Survey Reveals Demand For Practical Learning & Modernisation In Indian Schools
The 'Economics of Schooling' report exposes pressing issues and urges innovative solutions
A comprehensive survey titled 'The Economics of Schooling' by WISR based on extensive research conducted across Mumbai, Delhi and Kanpur, has shed light on the challenges faced by the Indian school education system. The survey, encompassing the views of parents, teachers and principals, highlights the urgent need for practical, project-based learning experiences and a shift from traditional textbook teaching in the digital age.
The respondents emphasised the importance of updating technology, infrastructure and learning resources in schools. The report calls for innovative solutions to bridge gaps in students' learning experiences, tackle financial constraints and address infrastructural deficiencies.
Vandana Verma, Co Founder and Managing Partner, Wondrlab, in light of the survey's findings, emphasised that the report highlights the pressing gaps in the current schooling experience, including limitations in students' learning experiences, financial shortages and infrastructural deficiencies. She endorsed WISR's innovative approach, which fosters partnerships to empower schools and enhance their facilities.
'The Economics of Schooling' report serves as a wake-up call for the Indian education system, urging educational institutions, policymakers and stakeholders to collaborate and find innovative solutions to the challenges faced by schools in providing a holistic and modern learning experience for students,” Verma added.
But apart from this technical infrastructure, India’s school education system is still struggling with basic infrastructure facilities. For example, data between 2010 to 2022 provided by statista.com shows that only 76 per cent of schools in rural India have a usable toilet facility while 21 per cent of toilets are unusable. In 2010, the percentage was 47.2 which has seen a 29 per cent growth in the last 10 years. See the chart for years-wise percentages.
Practical learning demand
The report said that an overwhelming 90 per cent of parents expressed their desire for schools to invest more in practical, project-based learning experiences, recognising the potential benefits such methods offer in enhancing students' skills and knowledge. While 88 per cent of respondents voiced concerns that schools still rely on textbook-based teaching methods, despite the prevalence of interactive technology in the digital era. They urged schools to adopt more interactive teaching approaches to engage students effectively.
84 per cent of respondents felt that students, accustomed to interactive technology, struggled to concentrate on the traditional blackboard teaching, necessitating a shift toward more engaging and interactive teaching methods, read the report.
A significant 94 per cent of participants highlighted the urgency to upgrade the computer labs in terms of technology, equipment and curriculum to equip students with essential digital skills.
Parents also expressed dissatisfaction with the maintenance of science labs and libraries, pointing out the lack of the latest learning resources in these essential educational spaces.
Dheeraj Mehrotra, Principal, Kunwaar’s Global School, Lucknow, expressed his opinion on the matter, stating that parents' perspective is valid and accurate when it comes to recognising the significance of technology in advancing the quality of education.
Financial strain On schools
The report also highlighted that 90 per cent of teachers and principals reported witnessing projects being postponed due to the lack of funds, hampering students' learning opportunities and experiences.
While 86 per cent of respondents believed that the education system could significantly improve if schools explored more avenues for generating revenue, allowing them to address various shortcomings and invest in better resources and facilities.
Also, teachers and principals expressed the desire to revamp current teaching methods if schools had more funds at their disposal, promoting a more dynamic and effective learning environment.
Demand for improved facilities
Parents echoed the need for investment in developing proper sports facilities and security features like CCTV on school premises. They also raised concerns about school canteens lacking healthy and hygienically prepared snack options for children. Additionally, teachers and parents emphasised the importance of providing better staffroom spaces and comfortable classroom benches for students, said the finding of the report.
Challenges in teacher salaries
According to the survey, educators found it ironic that teachers' salaries were often comparable to household staff salaries. They believed that poor teacher salaries led to the departure of talented educators who sought better-paying opportunities, with salary hikes either absent or minimal over the last two years.
Mehrotra said, “Teachers and school authorities are justified in their complaints about the insufficient availability of funds." According to him, “For schools to effectively incorporate technology and ensure quality education, there is a genuine need for financial investment. In this regard, parents are willing to go the extra mile and allocate additional resources to support their children's education.”
Also, parents complained that teachers focus more on their private tuition because they pay much better and teachers confirmed this by saying that over the last two years, salary hikes were either absent or significantly lesser.
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