While I was studying the right of education for various cultures of the world, none shocked me more than India’s Right to Education Act (RTE) which has a lot of good ideas and desires, but also is poorly implemented and could actually ruin the quality of education across India.
The RTE gives children the right to free education through elementary, lets children enroll in age-appropriate classes, works to keep teachers with a specific ratio of employment, and ensures that education is free and the children are comfortable.
The two most important parts are this: 1) No child is to be held back until the completion of an elementary education and they will not be expelled or made to pass an exam to succeed, and 2) that no child should have to pay any money to let them experience an elementary level education.
That sounded great until I found out that Indian parents are some of the biggest spenders for education, often spending their entire income to get their kids into private schools, making the public schools a place for only the poorest students.
Other parental problems
Although many Indian parents do have the money to hire private tutors and use private schools for their students, and this use of money does strengthen the country’s economy, the lack of knowledge of what constitutes good education often makes all this effort for private schools useless.
Many private schools don’t have updated textbooks, qualified teachers, and some are even scams that teach students but don’t give them what they need to get a job once education is over. Since education is seen as the only path to getting rich, parents will continue to put their kids through private schools without it having much effect.
Plus many parents don’t know what good education is, and they often desire proof of mastering a skill instead of praising it when those skills are put into practice.
Helping and holding back
The second part that I found odd was that students aren’t tested, they just simply advance all the way up until 10th grade without tests or other evaluations. While this policy was implemented to keep a school environment stress free, it also doesn’t expose the students to reality.
Once the students are let out into the world, it’s a cutthroat world where people are promoted and rewarded on skills and merit, not just promoted automatically. This can crush them down and cause other problems later in life.
How to fix this?
I discovered that the only way to potentially salvage India’s education is a massive paradigm shift in the way the country works. The focus needs to be on reducing bureaucracy and on challenging students with an updated education. Only by ensuring that the students who earn the right to graduate actually do will help that generation find jobs and teach others about the reality of the world.
India can’t keep going down the path of the RTE, and until some serious changes are made, more and more problems are going to arise in the country, with only a select few minorities getting an education.