The education system all over the world has for the longest time needed a reality check. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven itself to be that check for nearly all world governments. When crisis strikes, the reflex of the education development community is to intervene in a way that meets the immediate needs of the students.
There’s a temptation to look for a ‘sticking plaster’ remedy that will provide some immediate relief. It has taken a long time and uncountable developments to get the Education System at the stage it is today.
It takes a flexible and resilient system to get back on its feet after being shaken it to its core. The major developments in the field of education have been about catching up with the rest of the world. An important part of how Education developed over time is how teaching has incorporated new technology or topics.
There was a time when teachers taught what they had learnt, the way they had learned. They gave little or no regard to the needs of the student. But with time teachers were adapting their teaching methods to meet the varying needs of the students.
In the previous post, we explored the purpose of education and how it has evolved over time. With this post, we will delve deeper into the evolution that education as a whole has undergone over they years.
The 1940s-1950s Education
The 1940s was an era of modernization. Education at all levels became better organized, funded and standardized. The college curriculum was more thought out and professional. There was a huge enrolment surge which also put a huge strain on the colleges.
India, in the 1947s was given independence which also brought remarkable improvements in every field including education and research. However, illiteracy remained high. Education was a prime responsibility. The Government appointed a Planning Commission to plan development in several sectors including Education. The top goals of these plans were:
(i) To establish universal elementary Education
(ii) Eradicate illiteracy
(iii) Improve vocals and skills with the help of programs.
(iv) Upgrade and modernize all stages of Education.
The 1960s-1970s Education
An educational revolution, the 1960s, brought around educational policies and reforms. The old subjects in this decade were taught in new ways. This decade tried to uproot rote learning, and to develop student’s minds and curiosity. Even though, there was immense growth in Education, creativity or individuality still weren’t encouraged. Students were prepared for mediocrity instead of being taught to think for themselves.
This decade was full of efforts to increase opportunities and teach the disadvantaged minorities. A lot of these efforts were successful. Even though the student count was high, the level of education was at a low in this decade. Almost every age group suffered performed poorly in tests than in the previous decade. This led the nation to believe that it was in an educational crisis.
The 1980s-1990s Education
The 1980s were a battlefield for the field of education. It was clear through a fall in results that students were learning less in school. The environment was instead rife with violence and drug abuse. The quality of education was suffering and a common curriculum was lost in an array of elective subjects. Lack of professional teachers received all the blame but the Government could not agree on how to solve the problem.
India in the 1990s was battling illiteracy with all its resources. The national literacy rates in India increased from 43.7 percent in 1981 to 52.2 percent in 1991 (male 63.9 percent, female 39.4 percent), passing the 50 percent mark for the first time. To improve national literacy, the central government launched a wide-reaching literacy campaign in 1993.
Using a volunteer teaching force of some 10 million people, the government hoped to have reached around 100 million Indians by 1997. Improving literacy among women received special focus. The improvements that India has made in education since independence has been substantial
The 2000s-2010s Education
This decade had so many educational reforms that it is hard to distinguish their significance. In this decade, the education policies in the sector plan to focus on innovation and better use of technology. Over the last ten years, Indian educational policy and reforms emphasized overcoming challenges;
(i) improving the low enrolment ratio in higher education
(ii) low quality of teaching and learning.
(iii) constraints on research capacity and innovation.
(iv) uneven growth and access to learning opportunities, etc.
Governments during this period planned to address issues such as funding, leadership, and governance to strengthen educational institutions.
However, all these changes have not been easy to bring. Efficient implementation has always remained a key challenge in all policy reforms in India. There are challenges in improving the quality and content of instruction. Our education system still lacks global standards. All this calls for a critical re-look into the issues and challenges of implementing educational reforms effectively.
The lockdown has opened doors to a new innovative, thoughtful but sometimes just out of the network coverage world. Education is a powerful tool for preparing people to progress in the global economy.
Ancient India has been a hub of knowledge in many disciplines. An update to our age-old Education System has been long overdue. However, we are still following the same education system used hundreds of years ago based on the industrial revolution model. Therefore, emphasis should be on making sure students understand grasp a concept, but rote learning takes precedence.