The Indian education system has been criticized by experts, employers, leaders as well as the public in general. This has also been proven by the high rate of un-employability among the youth in the country. A large number of coaching institutions for various professional courses as well as competitive exams also indicate that formal school and college training is not sufficient enough.
Education is a building block of the character of citizens of a country. It acts as a backbone to progress. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the education system stays updated with contemporary market demands.
The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has put the entire world in the state of lockdown. The need for social distancing and isolation to break the chain and contain the spread of the virus has had a huge impact on education. The schools and colleges are shut down, board exams have been deferred, competitive exams such as NEET, CDS, CSE are all postponed.
Reasons behind the poor education system in India
Poor Quality of Teachers
Teaching in India is not considered as a preferred profession. More often than not, the people who end up as professional teachers are those who could not pursue the career of their interest and work as teachers to earn a decent living. These professionals are not particularly passionate about their job. Another point to note is, teachers especially those of business, the management or engineering courses, do not have work experience which limits their ability to explain how the concepts are applied in real life to the students.
Infrastructure in schools in India – especially the government schools which is attended by a large number of students from underprivileged sections of the society – is not upgraded as per contemporary market requirements. Today, the job-seekers are expected to know how to make use of computers, applications and so on. They are expected to understand and use power points and prepare presentations. There is not enough equipment in schools for students to be able to use and learn these things properly.
The curriculum designed for the schools does not update frequently. Additionally, it lacks practical aspects which would give the students an idea of real-time work. The method of grading in the system does not test a student’s problem-solving capacity but their theoretical ability. These aspects create a gap between job-seekers and employers forcing the students to take up skill training, settle for a lower-paying job or even unemployment.
With the outbreak, there is an opportunity for a much-needed reformation of the education system. There is also a factor that needs to be taken into consideration that Coronavirus pandemic is not the last pandemic that the world is facing. The virus will stay for a while and more such viruses and pandemics can occur in the world. It is wise to be prepared before-hand for similar events.
How can CSR Reform the Education System in India?
Bridging Gaps between Education providers and Consumers
The lockdown issued across the nation in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in physical shut-down of most educational institutions. Uncertainty of the length of lockdowns has compelled many of these institutions to switch to alternative methods of delivering education. However, there is a gap between students and the institutions in the form of lack of platforms, technology and skill.
Organisations can utilise their CSR funds dedicated to education in building online platforms that would facilitate live lectures which would encourage more interactive session like classroom studies instead of one-way communication. Teaching in class is very different than teaching online. It is important for teachers to understand this and adapt to online teaching by working on developing their skill. CSR can facilitate this for the teachers through webinars and online classes.
Democratization of Education
Online education platforms like Unacademy has given an opportunity to democratize education. This means, when a student goes to school, he/she is subjected to one teacher for one subject. If the teacher fails to meet the understanding requirements of students, the students suffer and opt for external additional classes. This does not happen on platforms such as Unacademy. There are several teachers for every subject. Students rate them as per their performance and the best teacher is available to millions of students.
CSR can help in developing a similar culture in schools where students can have options for online lectures from best teachers. This way the quality of teaching gets improved and teachers with a talent for teaching can get the recognition they deserve.
This feat can be achieved because of the intense penetration of smartphones and the internet in India. Also, this would make up for the lack of expensive infrastructure in schools – only up to a certain extent; beyond that nothing can fill the gap of lack of infrastructure which can be again filled through focused CSR programs.
Updating of Curriculum
Companies represent employers of the future. CSR teams of companies can identify the requirements necessary for job seekers and can help in updating the curriculum of students in the schools accordingly. This way the students do not require additional skill training.
CSR can also arrange for projects that would provide the students with a problem-solving experience in the real world as part of their school curriculum.