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Has the government forgotten school education?

RN Bhaskar —  3 Feb 2020

I propose to set up a project preparation facility for infrastructure projects. This programme would actively involve young engineers, management graduates and economists from our Universities.

It is also proposed to direct all infrastructure agencies of the government to involve youth‐power in start‐ups. They will help in rolling out value added services in quality public infrastructure for citizens.

It is proposed to attach a medical college to an existing district hospital in PPP mode. Those states that fully allow the facilities of the hospital to the medical college and wish to provide land at a concession, would be able to receive Viability Gap Funding. Details of the scheme would be worked out.

National Board of Examination imparts PG medical qualifications ; Diploma and fellow of National Board (DNB/FNB). The Government will, therefore encourage large hospitals with sufficient capacity to offer resident doctors DNB/FNB courses under the National Board of Examinations.

There exists a huge demand for teachers, nurses, para‐medical staff and care‐givers abroad. However, their skill sets, many a time, do not match the employer’s standards and therefore need to be improved. I propose that special bridge courses be designed by the Ministries of Health, Skill Development together with professional bodies to bring in equivalence.

Language requirements of various countries need also to be included. All these should be achieved through special training packages.

Our Government proposes to provide about  Rs.99,300 crore for education sector in 2020‐21 and about  Rs.3,000 crores for skill development.

Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget 2020 speech

The government has made the right sounds.  More doctors, more nurses and paramedical staff etc.  But it has forgotten one crucial issue.  Most of the gr5aduates churned out by colleges in India are unemployable.  This is because the school education system has collapsed.  The output of its quality is dismal.  And no college or university could be expected to transform 10 years of rotten school education into employable students.

The work on education needs to start at schools.

2020-02-01_Budget2020-education-expenditureBut the government provides little money for education.  Take the numbers in the latest Economic Survey.  It should be spending at least 6%.  And as the Economic Survey will also show, the speed with which it starts new educational institutes is double or three times more than fund allocations.  Not the right recipe for education.

There is a second problem.  Do not introduce new courses, when you have not got the standards for existing courses right.  You will only increase the administrative work involved, and will not be able to pay attention to the nuts and bolts in the existing infrastructure.

There is a third problem.  Bridge courses is a tantamount admission of incompetence.  It is like saying, I cannot improve the quality of the existing courses.  So let me create one more bridge course through which I might succeed in putting a band-aid on the wounds. It is this bridge-course idea that the government tried to sell to convert homeopaths, unanis and paramedics into allopaths.  The proposal is being challenged in courts.  If a bridge course could be a solution, why not have a bridge course to convert office clerks into IAS officers? Or courtroom attendants into judges?

No institute wants to hire unemployable students. No factory likes interns moving around, because they would disrupt even existing processes in workplaces.  Unfortunately, the government pays more attention to issues like  cricket where selection is done on merit.  Merit is given a go-by when it comes to appointing teachers in educational institutes.

The need of the hour is to bolster school education, and to tighten educational standards in all educational institutions.  Do not introduce new courses, or additional institutes.

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