The National Policy on Education- time for a revision?
The National Policy on Education (NPE) was formulated by the Government of India to promote education among the citizens of the country. Since the time of independence, a number of schemes and programmes have been formulated for promotion of education in both rural and urban areas. Although a lot has been achieved in the higher education sector, the primary and pre-primary education in the country is still facing a number of challenges and hurdles.
The primary education is the most important phase of a student’s life because this is the period which helps in building the cognitive abilities of a child. Therefore, priority must be given to primary education even more than any higher education. But unfortunately, it has been observed that the gross enrolment ratio remains poor especially in the rural areas. Apart from that, there is a high dropout rate at the primary level.
Let us examine some of the reasons that account for dropouts from schools:
- The lack of facilities in the schools, including drinking water and toilet facilities.
- Migration of families of the children is a major reason.
- Child marriage is also an important factor for dropout.
- Safety for girl students- lack of communication, often it is difficult and unsafe for them to travel far.
- The problem of child labour. Most of the families get their children employed at an early age due to the financial instabilities.
- At this point of time (when a child is inducted into child labour), no incentives like the mid day meal or uniforms, etc can help the children go back to schools.
It is often seen that mainly the naxalite affected states or areas have the lowest enrolment number. This implies that security of the children must be ensured before urging them to go to schools in such naxal- affected districts.
Proper counseling, proper facilities like clean and hygienic toilets, proper drinking water facilities are a must for the primary level schools. Moreover, it is time that the methods of teaching are updated. Digital classrooms, activity based learning must replace the traditional teaching methods.
It is important to examine the outcomes of the learning system. The present times demand skills more than learning or education. Therefore, teaching must have some skill based approach. Only then the future of these rural as well as urban children can be secured.
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