GS-2 (Mains), Mains-2018 (English)

Education System in India – Issues & Suggestions


Education plays an important role in human life for its overall growth and prosperity. School is the first place where a child goes through transformation.

India holds an important place in the global education industry. India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world. India has become the 2nd largest market for e-learning after the US. However, there is still a lot of potential for further development in the education system.


Indian Education System Key Facts

-> The country has more than 1.5 million schools with over 260 million students enrolled and about 762 universities and 35,539 colleges.

-> India ranks 2nd in terms of student enrolment in higher education. Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education reached 24.5% in 2016. The aim of the government to raise its current GER to 30% by 2020 will also boost the growth of the distance education in India.

-> Indian literacy rate is estimated to be at 75% in 2016 as compared to 63% in 2011.

[Source: Census 2011, MHRD, UGC Annual Report 2013-14, UGC, AICTE, NCTE, and INC.]


Issues with education system in India:

-> The sector is plagued by a shortage of well-trained faculty, poor infrastructure and outdated & irrelevant curricula.

-> Half the country does not even have access to proper education, and only a small fraction can go to university.

  – Limited seats in Universities.

-> Poor quality of education at primary and secondary education (as often pointed out by Annual Status of Education (ASER) Report) affects the quality at the level of higher education as well.

-> Lack of autonomy and political interference not only in the administration and management but also, in curricula.

-> There is a lack of research orientation, even in the best of Indian institutions. The number of PhDs produced in science and engineering is “minuscule” compared with China and the US.

-> Lack of funding which stand at 3.7% of GDP in 2016-17 budget.


Private Education Vs Public Education in India:

Despite the recent improvements in Indian school systems, many parents choose to educate their children in private institutions.

It has been acknowledged by World Bank in his world development Report 2018 as well as Global Campaign for Education that learning outcomes in India are poor in both public and private schools.

Pros of Private Education:

-> Teachers in private schools are not overburdened such as election duties, implementation of MDM etc. hence they can concentrate better on students.

-> More trained staff as per the contemporary needs in education.

-> Use of best services such as ICT, extra curricular activities for holistic development, Learning through audio visual aids, projector, power point presentation etc.

-> Average student teacher ratio is maintained for better learning.

Cons of Private Education:

-> Profit motive in private schools negates the sole purpose of providing education. Mostly concentrated in urban areas.

-> Only rich families can afford high fees in private schools this creates division in society.

-> Materialistic importance among students is often observed and moral values are often neglected.

-> Poor pay scale often fails to attract best talent.

Pros of public school:

-> They provide free education to those who cannot afford. Also provide reserved seats for SC,ST and OBCs.

-> Women empowerment by providing various scholarship initiatives of government which is primarily targeted to girl child.

-> Easily accessible by marginal section of the society and accessible even in naxal-prone areas of Red corridor.

-> Along with education, nutritional aspects of children can also be taken care of like Mid-day meal etc.

Cons of Public School:

-> More burden on teacher like apart from teaching they have to perform other tasks of government like census survey, election duties, implementation of MDM etc.

-> Infrastructure bottleneck like lack of toilets for girl child, lack of drinking water etc.

-> Poor teacher to student ratio which negate the sole purpose of education.

-> Most of the government teachers don’t bear their responsibilities properly due to job security.


Government Initiatives:

-> NITI Aayog is launching the Mentor India Campaign which will bring leaders and students together at more than 900 Atal Tinkering Labs in India, as part of the Atal Innovation Mission.

-> The Government of India has taken several steps including opening of IIT’s and IIM’s in new locations as well as allocating educational grants for research scholars in most government institutions.

-> The Government of India (GoI) and the World Bank have signed a credit agreement for the Third Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP III), aimed at improving the efficiency, quality and equity of engineering education across several focus states.

-> The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has launched the Pradhan Mantri Yuva Yojana, which will provide entrepreneurship education and training to over 700,000 students in 5 years through 3,050 institutes.

-> The CCEA has approved opening of one Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) in uncovered districts, which is expected to benefit students of rural areas and provide direct permanent employment.

-> The Catalyst initiative by the GoI + United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is expected to create awareness about digital payments across 60 million traders and merchants in the country.

-> The Cabinet approved ‘Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan‘ (PMGDISHA) to make 60 million rural households digitally literate.

-> GoI launched the Skill India initiative – ‘Kaushal Bharat, Kushal Bharat. Under this initiative, the government has set itself a target of training 400 million citizens by 2022 that would enable them to find jobs.

-> Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) is the flagship program under the Skill India Initiative. The Union Government plans to set up skill development centres across India to create job opportunities for 10 million individuals by 2020 under PMKVY.

-> National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015 is India’s first integrated program to develop skill and promote entrepreneurship simultaneously.

-> The GoI is working on the final draft of the New Education Policy to address the changing dynamics in the education industry of the country as per the requirement of the population.

-> IMPRINT INDIA A Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative to develop a roadmap for research to solve major engineering and technology challenges. It aims at direct research in the premier institutions into areas of social relevance.

-> VIDYANJALI Scheme A school volunteer programme to boost community and private sector participation in government schools.

-> National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) – evaluates each higher education institution;

-> JIGYASA Student-Scientist Connect Programme (Implemented by the CSIR in collaboration with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan),

-> Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM) a Web portal where Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) will be available on all kinds of subjects. Designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality,

-> Mahila Samakhya started in pursuance of the objectives enshrined in the National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986 to initiate a programme for the education and empowerment of women in rural areas, particularly those from socially and economically marginalized groups.

-> Saksham scholarship scheme The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is implementing Saksham scholarship scheme to provide support to differently abled students to pursue technical education,

-> Unnat Bharat Abhiyan Connecting higher education and society to enable technology and its use for development of rural areas.

-> Global Initiative for Academics Network (GIAN) – To attract the best foreign academics to Indian Universities of Excellence. Also to facilitate the partnership between Higher Education Institutions of India and other foreign universities.

-> Some other initiatives of government are:

  • Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha abhiyan (RMSA),
  • Impacting Research Innovation & Technology (IMPRINT),
  • Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA),
  • Rashtriya Uchhatar Siksha Abhiyaan,
  • Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) etc.


What more needs to be done?

Recently, a survey revealed that a vast majority of Indian graduates coming out of universities are unemployable. They lack in essential language skills besides the domain knowledge and the skills required by most of the organisations in liberalised India.

But the status quo needs to change if India intends to stay competitive globally. The following suggestions may be considered in this regard

-> Government and their bureaucracies will have to free up institutions to allow them to make their own decisions and maintain themselves as independent entities and focus upon merit driven hiring and primacy to quality research & education.

-> Teacher to student ratio needs to improve in India.

-> The teachers need to be paid better so that the best of the brains come in the field of teaching.

-> Indian universities need to internationalise themselves. There must be routine exchanges of faculty and the students with overseas universities.

-> With the given resource limitations, a case can be made to focus on low capital-intensive skill-based education.

-> In Korea, the best students enter the teaching profession because the social status of a teacher is very high. We need Korean system in India .

-> Foreign educational institutions should be allowed to enter into collaborations with Indian institutions on a large scale. This will help in enhancing capabilities as far as curricular and pedagogical practices.

-> To ensure that the skills of Indian students are aligned with what the market demands, the courses and teachers needs to be aligned accordingly (Germany’s apprenticeship model).

-> Effective implementation of various initiatives of GoI and suggestion given by various committee like Kothari commission, T.S.R. Subramanian committee etc.

-> Increasing investment in research (Currently ~1% of GDP) and concentrating research funding “in high potential institutions and faculty through competition”.

-> Online modes of education as being used by several educational organisations (MOOCs), should be encouraged further.



The education system in India has seen many ups and downs, but at the same time it has produced some brilliant gems, who are raising the flags of India across globe.

Government of India has prioritised education sector and has taken some of the major initiatives to provide quality education. Today, the need of the hour is to effectively implement these initiatives to its maximum extent.


Some of the famous sayings helpful for Essay:

-> ‘Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today’ – Malcolm X.

-> ‘Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each’ – Plato.


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