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Indian Education System Needs Remuneration, Training For Teachers: Next Education

Beas Dev Ralhan, Chief Executive Officer, Next Education opens up to BW Businessworld about the importance of upskilling the teachers to make Digital India a reality. Edited Excerpts

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Cost of Education is rising fast. In fact, many a time it becomes a hindrance for imparting education to the right meritorious candidate. Can you share your thoughts on this?

Education as a cause has always been supported by NGOs, family trusts and also subsidised by the government. In fact, education at the Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) would have been beyond the reach of many had government not subsidized it. Moreover, students aiming to go for higher education can avail priority education loans, which they can repay after finding employment. Many private schools also provide scholarships to meritorious students.

There have always been efforts to meet the needs of meritorious students; these efforts need to be scaled up. However, if we look at the rising cost and try to reduce it, there are chances that we would end up compromising on the quality, which is certainly not desirable.

It is often said that Indian students do not go out of college ‘job ready’; even skill development has been able to employ nearly 50% people only. How are you changing this?

As a part of the Skill India initiative, the government has introduced vocational courses for grades 9 to 12. This program is mostly beneficial to students belonging to remote areas, and helps them to become employable.

There is no place for passive learning anymore. With the assistance of teachers, students ought to participate in self-directed learning, where the initiation of learning begins with questions, problems, etc. Contrary to just presentation of information, this method of learning helps students understand concepts better as it involves a stepwise approach of understanding the information. First, it starts with posing problems, followed by research and then analysing the findings. They employ their critical-thinking skills while learning. This methodology, coupled with a hands-on approach, helps students to apply the concepts learnt by conducting experiments.  This should be another focal point to make students job-ready .

We are helping schools set up modern labs that can helps students work on their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills, LSRW (Listening Speaking, Reading and Writing) skills, etc.

Education is the root of every working professional. How to create students who are skilled enough to be employed?

An overhaul of college curricula is the need of the hour. College curricula need to be aligned to skills required for employment. Many autonomous colleges and universities have sprung up and it is often found that they miss following the set guidelines. Therefore, it is necessary to appoint a stronger regulatory body to make sure that these educational institutes meet the standards.

Should India invest more in school education to bring in more employment to the graduates?

Yes, of course. It is in schools that students inculcate habits of learning. Schools can make students lifelong learners. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to invest in designing a quality curriculum as it is too late for colleges to inculcate 21st century skills in students.

What India can learn from countries that are doing better in education?

There’s a lot that India can learn from countries doing better in education. But one of the aspects in which Indian education system needs lessons immediately is teacher remuneration and teacher training. There need to be stronger guidelines for motivating the education providers as per their qualifications and duties.

Poor quality of teachers is often cited as the reason for the deplorable condition of education. However, that is only half the truth. Lack of proper training and a decent remuneration come in their way. Teachers do not receive proper training before they begin their jobs. Teacher training is all the more pertinent in the present scenario because they are expected to teach using digital tools. Without receiving proper hands-on training, they cannot carry out their jobs efficiently. Government should enter into partnerships with private players to provide training to teachers, and address this problem right away.

Will the technological advancement in education help it to be delivered to the niche parts of the country?

There is a lack of quality teachers in metropolitan cities itself. The problem is worse in rural areas, and areas affected by insurgency, for example. There are no teachers to conduct classes. Technology-aided education can help mitigate the problem to a great extent. Besides providing them with the best content available, it can also help students from these areas become digitally proficient, which is of utmost importance to find employment.