What is the rural education scenario in India and how can we change it?
There is no second opinion about the crucial role that education plays in shaping an individual’s personality. As per a survey revealing, India's organized sector has only 34 million people which forms a very small strata of the total population. This statement itself says a lot about the Indian literacy rate and the education system.
Even though India’s literacy rate has registered some growth over the last few years, but it has not been able to impart the kind of education that modern times demand.
There are several issues that the Indian education system is undergoing and the major one is the poor rural education scenario.
Major hiccups in the rural education system
We cannot deny the fact that even today, a huge part of India population still resides in rural India. However, there is hardly any attention being paid to the education system existing in rural India.
According to a survey report called the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), more than 50% of the students in 5th standard attending rural schools are not capable of reading a second standard textbook and do not to solve basic mathematical questions.
Read: 50% Class 5 students cannot read text of Class 2 level: 10 highlights from the ASER Education Report 2018
This clearly underlines various issues that are crippling our rural education system.
1. Dearth of adequate number of schools: The rural parts of India are already struggling a lot when it comes to local transportation. This problem poses a huge threat to education is rural Indian due to limited or no schools in the vicinity. The problem in transportation coupled with schools located at a great distance in rural areas compel parents not to send their kids to the schools, thus keeping them devoid of education.
2. Lack of pocket-friendly educational institutions: Residents of rural India usually come with little income sources which are usually consumed in the basic survival, making education out of their realm. The lack of government schools in the local areas discourages parents more to spend on their kids resulting in no education being imparted.
3. Inadequate infrastructure: The schools in rural India have really poor infrastructure. There is a huge lack of teachers, especially well-trained ones which disturbs the student-teacher ratio extensively. This leads to very poor quality of education being imparted, hardly fulfilling the need of education.
Even though we are one nation, we still continue to have a rural-urban divide in every aspect and education also falls in that sphere. There are a number of studies which have demonstrated a wide gap coming in between rural and urban education. The gaps can be witnessed in various ways.
In urban India, the number of schools are way higher in number as compared to rural India. Almost all the patches of the city have schools which makes education more accessible.
The way of teaching also differs in urban schools. While the teaching methodology in rural schools is still primitive, the urban schools are keen on adopting modern ways of teaching like concept learning and focus on development of each student.
How to change the status quo
As we have already discussed, there are various shortcomings that rural educational institutions have.
The solution to improving the rural education is introducing modern and better techniques to the education system which can help rural students come on par with the urban students.
1. Set up more schools: The parents in the rural India can be promoted to send their kids to schools only if there are enough schools near their homes and at a very minimal cost. To those who come from very low financial background, the government must provide for their textbooks, library and laboratory facilities so that they are not left with any reason for not attending the schools.
2. Amalgamate technology with education: It is very important for rural schools to lay emphasis on technology, especially basic computer knowledge so that they are not left far behind. Also, in the digitally growing world, it is very important for every child to be aware of basic technologies and their usage.
3. Focus on conceptual learning: Gone are the days when rote learning and facts learning were sufficient in order to be educated. Modern day education system required people to be aware of what they learning with the know-how of its application and this can be done only when basic concepts are cleared right from the beginning of their schooling.
4. Move outside classrooms: If we want to make education engaging for students, it is really important to start taking class lessons beyond the classrooms. It is very crucial for kids to be well aware of the world around them and this can be done only when they are being taken out and shown around. This will also help them understand the concepts practically and will remember them for longer.
There is certainly a huge gap between rural and urban education system, however, if dealt with precision, this gap can be filled in and we can create a common platform unifying student across the country.
- Article by Ritesh Rawal, Founder, Dudes and Dolls, The Cosmic School, Faridabad