A carpenter needs to know what an angle of 90 degrees is. When a mother
does not want her child to get diarrhoea, she needs to know the basics of
hygiene. This is why we need education.
Investments in education contribute both to aggregate economic growth as
well as enable citizens to broadly participate in the growth process through
improved productivity, employment, and wages.
India's children are India's future and this future looks very depressing.
But, surely a nation of half-starved illiterate children is a monumental
national problem? Is it not time for some serious rethinking at the highest
levels of government? The solutions are simpler than we think.
About 20% of Indian children between the ages of six and 14
are not enrolled in school. Even among enrolled children,
attendance rates are low and 26% of pupils enrolled in
primary school drop out before Grade 5. The situation is
worse in certain sectors of the population: the poor, those
living in rural areas, girls, and those living in some states,
such as Bihar and Rajasthan.
SSA is Government of India's flagship programme for achievement of
Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE), as mandated by 86th
amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory
Education to the Children of 6-14 years age group, a Fundamental Right
The programme seeks to open new schools in those habitations which
do not have schooling facilities and strengthen existing school
infrastructure through provision of additional class rooms, toilets,
drinking water, maintenance grant and school improvement grants.
Mid Day Meal Scheme:
Right to Education:
The MDM is the world’s largest school feeding programme reaching
out to about 12 crore children across the country. With a view to
enhancing enrolment, retention and attendance and simultaneously
improving nutritional levels among children.
The passing of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory
Education (RTE) Act 2009 marks a historic moment for the children of
India. All children between the ages of 6 and 14 shall have the right to
free and compulsory primary education at a neighbourhood school.
There is no direct (school fees) or indirect cost (uniforms, textbooks,
mid-day meals, transportation) to be borne by the child.
MDM fiasco - Recent news of Bihar, Delhi, Amritsar and many more states has
brought the awful truth behind the scheme.
In most states, the periodic reviews that are mandatory seldom take place. While
Rs 3.49 is allocated for each child’s meal in a day in primary classes, it is Rs 5 for
upper primary children, which has a big impact on the quality of food.
The government has received 41 complaints of irregularities in the working of the
mid-day meal scheme in the past three years while several samples collected
failed to meet nutritional and caloric values. Out of which action was taken in 31
Problem with teaching mechanism -The school enrolment rates are ahead of the
targets, but the dropout rates are also high, making the enrolment rates
The country ranked 63 out of 64 in the latest Program for International Student
Assessment (PISA) study. The 2011 stated that only 48.2% of students in the fifth
grade can read at the second grade level.
1. Education spending in the past decade have been on improving school facilities and infrastructure,
improving teacher salaries and training, hiring more teachers to reduce pupil-teacher ratios, and
expenditure on student benefits such as textbooks, and mid-day meals.
They may be necessary but not sufficient, but the results highlight that infrastructure by itself is unlikely to
have a significant impact on improving learning levels and trajectories.
2. The teacher hiring and training process has to be more stringent to make sure it will result in instilling
good quality education in kids.
There has to be a proper quality check maintained for the entire staff of the school to make sure they are up
to the mark always and not deteriorating or have lost interest.
Along with the attendance of students, the attendance of teachers should also be logged and sent to district
and state heads for review.
All these in turn should be the criteria for salary hikes and promotions of teachers.
3. Collaborating with NGOs will help in improving the effectiveness of primary education. The government
could support the efforts of NGOs to bring out-of-school children into schools through timely supply of
teachers, classroom space, and other resources.
To help make learning interesting and worthwhile for such children, teachers in government schools
could receive special training in new methods developed by NGOs. NGO models would be a useful tool
for teacher training institutes
A lot of corporate and educational institutes should add these campaigns and knowledge sharing
programs in their social responsibility wing.
4. Weak governance of the education system.
The all-India panel data show that improving monitoring and supervision of schools is strongly correlated
with reductions in teacher absence, and estimates that investing in improved governance by increasing the
frequency of monitoring could yield an 8 to 10 times return on investment in terms of reducing the fiscal
cost of teacher absence and could be 10 to 12 times more cost effective at reducing effective pupil-teacher
ratio (which is the pupil-teacher ratio after adjusting for teacher absence rates) than hiring more teachers.
5. Having stricter governance in mid day meal preparation and distribution.
Due to faulty system of purchasing and storage of food grains by the Food Corporation of India,
sometimes the food grains supplied have been found to be rotten and full of insects and pests. This is
testified by the cases of children falling ill after taking the mid-day meal, as reported in the newspapers.
The head master of every school must be responsible for checking on the condition of food being supplied
to the kids, whether the quality of food is up to the mark and food is provided at a hygienic place.
6. As the drop out rate in schools is increasing by the day, The curriculum needs a more dynamic twist to
keep the kids interested in going to schools, which can happen with a more out of the box training of the
7. Parents of these kids need to be educated about the importance of primary education, especially in rural
This can be taken up by unemployed graduates, volunteers from NGOs, other school students. Street plays,
skits, pamphlets, radio jingles, TV ads to emphasize on the importance of education in not just industrial or
manufacturing sector, but in agricultural sector too.
8. Difficulty level and the quality of the exams conducted annually to clear students for the next class should
be carefully and methodically set, making it a fool-proof assessment test.