Economy India
RAJ ARTHA

Issues of Education and the need for a regularity authority

Issues of Education and the Need for a Regulatory Authority

By Manohar Manoj

First of all, we need to know that education is a huge sector, ranging from primary to pre-secondary and secondary to senior secondary and from higher education to technical education, vocational education and also to various modes of skill development. Second  Education comes under govt. and private sector as well as operated by NGOs too. Third, education is governed under all three tiers of democratic governance; center, state, and local democratic bodies or local self-government.
Education has a variety of institutions like missionary institutions, training institutions, vocational institutions, etc. However, among all three tiers of democratic federal governance, education predominantly comes under the jurisdiction of state government. The Centre just works as a  parallel facilitator to the states in terms of drafting educational syllabi, courses and setting examination patterns.  It also runs several educational institutions which go around parallel with the educational systems, set up by the state governments.

The third tier of democracy, the local self-government is now being considered an important responsibility bearer of primary education, but that has yet to be fully ratified. Moreover,  the first tier of Central Government has the role of policy-framing, guideline-making, funds-allocation, administering the central educational institutions, syllabus and curriculum making and working as a model examination board operator.

In the current functional scenario, the central government has its own set of educational institutions like ‘Central Schools’, ‘Central Universities, Central Technical Institutions like IITs, IIMs,  AIIMs,  NIITs, and also many educational research and training institutes of national importance.  Almost all Ministries/depts. have at least one institution/training institute, which works in favor of their own requirements.  For the endorsement of course books/study material at the center level, there is an institution named National Council for Educational Research and Training  (NCERT).  For drafting the syllabus and controlling the examination, there is an institution called the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). For helping the universities in financial, academic, and affiliation terms, there is one controlling institution named University Grant Commission (UGC). For controlling the syllabus, courses and degrees for all kinds of technical education, there is an organization called All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). For controlling many mass examinations like NEET, JEE, and CUET there is a new institution called National Testing Agency, NTA.

All the state governments of India have a vast network of educational institutions which start from primary school and are followed by pre-secondary, secondary, senior secondary, college and universities and various technical institutions too. Apart from government-sponsored educational institutions, there is a vast spread of educational institutions in the private sector also. As per the recent figures regarding the status of primary education in the country, private schools have been very much operational in the villages also. It is estimated that private players are running around 47 percent of primary schools of the country now. We have around 10 lakh primary schools (both govt. and private) in the country which have the enrolment of around 15 crore children. But, the most pathetic point is the dropout ratio of the school-going children, which is still around 25 percent, despite the many efforts of providing free uniforms, food, and books to them. It means that the economic background of the parents forces them to be indulged in child labor activities rather than attending school. In the same way, we have around 4 lakh middle schools in the country which has enrolled around 60 lakh students with them. Further, we have around two lakh SSC/HSC schools in the country, which have an enrolment of around 50 lakh students. Coming to higher studies, we have around 30,000 colleges in the country that are providing education to almost 25 lakh students.

Talking about the faculty, we have around 30 lakh teachers for primary schools, 20 lakh for middle schools, and around 24 lakh teachers for higher secondary schools. In secondary education, ‘public school’ run by private players has a more presence in the urban metropolis, state capitals, and to some extent in district headquarters and in all municipality towns also.

As we know, education has become one of our important fundamental rights, so the central government allocates a  huge amount of funds towards elementary education programs like ‘Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan’ (SSA). This Abhiyan has two components; first is the school and its building complex, and second is the appointment of teachers along with the provision of a midday meal scheme for the school children. However, the mid-day meal scheme is being looked after by the Central Child and Women Development Ministry. The appointment of teachers is primarily held at the state level, which always has possibilities of corruption and irregularities.

As we know, in the government sector, the appointment policy has been subject to many difficulties.  The permanent job-doers never have productivity-centric performances, as is the case with permanently appointed teachers. They are not found to be very sincere in doing their teaching work. It has been seen the teachers employed in private schools with less salary perform better than the teachers employed in government schools. This is the reason even the villagers now prefer to send their children to private schools.

The corruption in the government sector is visible not only in terms of negligence in teaching but also in the resource centers. Corruption is found to be visible in the mid-day meal scheme. Whenever any fund is released for special purposes like construction or purchase in the schools that are found to be riddled with corruption. In contrast, in private schools, the wayward fixation of tuition fees,  higher admission fees, and charges in the name of development (at the primary/secondary level/ ) and very high amount of capitation charges at the level of the professional course can be termed as corruption prevailing under the private run education system.

Admission is the most problematic and corruption-prone area in the private education setup.   In top private schools, admission charges range between rupees 1 to 5 lakh; in medical colleges, it ranges from 25 lakh to 100 lakh, in engineering colleges, it ranges between 10 to 25 lakhs. Admission rackets are generally quoted while talking about these sorts of corruption.

In our sort of education system, there is neither uniformity in examination boards nor in the syllabus, which is mainly responsible for the existence of our present form of a non-egalitarian structure of society, which has, in fact, turned education into a business. Schools and educational institutions have become like brands and accordingly, their admission fee, tuition fee, and development fee are being charged. The affiliation has become a big business, which brings violations in various fields of educational administration. Private schools seek permission from CBSE, professional colleges seek affiliation from universities, (UGC) and if institutes are technical ones, then they seek affiliation from AICTE. These sorts of things have always been riddled with corruption. We have a  bounty of professional institutions coming into the education market, they all are in a queue for getting affiliation from the recognized universities, and for that bundles of currency are being offered, which they ultimately collect from the admission seekers. It forms the chain of education business as well as corruption in the country. We have around 1000 courses being evolved and students are seeking them in order to make their careers and get employment opportunities. In accordance with that, many professional institutions have come into the operation and view it as a great business opportunity.  So the persons,  who are interested in the business of education, try to take affiliation from the recognized universities/boards after paying them a bribe and after that, they come up with various institutes in the area of ‘management’, ‘medical’, ‘engineering’, ‘poly techniques’, etc. We already have many scandals that have erupted in which it was found that one university gave affiliation to hundreds of institutes, which was,  later on,  turned back as non-recognized one.

Another aspect of educational corruption is the mushrooming growth of coaching centers, which is happening all over the country. Most of the above five lakh populated cities in the country are now flooded with a variety of coaching centers. Most of the faculties work in various govt. and non-govt. institutions do join these coaching centers to earn an extra amount of money. These coaching centers charge a huge amount of fees from the students. There is no proper regulation over this. There are many mafias and corrupts who are running educational institutions and from time to time, they are being caught during Income tax and other raids. Another aspect of corruption prevalent in our education system is that of paper leak-outs and the selling of question papers from time to time. We have enormous scandals taking place in this sector. Many times, it leads to the cancellation of several examinations. In all, our education sector requires a huge and comprehensive reform keeping in mind the various facets of this gigantic sector otherwise, under the present hotchpotch and unregulated setup, corruption will keep continuing in this sector.

For streamlining the whole education sector and providing relief to all education seekers, we need a TRAI-like regulatory authority in education too. It can provide an equal level playing field for both public and private players working in the education sector. As we know fair competition as well the as time-to-time proper regulation always keeps the prices at the appropriate level, in the same way, if we promote competition in the education sector, it will benefit all its stakeholders.  In normal course under govt. sector.  primary to high school level education is govt. financed and higher education is partly financed, however govt. has to pour huge money towards these areas through UGC and the state budget.

In India, education has created two worlds in India. The upper middle class and big city living middle class prefer to take the services of private education institutions. The reason is the quest for a better educational environment and proactive teachers, so people are getting allured by private educational institutions, However, on the one side in the absence of a properly designated regulator in order to fix up and suggest a fee structure, the private sector has become notorious for looting and making the business of education in a wayward manner whereas in the government-run higher education sector the educational administration is hugely in a pathetic shape. Rampant corruption, no work culture, and a passive educational environment where permanent teachers hardly bother about applying their effort to educating the students. The fact is that the educational environment in both the central and state universities is hugely deplorable due to their non-work culture, ineffective and non-compliance with the educational calendar, ongoing strikes, and political lobbyism. The lack of a level playing field, two worlds of teachers, that is of permanent teachers and guest teachers has created a hotchpotch scenario in the universities and colleges.

Education has two fundamental issues, first, what should be the content of education, comprising syllabus and medium of language, and second financing and administration of the whole education machinery. Apart from this non-linkages of education with that of employment, skill development, making self-confident and competent, and creating an entrepreneurial spirit are the issue that has to be greatly taken into account.

There is massive spoilage of public money in universities. In the public sector, we have a plethora of quality teachers but their application and devotion and in the end productivity are nil, always getting derailed by strikes, long holidays, and pandemic kinds of things. Last year the country suffered hugely through the covid 19 pandemic but in India for the higher educational institutions, there is always a pandemic kind of situation.

Teaching has always been a profession of prestige,  glory, and dedication; but unfortunately, the downfall of morality in every walk of life has also taken this profession under its grip. It has altogether brought a deep deterioration in the standards of the teaching profession. We have many sorts of teachers, varying from primary, secondary, higher studies, and technical to professional course teachers.
All these faculties have different characters and mindsets while committing any wrong practice. Teachers working in government schools have different job conditions than that of private ones, so their deliverance of duty also differs from the private sector. In government schools, it is found that some teachers are non-qualified and some remain absent from the schools, if they are found present, they lack alertness while doing their teaching duty. However, it is an administrative and management-oriented problem, which most government schools suffer from.

Corruption in Education

Education is one of the major sectors, which is laden with innumerable forms of both overt and covert corruption. Public administration of education is visible on the level of all three tiers of democratic governance as well as it is being operated under the ambit of not only the public and private sectors but also under the voluntary sector. Therefore, we have to study the prevalence of corruption in education in terms of all above mentioned three layers (center, state, and local bodies) and under three forms (Government, Private, and NGOs).

The corruption part in the government sector is visible not only in terms of negligence in teaching but also in the resource centers. Corruption is found to be visible in the mid-day meal scheme. Whenever any fund is released for special purposes like construction or purchase, that is found to be riddled with corruption. In contrast, in private schools, the wayward fixation of tuition fees,  higher admission fees and charges in the name of development (at the primary/secondary level) and very high amount of capitation charges at the professional courses level can be termed as corruption prevailing under the private education system.

Corrupt acts by the teachers

The following may be termed as points of corruption prevalent amongst teaching professionals:
(a)  There was a time when in most government primary schools, teachers used to exploit their students for their own personal work. Sometimes they used to beat and harass them. However, it is banned now,  but still, in many cases, teachers emotionally exploit their students
.(b)Most of the government teachers, despite having a good salary and permanent job, indulged in private tuition work, even after it is declared illegal.
(c) Teachers are found to be involved in false marking in many exams. They try to give support to their own kith and kin and favorite students. In many cases, it is found that the son or daughter of a teacher even without any talent or hard work is able to get merit ranking in his/  her exams just because of undue favour
.(d) In most colleges, the teachers are found to be absent in classes and they somehow manage their attendance.
(e) In technical subjects, teachers are found to be more interested in private tuition.
(f) In many cases, teachers aspire to get favors/help from their ex-students
.(g)In colleges/universities, many teachers are found indulged in politics, so they skip classes and do not justify the salary amount they are being paid with.
(h) Many a time teachers by making nexus with their principal/admin staff, try to siphon the student welfare funds.
(i)  The post of university vice-chancellor has greatly deteriorated. It has become a corrupt institution, politically guided and the most prestigious intellectual post has been massively downgraded.

 

Suggestions

1 Only quality, performance and productivity of teachers should be given preference and should be applied as a policy matter for all educational institutions

2 Cost and output analysis, productivity audit, and compulsory implementation of the educational calendar must be given top priority in every college.

3 there should be a uniform policy for all the appointments of teachers. All teachers must have contractual and equal pay and perks and their day-to-day productivity should be taken into account

4 In every educational institution, there should be a post of consultant for the students

5 There should be separate cells for the administration and day-to-day management of the college.  The prestige of the teachers should be restored at any cost and their participation in the administrative work should be accompanied by compulsory training and orientation courses.

6 In all govt. institutions have to learn how they manage and improve the performance of the private institutions and private institutions have to learn how to indulge themselves in social responsibility sort of works like govt. institutions

7 There should be an equal pay scale for both permanent and temporary teachers as well as the govt. teachers and private teachers both.

8 There should be a three-tier regulatory authority at the center(university), state(from pre-secondary to higher education), and district levels (till primary level)in order to fix up fee structure, monitor govt. guidelines and creating a level playing field

9 There should be uniformity in the educational syllabus, examination pattern, and language medium with an additional option of local language and culture in order to create an egalitarianism in the society

10 Compulsory provision of sports, culture, moral education, science awakening, and socially sensitive issues in the educational syllabus.

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