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Nov 30th 2021
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Home Youth Education Empowering rural India to contribute more in national development

Empowering rural India to contribute more in national development

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India has a huge opportunity to improve the education standards in rural areas and create an even bigger skilled workforce.


India, despite of its 60 per cent population residing in villages, becomes one of the fastest developing nation thanks to the progress made in sectors like IT, real estate, pharmaceutical, retail, and medical. This growth was possible only because of the capable and intelligent manpower India boasts.

India has got one of the biggest set of skilled manpower in the world. Indians' proficiency in English gives them an edge over their Chinese counterparts globally. But are we really in a position to bid for a place among the elite developed nations of the world? The answer, sadly, is a no!

Our manpower is still inadequate to meet the demand. Industries such as biotechnology, construction, medical, and energy have a big amount of skilled manpower shortage. Till we do not meet this demand, we are not in any race for global supremacy.

The basic problem is the skilled manpower mainly comes from the urban areas (almost 90 per cent) of the country, whereas the 60 per cent of population residing in villages contributes only 10 per cent of the total. This divide should be enough for the government to look into possible reasons, and work out a way. The solution lies in developing the educational standard of the state and centre run educational institutions by providing cutting edge technologies to villagers in areas of education and Industry, and using the globally accepted medium of English.

Unfortunately, government's approach towards a solution is pathetic. Till date no concrete step has been taken to address the issue, on the contrary, new rules and regulations are being promoted in the educational sector based on reservation, which can probably make the educational system defunct later, if not sooner.

The difference in infrastructure is obvious if one pays a visit to any village in India. You'll find shabbily dressed students sitting on rags in the open, one student would be reading from his book and others repeating the same text in chorus, and all this while the teacher sits on a chair reading a newspaper and enjoying the morning. This is how most students in rural India get their education.

If you go and ask them basic questions you will get blank stares and wry smiles! There is no accountability of teachers. They mostly arrive late to the school, register their attendance and get busy in their personal work. Poor villagers are left at the mercy of such teachers. The parents are happy that at least their children are attending school. For them education is knowing how to write your name and read letters. Quite similar to the definition of literacy rate in India!

Educational superintendents and Basic Education Assistants (BSAs) do routine checkups of schools, sometimes in their areas of jurisdiction, not to check the quality of education but to ascertain that mid-day meal is properly distributed and all students have received uniforms allocated to them by government. Teachers are complacent for they don’t have to answer to any superior authority for the quality of education they impart. No wonder the level of education in villages is going down by the day. It's impossible to get superior set of skilled workers from such schools and institutions.

Ironically, private run institutions pay their teachers less than half of what state run educational institutions do, and still hold them accountable for a non-performing student. This accountability results in better individuals contributing to the economic growth of the country using their educational acumen. Until similar or a better system is not put in place in the state run institutions, mediocre students would continue to lose out in the race.

State governments needs to play a bigger role in curbing deteriorating standards of education in states. Caste based politics makes sure that voters from a specific caste benefit from the system, which includes education. Orders are issued from higher levels to allow all students from a particular caste or tribe reaches high school, regardless of how they fare in exams. If a teacher opposes he is suspended immediately. Such orders results in low attendance of students, as they are sure about the results, in state run institutions in villages. Thus the whole educational system goes for a toss!

The medium of education in these schools is still Hindi, which make students of these institutions lose out to their urban counterparts in bagging good jobs in the private sector, considered the epitome of India’s economic success.

India is sitting on a huge pile of future skilled manpower from villages, but, sadly it is not providing means to utilise that chunk. Unless the educational standards of state and centre run institutions are not improved, and the teachers are not held accountable, India would never be able to convert this unskilled force into skilled one.

Let's hope that our policy makers come up with a definite plan soon enough and India's global march continues unabated.



---Zartab Haider Jafri works as a business head for Mimer Energy Limited, India.


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