Education in India has definitely grown in the past sixty years. The process of imparting education for all levels keeping in mind the size, population, gender & cultural difference, socio-economic factors and diverse language spoken has been so far a great task for the government and non-governmental organizations. In spite of the funding. free primary education for all and mid day meal schemes, the illiteracy rate in 2001 was 34.62%and in 2006. there were 87% dropouts. Though there has been quantitative increase in the number of primary schools and enrollment of more children, the situation in some states are alarming. A 1999, survey showed improvement in elementary education. In a recent reports 2006-07 among the states, Kerala leads in primary education followed by Delhi and Tamil Nadu.
Education in terms of quantity & quality of schools, syllabus, facilities, teaching methods and opening up to new trends based on requirement has and is changing slowly. Along with the government, private institutions and trust are also helping establish more schools. More government funding is to be done to improve the classrooms, labs, and start computer aided teaching. Steps have also been taken to change the approach in teaching-it is now becoming more interactive and activity based learning. Both the CBSE and the state board syllabus are being reviewed every two three years and irrelevant portions which cause boredom have been deleted. One of the main recommendations of Yash Pal committee, is to allow children to explore do and learn. In the lower primary level, in central schools there are no exams or homework. Grading system has been introduced in past few years lessening the burden on the children and avoiding unhealthy competitions in the primary level. The state boards have even introduced grading system for the tenth board exams. Most of the schools, whether state or central board have introduced new subjects like information technology and computer science. Maths labs have been introduced in some schools and others have been instructed to introduce it so that understanding the concepts improves. Importance is also being given to sports, extra-curricular activities, competition between students, schools, at national level. Some rules of the board exams of class tenth conducted by CBSE also have been relaxed, like there is some extra time given to read and understand the question paper before the actual start time. There are plans by central and state board to introduce some vocational skills too at the secondary level, which if introduced, will be a step forward & will help the students to be prepared when they step out of school.
Education through satellite system with the help of ISRO (Indian space research organization) is also in place to meet the challenges of number and quality. It has started in some schools-providing effective teachers training, supplement curriculum, access to new technologies, taking education to every corner and strengthening distance education (especially higher education).
In the higher education sector, them are new options and a wide range of degree courses to choose. More colleges have been granted autonomy and there are more private institutions which have an enrollment share of 51.53 percent.
Talking of quality in education, the 11 plan has outlaid Rs 34,400 crore to give quality and employable education to more people and getting a chance to study in world class standard institutes.6000 models schools are planned to be opened (by public private partnerships) to reach the neglected areas. There are also plans to start institutes of science, education and research and 16 central universities, thus increasing the enrolling capacity.
Experts and employers stress the need to make more structural changes in our education system-making it more skill based and specified knowledge based at the secondary levels to ready students mentally for college education. At the college level, apart from academic skill stress must be on inter personal skills, analytical skills and leadership skills. These will ensure better job prospects and also inspire student to start their own ventures or create a new idea or even a product.
Finally, ensuring teacher efficiency and accountability will improve quality of education though more needs to be done at every level.
Education like any other aspect of life must undergo changes to keep up with present demands, but also produce better individuals who can think for the society as a whole.