Item Code: IDK265
National Book Trust, India
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The future of the Nation is in the hands of the youth and that future is determined by the training and education they receive today. Education indeed is the barometre of a society's advancement. How successful has been our educational endeavour in independent India? The answer is provided by two wellknown scholars, Padma Ramachandran and Vasanta Ramkumar in their new book Education in India.
Hundreds of books, reports and other publications are available today on education as a whole, or on education on different aspects or different sectors of education is India. Yet there is hardly any other work as comprehensive as this one. In six chapters they deal with this complex, multifaceted subject with rare mastery and insight. There has been good deal of scholarly research behind this work and anyone interested in the subject of education in India will find it exceedingly informative and enlightening. The book is full of facts and figures; it gives encomium, where it is deserved and criticism where it is due. Altogether, it is a comprehensive and insightful work and the authors deserve fulsome praise for their purposeful and painstaking effort.
The titles of the different chapters speak for themselves indicating the vast coverage of the subject. Education in Ancient and Medieval India, Education during the British Rule, Education in Ancient and Medieval India, Education during the British Rule, Educational Thinkers in India, Steps taken in the field of General Education since Independence, Pre-primary, Primary and Adult Education, Secondary and Higher Education, Professional Education, Administration in the Centre and the States, Assistance from Foreign Agencies, the Teacher and Teacher Educating, Examination and Evaluation and Other Concerns; this is indeed an exhaustive list. Taken together they will cover every aspect of education in India and that is what makes the book different from others. As the authors state in the Introductory Chapter, they have shown a great deal of audacity to deal with a subject so vast, diverse and complicated as education in India with its baffling issues and unending experiments.
At the time India became independent in 1947, the percentage of literacy in the country was hardly ten. But fifty-five years later in 2002 with all the efforts by the Centre and the States the percentage has risen only to fifty-two. In spite of fifty-two years of planned development, India is still far behind other countries in Asia except perhaps Myanmar. Counties like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Malyasia and the little Singapore have all made spectacular progress during this period. Why is it that India has lagged behind? It is still the largest illiterate country in the world. India has the largest number of illiterates, over 400 million, more than the total number of illiterates in all the other countries put together. That makes us realize the stupendous nature of the task ahead in the field of education.
There is a broad uniform pattern of education adopted all over the country. It consists of ten years of school education, primary and secondary, two years of higher secondary education and three years of college education leading to a university degree. Though there is alround concern for pre-primary education for children below the age of six years, what is now provided for them is ill planned, haphazard and scattered efforts by private agencies in urban areas at prohibitive cost.
At the time the Constitution of India was adopted in 1949, a provision in the chapter on Directive Principles of State Policy had declared that universal free primary education should be made available to all children up to the age of fourteen years within a period of ten years. But even after fifty-five years we have not been able to achieve that target. In the years 2002 the Constitution was amended to make free primary education a Fundamental Right. We have yet to see the impact of this new provision from a practical point of view. In 1986 the National Policy on Education had proclaimed that the goals of the Policy were to universalize elementary education and strive for retention and achievement, work for adult literacy and close the gap between the opportunities for education for girls and boys so as to attain equality. But these are lofty goals which are far from realization although a certain measure of progress has been achieved. Political will and financial support are essential to make these.
With nearly a million schools, both primary and secondary together, enrolment of over 30 million students and a total of some 1.5 million teachers, India's secondary education edifice has become a gigantic structure although the country has yet to go a long way to make universal primary education a reality. But the biggest problem seems to be maintenance of quality. Quality of education depends on the quality of teachers, their zeal, enthusiasm and motivation. In the name of universalisation of primary education mere increase in number and percentages will not be enough. High quality alone can contribute to development. Ninety percent or more of the schools in the country are in the Public Sector, these are the schools where the bulk of the students in the country, especially from the rural areas enter for their early educational pursuit. They are also mostly from poor families. If they do not get a reasonably high quality education the loss will be incalculable. But what kind of schools are they attending? They are schools only in name. They have no satisfactory infrastructure; buildings, furniture, equipment, library, playground, even toilets, leave alone well qualified, efficient motivated teachers. Hence strengthening and improving Schools in the Public sector is imperative if the nation is not to fritter away the energies and talents of its children and to expose them to deprivation and exploitation. Training and education of teachers is of utmost importance in this context. This book has given adequate attention to teacher education and the great role teachers can play in building up a new generation of citizens who will become true nation builders.
Generally speaking, the higher education system has indeed become a low level mismanaged business proposition involving the students, parents, teacher, different categories of non-teaching employees, the private managements and the university authorities; all engaged in all types of deals by means of which admissions are secured, degrees are sold and bought, question papers are traded and answer books manipulated. Colleges and universities are crowded with activists of political parties, big and small, who threaten and blackmail ordinary teachers, students and administrators. An honest student's life has become risky. A conscientious teacher is afraid to perform his duties. Caste and communal considerations dominate the entire structure of college and university administration. Appointments of teachers are largely decided on caste or graft or both. Examinations assume proportions of a battle in which those responsible for conducting them face all kinds of threats even to their lives. Anti-social elements invade examination halls and disrupt their smooth conduct. Sections of students have now even started demanding as a fundamental right freedom to copy in examinations!
Another source of disturbance in the campuses is the teaching community itself. Complaints against teachers are many. Non-performance of their duties is only one of the minor ones. A sizeable proportion of teachers do not take classes regularly, do not supervise the research scholars, and even when they teach, what they teach is outdated syllabi. Some teachers have developed vested interests and often are at the back of most students troubles and problems. They would like to see classes suspended or institutions closed because under the cover of such troubles they could get off from the teaching work. Many of them take up outside as signments after cutting classes on some pretext or the other.
Our concept of education and hence of educational institutions has undergone a great change in recent years. Education is no more limited to the building up of knowledge sills and character of the students and hence educational institutions cannot be mere ivory towers with total academic freedom to do what they like with their programmes. Education now has to have social concerns, for the employment of the youth and for the value system to be inculcated in keeping with the ideals enshrined in our Constitution. Students and institutions are to be involved in study, work and services related to national development which has come to be called the third dimension of education. Research and creative activities of the students and institutions are also to be channelised for tackling specific problems of regional and national development. This new concept has great potentialities for tackling specific problems of regional and national development. This new concept has great potentialities for making education an investment rather than merely a social service. It should be able to attract far more funds for its programmes and to pay back to society handsome dividends through not only human resources development, but also through participation and intervention in the whole process of social-economic and cultural development. Through its linkages with research institutions, industry, agriculture, a variety of services and the government, the university should be in a position to offer enriched academic programmes without in any way adversely affecting its autonomy.
India is now on a cross road where she needs to increase her literacy level to 95% of the population for social mobilization and use technology for creating the best possible skilled manpower for nation building. The creation of this skilled manpower has two strains. One strain of this human resource will have to be used for commercial export to the rest of the world as a finished product that will give India profitable earnings like another inanimate commercial product. The second strain of human resource development has to be geared for taking care of the basic needs of over one billion Indians. They will be the innovators, the Indegenisers, catalysts as well as the originators of ideas to make the country self-reliant. This will occur only when there is adequate incentives available to those who undergo higher education to contribute towards nation building. Ultimately, the financial aspects of the education system as a show will determine the levels of all the attributes in cluding equity, commitment, autonomy, accountability and most important, its relevance to the societal and national development. I take pleasure in commending this valuable work to all those interested in education in India.
Back of the Book
A thorough and serious study of the theory and practice of education in the context of the present day Indian realities, this exhaustive volume provides an authoritative insight. While tracing the growth of education as such right from the ancient days up to the attainment of independence in India, the volume takes up and analyses the contemporary situation in the various sub-areas of the sector like primary level education, mid and high school level education, higher education, professional and technical education, teacher training, etc. making use of a spectrum of reports and surveys related to the field. It is likely to serve the needs of the teachers, educational administrators, researchers, students and general readers alike in a significant way.
About the Author
Padma Ramachandran, former Chief Secretary to the Government of Kerala and former Vice-Chancellor, Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda has had considerable experience as an administrator with special insight into the workings of educational sector. Author of Public Administration published by NBT, she has studied different systems of governance and management and the problems of women's development in many countries.
Dr. Vasantha Ramkumar, former Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Kerala has had a distinguished career as an academic as well as administrator in the field of education for more than thirty five years. Author of more than hundred research papers and a book Self Concept and Achievement, she has also served as a Visiting Faculty to the University of Arizona, USA and University of Waikato, New Zealand.
|1||Education in Ancient and Medieval India||1|
|2||Education during British Rule||50|
|3||Educational Thinkers in India||105|
|4||General Education since Independence||127|
|5||Pre-Primary Education to Higher Education||158|
|7||The Teacher and Teacher Education||259|
|9||Examination and Evaluation Issues||341|
|Notes and References||397|