Quality education, best teachers key to upgrade institutions

Quality education, best teachers key to upgrade institutions


Dr. Anitha Ramachander is the Director and Principal of Adarsh Institute of Management and Information Technology, Bengaluru. She is a dedicated and committed professor, teaching courses in management for over two decades in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
Dr. Anita has 25 years’ experience in the conceptualization, development and deployment of solutions.  She has been recognized with multiple awards of which International Achievers’ Award 2010-2011 for Education Excellence, Outstanding Women Achievers’ Award 2013 and Outstanding Educator at South India Women Achievers Award (SIWAA) 2019 are some of them. Dr. Anita writes regularly for Deccan Herald.

Although we have progressed, we have not yet transformed the education system to an extent that it is on par with that of developed nations. Even with thousands of schools and colleges and umpteen number of courses available, we still lack quality by global standards. We often complain that our students pursue higher education abroad but fail to comprehend that in India, they do not find the infrastructure, teachers and curriculum that an education abroad would offer them.
The Indian education system has many issues that impede creativity, innate values and fundamental thought process of the student. Today, we do not have a choice and we’re forced to compromise on whatever is available from nursery level to higher education. Not many countries in the world have students pursuing collegiate education in continuum after completing their school. Most of us here complete our higher studies before setting our foot in the work force.
There are many affiliate bodies and boards that prescribe the parameters for infrastructure, curriculum and pedagogy. But most of the institutions do not adhere to them and it is documented only on paper. Permission being granted to educational institutions without checking the genuine capabilities has only made it worse, as we now have schools and colleges mushrooming in all corners without the adequate infrastructure.
Many misleading ranking systems, confusing accreditation and affiliation processes have become a farce. We need to cleanse the existing system. Our student community would not look for greener pastures outside the country if they are satisfied with what we offer here.
Today, parents pledge their property to send their children abroad for undergraduate and post-graduate programmes because they know that their children will have more opportunities to follow their passion. Many students go abroad because they are unable to find their choice of courses locally or get admission in the universities due to over-reliance on test scores and a mob mentality that forces children into certain streams with supposedly more ‘scope’.
The primary step would be to remove the schools and colleges that do not have quality in terms of infrastructure and teachers. Our government-owned institutions should be on par with public institutions of developed countries. The University of California system is one such example of true educational excellence. Rural areas should have good schools and colleges. Many institutions run by the government don’t have proper infrastructure and teachers. People would definitely prefer private institutions.
On the other hand, private players fleece the student and parent community with exorbitant fees. Many private schools and colleges have become mass production units, admitting thousands for the same class or courses and tormenting the students into rote learning to secure ranks.
It is best to appoint teachers from nursery to college level only if they possess the right qualification and experience. Nursery schools have become a hub for teachers in need of a sinecure. Our children suffer in the wrong hands from pre-school and it never stops till their college level.
With so many distance learning courses available, we have many who possess the qualification easily without equipping themselves with the skills required to teach. At the same time, teaching does not attract many as the pay scale is not lucrative. Lack of structured pay scales and job insecurity plague the minds of quality teachers, especially in private institutions.
Our universities do not have a curriculum to match the industry needs. They are outdated and some have not been changed over the years. The truth is, we do not have a single university among the top hundred universities in the world. The pedagogy of all institutions needs to be checked and they should have standards that can enable a student to think independently and creatively.
Institutions that are not doing well should be weeded out. There should be stringent measures to check the quality of teachers, pedagogy and infrastructure. We have a lot to learn from Finland to bring in the transformation that is needed; a country that believes in investing in its people and an education system that is ranked at the top.
Infrastructure facilities
The policy makers should set forth strategies to improve the current system. Private institutions could share their infrastructure facilities with government institutions, and they should be given incentives for collaborated learning with state owned institutions. The pooling of teachers and infrastructure would attract many students who cannot afford expensive education.
Our success lies in attracting students from developed countries and retaining students from India who go abroad for higher education. This can happen only when we take necessary steps to ensure that quality seeps down to all levels of education. There should be a charter to address these issues. These are imperative to the development of our country. People must have equal access to high-quality education and training. The same opportunities to education should be available to all citizens irrespective of their origin, age, income level or where they live.
We have a pressing need to evaluate our education system for two reasons. Firstly, we need to give a reason for students to stay and study in our country rather than look for options elsewhere. We have to do this so that our economy would benefit from their talent. Secondly, we have to address issues that prevent the less privileged children from getting quality education.

Although correcting our complex education system will prove to be immensely demanding, it will only make us a stronger country. We have a large, young population. This is where we need to invest all our resources if we seek to become a powerful nation.

The article first appeared in the Deccan Herald newspaper