Stepping Stones- Enhancing the
Quality of Primary Education
DR. JAI KOHLI
DR. NITI CHOPRA
BISHAN SINGH (TEAM COORDINATOR)
Education System is mainly based on theoretical knowledge they don’t believe in practical knowledge.
Theoretical knowledge is also important but if you don’t take practical knowledge you will not understand clearly that
Indian education is very harsh for the kids and ignores their feelings and ambitions. Parents are pushed their kids to
school at the age of 3. They don’t understand the feelings and opinions of kids. Education should be creative not be based
Education should be creative not be based on cramming.
Some people think that education is only for getting marks in the degree and
they are educated after completed but they don’t know the reality of life they completed
their degree after cram the syllabus.
Actually they are only book worms not well educated because they don’t have practical
Now days we are watching many people who don’t get job after completing their higher
education and they are unemployed. The reason behind that they don’t have practical
knowledge -they know only about books topic and don’t know about the real world
We can’t say that theoretical knowledge or education is not good for the people. By the help
of education we can learn how to think, how to work properly, how to make decision, how to sit,
how to talk with other people etc. this all can be done by proper education.
The education system of India should be learning centric not a books centric. Student must be
allowed to take subject according to their interest. Student should not try to get all information
from books and lectures.
Books will not provide you proper education it can be increase by sharing ideas and views to
others. Student should get information with its own by the help of library and internet. Internet
will provide your detail information about your topic as well as it increases your knowledge.
National Policy of Education (1992) laid down many objectives for the
development of education system in India but it has not been successful in
achieving all of them.
It has specified that the examination system should discourage the
memorizing but it is what is going on.
The education in India seems to encourage rote learning instead of
experimentation and questioning.
There is some disparity in assessment as all the State Boards have
different standards of evaluation.
The reservation on the basis of caste and religion is also a negative point
in Indian education.
Corruption is visible in the allocation of seats of institutions of higher
studies and student politics is another sore point. These are some of the issues,
which need to be worked upon.
Self reading and gathering information from the internet will increase
your good reading habit, self confidence and analytical skills.
Student will be able to remember for a long time when they apply it
Student should visit field trips to botanical garden, museum etc to get
practical knowledge and learn something from the experienced people
which will increase their communication skills.
The system of education in India should be learning-centric rather
Children must be allowed to choose subjectsaccording to their interests.
Instead of gaining knowledge from voluminous books and lectures, children
must be made to interact in groups and express their views on various topics.
Rather than taking notes from the teacher and textbooks, children must be
made to research information on their own from library books and the
Internet and share them in the class.
This will help them develop good reading habits, self-confidence and
openness to criticism. It will also help them in developing critical reading
and analytical skills.
Children will be able to remember what they learn when they apply it
practically. They must be taken on field trips to museums, labs,
planetariums, excavation sites, botanical gardens, etc. where they can learn
by interacting with knowledgeable and experienced people in varied fields.
It will also help them improve their communication skills.
However, behind the veil of such promising statistics, the learning outcomes of India's
children show little progress. The country ranked 63 out of 64 in the latest Program for International
Student Assessment (PISA) study, with some of its best schools ranked about average among those
surveyed. The 2011 ASER stated that only 48.2% of students in the fifth grade can read at the second
grade level. The number of students completing their primary education with inadequate numeracy
and literacy skills is startling. To see this manifest in an economic sense, one may attribute India's
productivity growth -- lagging behind that of East Asian economies -- to a lack of progress in the
foundational elements of countrywide, high-quality education.
Challenges of Primary Education in India
Early childhood education in India is subject to two extreme but contrary deficiencies.
On the one hand, millions of young children in lower income groups, especially rural and
girl children, comprising nearly 40% of first grade entrants never complete primary
school. Even among those who do, poorly qualified teachers, very high student-teacher
ratios, inadequate teaching materials and out-moded teaching methods result in a low
quality of education that often imparts little or no real learning. It is not uncommon for
students completing six years of primary schooling in village public schools to lack even
rudimentary reading and writing skills.
At the other end of the social and educational spectrum, children attending urban
schools, especially middle and upper class children in private schools, are subjected to
extreme competitive pressures from a very early age to acquire basic language skills and
memorize vast amounts of information in order to qualify for admission into the best
schools. Parents and teachers exert intense pressure on young children to acquire
academic skills at an age when children should be given freedom and encouraged
to learn as a natural outcome of their innate curiosity, playfulness and eagerness to
experiment. Rising concern over compulsory learning at an early age is prompting
many educators to advocate dramatic steps to counter the obsession with
premature and forced teaching practices.
The curriculum or the syllabus for students in our country in higher education (mainly engineering colleges) is outdated in most cases.
It is stale, dogmatic and teaches things that the world has moved on with. To infuse dynamism, you need the curriculum to be progressive in
People need to be given the option of doing multiple courses in the first year and allowed to choose what they want after the first semester
The spirit of curriculum should be projects driven not exams driven, it should be innovation driven and it should evolve not stay stagnated.
Exams need to be there to measure but they should be complimented with incentives for innovation (say Final Exams should be 50% and
the projects should be 50%).
The projects should have independent people who judge them not just faculty in place.The students should also be given the option to
switch over to other streams if they feel so or if they justify the basic criteria.
When I mean streams, practically speaking it should be very easy within Engineering and slightly harder to shift to say a Commerce course
(this is assuming it’s a full-fledged university with all these courses).For all this to happen, you need young and dynamic faculty sitting on
the academic syllabus boards, that’s where the next issue pops up
The academic curriculum board, in most cases is filled with
people above their 60’s and 70’s. With all due respect to them, I
strongly feel that you need a bunch of younger professors in there to
have that mix of experience and youth in the system.
Make the curriculum Dynamic not Dogmatic:
Make the Teachers feel worthy, pay them more:
The younger ones would be more in sync, more in line with the technological changes and the new age needs of the students in their years
to come. The fact, however, is that most of the younger professors are either outcasts (from the IT factory) or are doing this job because
they don’t have better things to do. Very few among the young are actually in teaching for the sake of teaching.
This might sound like a ludicrous suggestion but if you think about it, it might make some sense. We all know that private colleges make
money and they are run as large businesses. The solution, I feel, lies in making them take away the non profit status and make them
competitive. Make them under direct competition with each other so that they can get fight it out openly rather that doing so under the
carpet. We cant follow the English education system and yet sit in our holy grail of non profit, can we? Education is a business in some
form, the more we hide behind it, and the more corruption would step in. If Educational institutes are using this business to improve their
system, then let them do it, that’s how world class universities abroad work and that’s how we should work if we follow the colonial
system. The best way forward is to make them “for” profit, taxable and it would increase capital for them as well as increase transparency
One of the key pillars in growth in education is the level of industry interaction with the students. Companies should be sought out for such
interactions, if they don’t agree to it, then the universities should use their advantage. When companies come for placements, there should
be a basic qualification criteria for their eligibility for the placements. For example, they should have contributed investment worth 2 to 4
lakhs (just example, this can vary up or down) in R and D with the university to be eligible to come to placement. Most of the companies
would fall in line automatically since for them human capital is much more important than these meager sums of money. You think any IT
company would care about a few lakhs when they are recruiting 600 to 1000 people? When you provide so much human(s) capital you
think they would ignore it? Not a chance, this would make the university utilize its human potential to the hilt and also enhance its industry
interaction numbers significantly. Eventually, this investment would enhance the learning experience of the student and make him want to
give back to the institutes more once that person graduates.
Make the Private Institutes for profit, not non-profit
Industry Interaction a Placement Obligation
One of the most underrated potentials in Indian education system is the power of the Alumni. Barring the IIT’s and few other top institutes,
the concept of Alumni networking is nonexistent. In an era where every Indian graduating is earning somewhere, alumni networks need to
be very well intertwined with the university affairs. Alumni are very eager to give; just that a) they don’t know who to give b) they are
worried about where the money would go. Once you establish a credible network which is transparent, it would give the avenue as well as
the confidence for the alumni to contribute in terms of money or academic expertise All of the above are just mere suggestions to tackle
system that has numerous issues. These suggestions might not break the deadlock or create a revolution by any means but it can be
something that can be incorporated. These suggestions might not be relevant to some. These suggestions might also sound farfetched but if
it at least one of them adds value somewhere to the education system, then it’s worth it
MAJOR OTHER SOLUTIONS PROPOSED CAN BE:
The most important aspect of the approach is attitude of the teacher, which should be that learning is
a form of play which fosters the blossoming of the child’s natural development. Learning should and can
be made interesting, enjoyable, fun.
A large portion of the teaching materials are produced at the school by the teachers, who customize
their teaching aids to suit the interests and knowledge levels of the students.
First attention is given to the health and nutrition of the children to ensure that they have the
physical energy and natural attention span needed for learning. Nutritional and medical supplements are
provided to under nourished children from low income families. Free exercising and play are encouraged
to build strength and stamina.
Children learn spontaneously when their interest and curiosity are awakened. ‘Teaching’ is
confined to brief periods according to the natural attention span of each child, which is normally 15-30
minutes daily during the first two years. It is never extended beyond the child’s span of interest.
The student-teacher ratio is kept very low to enable the teacher to work with small groups of 4-5
children at a time while the others are absorbed in learning games or recreational play. The most effective ratio is five students per teacher
during pre-school, LKG and HKG and twenty students per teacher during standards 1 to 5. However, since the teaching methods are
Use the power of the Alumni:
intense, each student actually need attend only 2½ to 3 hours of class per day, enabling each teacher to effectively handle double the
number of students.
The act of teaching consists primarily of
presenting sensory images, objects and information
to the child in a pleasant and interesting manner and
permitting the child to observe and inquire about the
subject, without compelling the child to memorize.
Colored flash cards with large images are utilized as
convenient, low cost teaching aids.
Rapid acquisition of basic reading and
verbal skills in multiple languages occurs naturally
by exposing the child to whole words as objects
repetitively for very brief periods. In this manner at
a young age even children of illiterate parents learn
several languages as effortlessly as they normally
learn to speak their native tongue.
Story telling is used to make learning fun
and to communicate basic values of goodness, beauty, harmony, responsibility and right conduct.
Information on people and other living things, places, history, geography, and other cultures are
presented to the child in the form of stories, pictorial information and explanations combined together to present facts in a living, integrated
context rather than as a series of separate divorced subjects.
Rapid acquisition of basic math skills is achieved through the use of number line method which enables the child to physically experiment
and act out different combinations of addition and subtraction
The Project supports the improvement of quality in primary schools through interventions in four
1. In-service teacher training and support to improve active learning, continuous, supportive
student assessment and rational class management.
2. Development and supply of essential teaching-learning materials.
3. Promotion of community participation.
4. Improvement of school environment and facilities.Appendix