|Demand of the question|
Introduction. Contextual introduction.
Body. Discuss status of poor infrastructure facilities in Indian public schools.
Conclusion. Way forward.
Schools are supposed to be the temples of learning, but the educational institutions in India are in bad conditions due to poor infrastructure. Lack of access to electricity, toilets and with too few teachers, Indian schools suffer. There is a lot of work needed in school-level infrastructure.
Poor infrastructure facilities in Indian public schools:
- Electricity: The District Information System for Education (DISE) data shows that only 6 out of every 10 schools in the country have access to electricity. State-level data throws up an even grimmer picture. One-third of states do not provide electricity to the majority of their schools.
- Sanitation: Access to sanitation facilities poses a major impediment to student attendance, especially girls, and leads to drop-outs. The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2017 data found that only 68% toilets in government schools are usable. Despite the fillip provided by the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya campaign, the usability of these structures remains questionable.
- Availability of teachers: The number of teachers admitted to schools has risen, and the percentage of vacant posts has been decreasing. But the competencies of the teaching staff are below par, according to DISE data. 18% teachers in India, had no professional qualification in teaching.
- Absenteeism: High rates of absenteeism have been recorded. A World Bank study found that one in four teachers are absent at a typical government-run primary school. Absenteeism rates were seen to be higher in low-income states of Jharkhand and Bihar.
- Digital infrastructure: Only 18% government schools have a computer and 4% government schools have an internet connection. With the digital revolution beginning, it is likely that rural schools will miss riding the digital wave due to insufficient infrastructure.
- RTE provisions: Many states are yet to fulfil the norms laid down in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. Provision for playgrounds and construction of boundary walls, both of which feature in the Act, exhibit the largest shortfall, with 40% schools not having a playground and 43% not having a boundary wall. The figures for laboratories for science-related subjects is even dismal.
- Revamp old schools: Revamping old schools to ensure that there are sufficient classrooms, toilets, ramps for the differently-abled students and laboratories should be the key focus.
- Smart classrooms: Creating smart classrooms by digitizing the existing ones is another task that needs governmental efforts. Government must ensure computer availability and internet penetration.
- Establishing more classrooms: There are several schools where there are only a few classrooms. There is a need to establish newer buildings at these schools to accommodate students better.
- Private partnership: Government must partner with the private sector to improve Indian school infrastructure.
- Electricity: It is important that every area of the country should have access to electricity. Efforts must be made through other means like solar energy to provide electricity in rural areas.
- Teacher availability: More teachers must be recruited to improve teacher-pupil ratio. Teachers should be trained appropriately to improve learning outcomes in Indian schools.
Good school infrastructure is critical to impart knowledge and increase student’s enrolment. Emphasis must be on providing good classrooms, teachers, sanitation, electricity etc. Government must also ensure road connectivity to schools especially in rural areas.