This is first in the series of articles on the understanding of Indian Education System. Education and health are the main pillars of any nation and the progress on these two parameters finally decide the quality of life in a nation. in our first part series we focus on the education in India.
It is no secret that an educated population is an asset for a nation. Educated people are people who are aware of their rights and duties and also understand that education has a big role to play in the development of the individual and nation as a whole. History has a number of examples to quote how the nation progressed as the people of that nation got educated, thanks to education reforms. Achievement of cent percent in the field of education reforms, after careful study of these nations, does not look like a distant dream at all.
The connection between education and development, including crucially important role of public services in bringing about an educational transformation, was very clearly seen more than two hundred years ago by Adam Smith, who provided the classic analysis of how the market mechanism can work successfully. He wanted much greater use of state resources for public education and argued:
"For a very small expence the publick can facilitate, can encourage, and can even impose upon the almost the whole body of the people, the necessity of acquiring those most essential parts of education".
The experience of Europe and America, which have been extensively studied, bring out most forcefully the pervasive role of education led typically by government initiatives, in facilitating and sustaining economic and social development. Education, it can be argued leads to a more enhanced lifestyle of people and also contributes towards what Amartya Sen calls, "development as freedom". An educated person, is essentially a liberated person and does not have to feel insecure as people who are pauperized feel. He can earn and make out a living, without getting divested of his right to live a life of dignity and respect. Also, education equips a person to claim his/her rights. Basic education will propel them to better health conditions also, as has been shown by science that basic knowledge among women about nutrition helps them to take better care of their new born babies and reduces the risk of early mortality.
The famous adage that goes, "if you educate a woman, you educate entire family" cannot be more true. Education, holds a more important value for women which are mostly prejudiced and segregated owing to their womanhood. An educated woman is an empowered woman and can lead to better functioning of governmental organizations due to her deep understanding of the problems of people and their concerns, which can be traced back to her experience as being born as a human.
The fact that human development in general and school education in particular are first and foremost allies of poor, rather than only of the rich and the affluent, is an understanding that has informed the Japanese strategy of economic development throughout its modern history. Later on, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and of course China followed similar routes and firmly focused on basic education largely delivered by state.
Widespread global development would be difficult to envisage without educational reforms in the world as a whole. In the next post, we shall look at the achievements, challenges and developments in the Indian Education System.