Friday, March 16, 2012

What Govt can do more through SSA- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and RET

Importance of Education is something  on which any man can talk about endlessly but only few have actually understood and acted in the way one should have to handle the Global Issue of Illiteracy ,especially  for the needy ones The Govt. has 2 flagship programs for education : Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Right to Education (RTE). Here are some of the alarming stats (Courtesy: Times of India ).
  • Mean years of schooling in India is 4.4 years ( China  7.5 years)
  • %GDP spent on Public education is down to 3.8% in 2008-09 compared to 4.3% in 2000-01 whereas Cuba  has 18.7% which is highest.
  • Only 21000cr INR have been received by RTE for 2011 out of sanctioned 48000cr.
  • Of 7.5 lakh candidates who appeared for CBSE's all-India teacher recruitment test , only 93,000 passed
  •  NGO Parham’s Annual Status of Education Report (Aser) shows that nearly 47% Class V students cannot read Class II texts, while over 63% of Class III students cannot subtract
  • India has a shortage of 1.5 million teachers.
A Fellow at Teach For India
What will give a clearer picture about the need for education is to find out the literacy rate in India for those who are near to the BPL line. As per the MultiDimensional Poverty Index , 650 million people (53.7% of population) living in poverty in India, of which 340 million people (28.6% of the population) were living in severe poverty, and that a further 198 million people (16.4% of the population) were vulnerable to poverty . (Courtesy: Wikipedia) Now a survey of literacy rate in this section of ppl will reveal how successful we have been in RTE and SSA. The proportion of students in Private Schools has increased from 18.7 % to 25 % owing to the pathetic conditions of Govt counterpart.
Compared to this, here are some of the statistics showing the growth stories of Institutes like Teach for India who have taken up the initiative of free education. (Link) TFI has impacted 12000 students in 2011-2012 compared to 2800 in 2009-10. Such is the growth of these organizations. MAD (Make a Difference) also aims atimproving the retention ratio of children in school. Although, India has a literacy rate of 72-74 %, most of them drop out by the time they reach 10th Std. As a result, MAD has designed courses accordingly .Currently they work in 11 districts in India with over 800 volunteers, teaching 2500 children.
So what have such organizations done correctly which our Govt cannot achieve till date?  Compared to them, Govt has more powers, more workforce at disposal, reach to a bigger mass of people and adequate funds at disposal, still such disheartening results.
The organizations work on the simple principles of providing education to all. They are not cash rich, instead they work hard and sustain from the funds of the sponsors - Be it Corporate or Pooling of Donations. At the core, they understand what they stand for; realize the importance of the responsibility on their shoulders.  TFI has fellowship programs through which they invite the Next Gen to be a part of teaching community, and bring out innovative ways of teaching.
Why can’t the Govt run such programs with everything on their side? Why can’t they keep such programs free from the red tape and other bureaucratic nonsense? What is required is here not some rocket science invention. Have to follow the basic steps of Management. There are various surveys saying that Indian students are not on par with International students, that they are not taught that primary education also properly. We have taken the initiative to teach everyone, which is obvious, but not at the cost of quality of education. I mean why we wait for such surveys to tell us where we stand. Why can’t we have our own internal monitoring policy to see the effectiveness of our actions, to tell us how well we have fared and what kind of improvements are to be done? Form a committee who takes care on the quality and timely check that the things are just not in place but are being utilized efficiently. In today's highly competitive world, having education for the sake of it is not is as good as not having it. Also, undue attention has to give to the teachers and timely monitoring of the teaching practices and their abilities in delivering the required results.
Centralized tests can be conducted throughout to see where the students stand. It will serve 2 purposes. First it will tell the average score school wise, class wise so we can easily compare and find the loopholes. Also average scores of class can tell u about the teaching efficiency of the teachers as well.
SSA prepares and issues Joint Review Mission reports talking about implementation and the progress. What it does talk basically is about number of intakes, fund flows, infrastructure facilities and what it does not mention is the quality of the teachers and students. The reports have references for training for the teachers but not the results or efficiency of such training. Why so?
To read the full progress report, click the following link:  Joint Review Mission dated: 13th Jan, 2011
Whenever we discuss about the development, the rise of the "superpower”, we compare only the GDP growth and not such basic parameters. When the basics of the country are in such appalling condition, how does u expect the country to sustain such high levels of growth? If the foundations itself are not strong enough, even minor setbacks can cause large scale damages.

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