to fund education has been a singular achievement in the past five years. “It means they (states) could provide midday meals (to students), expand the education programme for children in pre-school, which in quantitative terms means bigger reach, and significant changes such as more enrolment and lesser number of dropouts.”

Hemali Chhapia of ToI reports:

Early last month, the Yash Pal committee was informed that the Union HRD ministry had whittled down its position to an advisory body, but members stuck to their recommendations and the original terms of reference. ...

A copy of the final report with this paper vilifies all regulatory inspectors and notes that poor reforms have been the main culprit of several wrong goings in higher education. In these tough times, the panel points out one more bankruptcy-the one in the country's intellectual banks, universities.

While traditional universities, it notes, did not "create public confidence'', private institutes have been reduced to "commercial entities of very low quality''. Recent expansion in higher education, the report says, has not looked at the "impoverished undergraduate education'' that caters to 6 million students who pass through a system which has "not renewed itself and has not provided opportunities to students''.


  1. Anonymous said...

    Yash Pal committee is spot on in its analysis. The proliferation of new universities implies that there are funds to be dished around. Why not try to rejuvenate old institutions (which is perhaps cheaper) and not create new fiefdoms ?

  2. Anonymous said...

    i wonder how the telegraph guys gave this sick govt 7/10!!! After reading the report i feel it should not have been awarded more than 2/10! The MHRD has done immense harm to the Indian educational system and the society in the last 5 yrs. Creating fake institutes like the 8 IITs can't be called an achievement.