What is lacking in Indian education

sofatutor magazine Teacher

Highly skilled IT professionals and engineers, respected doctors - India's education creates successful people. But the education system has its downsides.

With over a billion inhabitants, India is not only the most populous democracy. It has the second largest education system in the world after China: 1.4 million state-recognized schools, around 33,000 colleges and 659 universities can be found there.

India has been said to have great potential for a few years now: there is talk of a development into an economic superpower. However, economic success is offset by major social problems: India is fighting against great poverty, increasing inequality, illiteracy, corruption, school dropouts, child labor, the oppression of women and marginalized groups, environmental pollution and ethnic and religious conflicts.

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Free education only in the first few years

It has only been possible for every child in India to go to school for a few years since 2012. In 2009, education was enshrined in the constitution in India as a fundamental right. Since then, children between the ages of six and 14 have been required to attend school. Until then, they are guaranteed to attend elementary education (primary and upper primary or middle school) free of charge. More than 90 percent of children now start school - still more boys than girls. The state of state schools, especially in rural regions, is, however, catastrophic: class sizes of up to 80 pupils of different ages, lack of equipment and teachers are the consequences of the low budget that the central government spends on education.

High number of early school leavers

Since education is a status symbol in India, many families want to enable their children to attend one of the better-established private schools. That is not a problem for the middle and upper classes. Lower caste families often go into debt. Here, in some cases, the girls' schooling is “sacrificed” for that of the boys. The Indian education system also loses numerous students in the transition from primary to secondary school after eighth grade. The secondary or higher secondary education, which prepares for a job or university, is for the most part only available in cities and is usually chargeable. Many families cannot afford school fees. The number of early school leavers is high in India. Like the number of illiterate people, it is the highest in the world.

Little chance of higher education

Escaping poverty as an engineer or doctor is the desire of many lower-class students. But few universities are state and central government funded. Less than 10 percent of students have the chance of one of the highly competitive places at a university. Those who can secure a place at university are under enormous pressure. Few graduate - India's elite.

Digitization - the dream of education for everyone

In 2009 India experienced a digital boom. Since then, the hope has been in the digital economy: start-ups are creating the jobs that are absolutely necessary. But digitization is not only intended to provide relief in the labor market: Many organizations and companies want to give as many people as possible an opportunity to get an education with the help of mobile devices: Because cell phones are inexpensive, so that more than a billion people in India have a cell phone. However, since not everyone can access the Internet, mobile solutions are necessary: ​​so-called mobile learning (m-learning) should give everyone access to knowledge. For example, the company Vahan offers free English lessons over the phone. But also projects like Hole-in-the-Wall Education, launched by the Indian educational scientist and computer scientist Sugata Mitra, are intended to enable independent and autonomous learning with digital media in the poorest regions. Computer terminals were installed as learning stations in public places and more than 300,000 children in 150 villages and slums in Asia and Africa were reached. Much remains to be done, however, to prepare India's children for competition in the international labor market and to ensure that all receive a good education.

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