:: Education2
Prof. S.Muthukumaran

Education enhances the inherent abilities of the individual and makes him a good useful citizen. The enhancement of the capacity to engage oneself in useful and purposeful work leads to increase in the earning capacity and therefore will tide him over in life in times of crisis.

The prosperity of a society is the sum total of prosperity of all the individuals comprising it. In a country where there are a number of highly educated and well qualified individuals, everything good will happen and all will be leading a happy and contented life. Therefore in the interest of the welfare of the society as a whole, it becomes the duty of the society to provide for education for all its members.

The concept of education for all presupposes the availability of equally good quality education to every child. Identical syllabus, text books etc. by themselves do not provide quality education. Only if the syllabi, text books, facilities for teaching learning process including the quality and number of teachers, facilities for extracurricular activities and everything connected with learning are of a good quality and appropriate to the learner, it can be said that quality education is made available to every child.

Secondly education for all will be meaningful only if it is easily accessible. That is why it has been stipulated that the primary school should be available within a kilometer of the residence of every child. So also upper primary school is to be available within three kilometers, high school within five kilometers and higher secondary school within eight kilometers. As every school is required to be a good school, there will be no need for a parent to search for a good school for admitting his child. In other words the concept of education for all implies neighbourhood school system

Steps taken in Tamilnadu:
Over the course of years, Tamilnadu has formulated the following aims for providing quality education to all children for at least eight years:

  • *Admitting in schools all children of school going age.
  • *Retaining all children in school up to the eighth standard or at least up to fifth [standard
  • *Assuring the acquisition of minimum standards in certain specified abilities.

    In order to achieve the foregoing aims the following programmes are being implemented:

  • *Providing access to primary education to all children
  • *Giving approval for establishing kindergarten schools
  • *Providing free nutritious meals
  • *Providing free text books
  • *Providing free uniforms

  • Parents who are unable to send their children to school due to poverty are helped to send their children to school by the provision of free text books, uniforms and nutritious meals.

    More recently the Government of India has also introduced a scheme for universalizing education known as Sarva Siksha Abiyan (SSA). This is a programme with a clear time frame for universal elementary education. It is in response to the demand for quality education for all children. It effectively involves the community and the local government. It also provides for the State to develop its own vision of elementary education.

    The aim of this scheme may be broadly stated as follows: All children are to be enrolled in schools by 2003. All children are to complete five years of primary schooling by 2007. All children are to complete eight years of elementary schooling by 2010. Elementary education is to be of a satisfactory quality with an emphasis on education for life. Gender and social category gaps are to be filled by 2007 and at elementary education level by 2010. As far as the detailed steps are concerned the State has freedom to formulate its own programmes.

    The foregoing steps taken by the State in the previous years has considerably reduced the dropout rates up to the 8th standard from 32.54% during 1995-96 to 5.22% by 2005-06. In general, it is known that in any effort the last few steps are more difficult than others and hence, it may safely be stated that the achievements as on date are satisfactory. Further as punishing the parents is not the best way to bring the children to the school, the reasons for the dropping out by about 5% of the children may have to be identified and appropriate action taken to retain them as well.

    Aims of Education:
    The perceptions of the student, the parents, the teachers and the State in respect of the aims of education vary. But it is not likely that they contradict each other. The young one may be inquisitive and would like to learn anything that is new; may like to understand the family members, relatives, friends and the members of the society of which it is a member. But the aims may change as the child grows. The child may develop interest in certain areas of knowledge or certain arts, games etc. and may like to distinguish itself in that subject, art, sport or game. The child may have its own dream about its future. The parents may wish the child to grow and distinguish itself in a particular profession or vocation. Some parents, who have failed to achieve what they wished, may attempt to realize their dreams through their children. They may hope that their children may earn both fame and money. A teacher may attempt to teach what all he knows to the student. The Government may consider that the children may grow as good useful citizens. In view of the foregoing, the aims of education may have to be stated briefly as follows: *To acquire necessary and sufficient abilities in the State language in order to communicate with other members of the society and to engage oneself in the day to day activities

    *To understand the culture and practices of one’s society, their relationship to the culture and practices of the nation and in turn the relation of the country’s culture and practices to the culture and practices of the world at large. *To acquire good concepts, ideas, conduct, character and the like and blossom into a good useful citizen. *To learn a vocation or profession in order to earn one’s livelihood.

    Good School and Good Education System:
    In a good education system, all schools will be good schools and each school will maintain the minimum required standards. As every school will be constantly monitoring its working and consciously upgrade its standards, there may not be any measurable differences in standards among the schools of the system. Such a system will not need regulation of its functioning from outside. It will be a self regulating system.

    A good school will be admitting every young one in its locality, provide the little one with the appropriate education in a manner in which that child will learn and thereafter act according to what it learnt. Good syllabi, text books, appropriate teaching method, desired infrastructure facilities, fully trained teachers and everything connected with good teaching learning process make up a good school.

    It may be seen that a good school may arrange for an entrance test not for admission but to assess the present knowledge of the young one and provide the appropriate learning environment i.e. the test provides the necessary details to evolve the strategy for teaching the child.

    A good school will not only not refuse to admit a child but also will do everything in its power to retain the student for as long as it is in need of education i.e., it will not a declare a student has failed and will definitely not refuse to admit a qualified child to the next higher class.

    Curricular areas:
    The Government appears to lay considerable stress for making all citizens literate. But literacy alone may not be sufficient. It may even be dangerous. Since with the new found capacity to read and not knowing what to read, one may not only be lead astray but also may be persuaded to use the acquired information in a manner that is dangerous to the society. Therefore it is more important that the children are educated.

    Indian Constitution enjoins the Government to provide free and compulsory education up to the 8th standard. This would mean that one who has undergone education for eight years will shape himself or herself into a good useful citizen i.e. the syllabi up to the 8th standard has to be such that one who has undergone successfully the eight years of education would have all the knowledge required to pursue a useful and worthy life. Therefore, the syllabus up to the 8th standard must cover all the necessary subject areas that may be useful in later life of every ordinary citizen.

    Presently the syllabus is common for all students up to the end of the 10th standard i.e. up to the age of 16. It is known that all children do not have the same tastes, talents, aspirations etc. and the inherent individual differences clearly manifest themselves at the age of 10 or 11 i.e., by the time the children are in the 5th or 6th standard their needs vary from one another. The children at that age are curious to learn and are in the process of showing their preferences. If they are forced to learn something they do not like they naturally do not do well in those subjects. This does not mean they are lesser individuals but they are told by the school and the society that they are not up to the mark. This naturally has a psychological repercussion on these children. In order to save the children from such torture there has to be flexibility in the educational programme from the time a child joins the 5th or 6th standard.

    One option may be to start diversification at the middle school and another option may be the children may be exposed to uniform syllabus but may not be required to make the grade in all subjects but only in certain minimum number of subjects.

    Subjects of Study in Schools:
    It is generally accepted that the main subjects of study in schools will include languages, mathematics, sciences and social sciences. There has to be ample opportunity to learn useful arts like music, drawing, dancing etc. sports, games and several extra curricular activities.

    The first duty of a primary school teacher must be to teach well the mother tongue. The children while joining the school may be aware of a few hundred words in their mother tongue may be able to respond to others who speak to them, may be able to understand and express several emotions, understand the mood and tenor of the speaker etc. But they may come from diverse backgrounds and hence may know less or more number of words and may speak using colloquial words depending upon their environment at home and family background. It is the duty of the primary school teacher to make every child speak its mother tongue grammatically. Teaching of the State language if the mother tongue of the child is different from the State language will be the next most important duty. Teaching of any other language may have to wait until the child has acquired certain minimum competencies in the mother tongue and/or State language.

    In respect of mathematics the school teacher must develop useful capabilities relating to numeracy, number operations, measurements, decimals, percentages etc.


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