NEW DELHI: Unhappy over the deteriorating quality of education in schools, with secondary and higher secondary classes covering classes 8th to 12th being hit the most, the Union HRD ministry has called for suggestions from states to set a benchmark for students-teachers ratio to ensure a fair level of quality education.
Sources said the matter came up following national surveys conducted by the central run National Council of Educational Research and Training, NCERT that indicated need for significant improvement in learning levels, especially in secondary and higher secondary levels of education. NCERT is an apex resource organization to assist and advise the central and state governments on academic matters related to qualitative improvement of school education.
The matter was discussed during an internal meeting recently held which evaluated the progress report of Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).
RMSA is a centrally sponsored scheme which was constituted to ensure universalization of access to secondary schools and aims at strengthening of school infrastructure, improving students-teacher ratio, providing incentives like free textbooks and increasing the enrollment of children in schools.
As per the Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE), 2015-16 the annual average dropout rate at elementary level is at 4.1 % and a whooping 17.06 % at secondary level in schools across the country, much to the embarrassment of the government.
The government’s concern is that despite India having around 41 percent of its total population below the age of 20 years, lack of quality education in schools, especially at the secondary and senior secondary levels in schools would be counter-productive, as it would lack skills.
Due to lack of skills, India cannot think of competing with China and other developed economies, said an official requesting anonymity.
To improve learning standards, the NCERT has devised parameters ``learning outcome’’ to assess learning levels of students from Class 1 to Class 8. It has called for inputs from all states in this regard. The NCERT will then incorporate its findings which would make it into schools’ teaching methodology.
Sources said the matter concerning rising levels of students-teachers ratio would also be discussed with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) also that is meeting shortly with the Union HRD ministry to take a call on having Class 10 board examinations.
A senior Union HRD ministry official pointed out that the higher rate of students-teachers ratio has been found in both private and state-run schools. In Delhi and NCR alone the students-teachers ratio in many private schools is touches over 55:1 (one teacher for every 55 students in any class).
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report recently released said India will be half a century late in achieving its universal education goals with universal primary education by 2050, universal lower secondary education by 2060 and universal upper secondary education by 2085.