Chalk and Cheese in Private & Government Schools - Editorial

Chalk and Cheese in Private Vs. Government Schools

An Annual Education Report 2019 was published by the Non-Profit organization, popularly known as “Pratham”.

The report published remarkable and significant key insights and keen observations about the situation of education, specifically the school-level basic education within the country.

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Firstly, there has been an ongoing debate ever since in-country about the children's “school readiness”, this is faced by everyone in their childhood. All children and parents go through this phase of “school readiness” at least once in their lifetime. Secondly, whether this early education provided in childhood, enables children with the required skills to manage or get along with the school syllabus or curriculum.

There is sufficient and huge literature and writings available on the “significance of certain cognitive/definite abilities” that are to be nurtured during the time they spend in per-school, for them to get ready for school grade one.

ASER Report 2019 by Pratham (NGO)

According to the brief assessment and analysis, ASER Report 2019, exhibits parents' or guardians' choice of school, when the question of their childs' education pops up.

ASER Report 2019, is an annual survey activity, that is determined to provide, trustworthy annual estimates of Indian children's schooling status and level of learning (basic) for each of the ‘29’ states and ‘640’ the number of districts in India.

A collection of books. A little time. A lot of learning.
Photo by Kimberly Farmer / Unsplash

Pratham NGO has been conducting these ASER surveys very extensively since the year 2005, across all 640 rural settlements and districts in India.
Needless to say, ASER is the largest, most trustworthy citizen-led survey in India. Unfortunately, ASER is also, the only source of information and data available annually about children's learning conclusions or outcomes in India today.

In the year 2019, Pratham's ASER aims to shed light on the early years of Children. The annual ASER, along with a wide range and number of development indicators for the young generation, especially from the age group four years to eight years (4 yrs. to 8 yrs.) in 26 districts of India.

Parents manifest a Unique Bias

The data shows some level of discrimination when it comes to schooling. Parents choose a private school for boys and a Government school for girls students to obtain basic education.

It is also mentioned in the ASER 2019 report that “parents manifest a unique bias” when a selection of the school for their children is questioned.

Photo by Anil Sharma / Unsplash

The ASER 2019 report mentions that parents seem to prefer and are likely to opt for Private schooling institutions for boys while government schools are the top and only choice whenever selecting schools for girls. The assessment is disturbing and sheds light on gender-based discrimination.

Let's look at the fact figures mentioned in the ASER 2019 report. Among the 4-5 years old pupils.

  1. 50.4% of boys were registered in government schools or preschools.
  2. 56.8% of girls were registered in government schools or preschools.
  3. 49.6% of boys were registered in private schools or preschools.
  4. 43.2% of girls were registered in private schools or preschools.

Further ahead there is a larger gap or variation in enrolment of boys and girls for the age group 6-8 years.

  1. 52.1% of all boys in the age group (6-8 years) are enrolled in Govt. institutions.
  2. 61.1% of all girls in the age group (6-8 years) are enrolled in Govt. Institution.

Urgent Requirement of ASER 2019 ‘early years:

  • Pratham’s report clearly underlined and mentioned, the need to focus and concentrate on the early year of preschool to enhance the basic level of education.
  • Concentration on the “breadth of skills”, extracurricular activities, that enhance the cognitive abilities instead of conventional regular learning in the early years may prove significantly beneficial for the academic performance ahead in the future.
  • India is the pioneer country to launch the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program, one of the oldest running initiatives in the world.
  • India has a series of such programs, initiatives, important schemes, implementation of policies and frameworks such as;
  • National Early Childhood Care and Education Curriculum Framework (2014).
  • National Early Childhood Care and Education (NECCE) Policy (2013).
  • The “Samagra Shiksha” i.e. Integrated scheme for school education, is the first of its kind to include a pre-primary educational stage under the same roof as all other levels of schooling.
  • Research from across the world, put on the table suggests that the unavailability of required environment and related activities conclude that a large number of students do not have the required skills and abilities to perform actions when they enter primary school, and hence primary education and curriculum become the boredom and burden than fun and excitement.
  • In order to confirm the required skills, abilities, and needs of young children to get into the epicenter of the debate and discussion of educational policies, framework, and practices in India, we need following
  • Proven examples with evidence, let the evidence speak
  • Participants who can understand the evidence such as
  • Parents and Guardians
  • Teachers and Educators
  • Community members and group educational specialist
  • Policymakers
  • Childhood development professionals and experts

Scope of Implementation needed:

  • Government educational policies, frameworks, and practices are not aligning with the current people’s aspirations as India’s socio-economic structure liberalized.
  • More and the new mother will be very young in the next decade, as the median age of marriage had climbed new heights such
  • 18.2 years (2001) to 21.7 (2016) in rural India
  • 20.2 years (2001) to 23.4 (2016) in Urban India
  • Also, recent statistics show an enhancement in education among women. Such changes in the portfolio and resume of the young Indian women need to consider whenever thinking of the education inputs to be devised for young India.

Important recommendations and suggestions from the ASER report:

The scope of these recommendations and suggestions is within the boundaries of “improvement towards the state of the school level education” in India. Some of the key suggestions and recommendations include

  • Expansion and strengthening of Anganwadi Centres.
  • Children in primary school at the right age are crucial for overall development.
  • The School curriculum is suitable for the age group 4 to 8 years (progressive stages).

Conclusion

The Govt. preschools come under Central Govt. are looked after, managed, and administered through the ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme) initiated by Central Govt. Ministry of Women and Child Development.  
Schools are managed and administered under the Ministry of Education at the center and in all the states.  

India made a substantial investment in the early childhood schemes and programs, delivered and administered through 1.2 million Anganwadi running under ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme).

The findings and recommendations of the ASER 2019, give a clear indication to strengthen improvise the early childhood education systems, so as to deploy adequate “school-readiness” activities.

Communication and consistency among central ministries are crucial for the enhancement of early childhood education policymaking, but it is more important to encourage the state and district authorities to active participation locally for effective implementation of early education policies.