Learning culture: Like schools, higher education needs creative solutions

Source: The post is based on the article “Learning culture” published in “Business Standard” on 28th August 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education.

News: Recently, Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, released the National Curriculum Framework (NCF). It offers creative solutions to the weaknesses in the school-education system.

What are the highlights of the NCF?

The NCF reduces curriculum load to promote critical thinking over rote learning by proposing board exams twice a year, offering a “best of two” results system.

Ultimately, the idea is to allow “on-demand” board exams by permitting students to take exams on their own schedule, allowing them to appear in subjects they have finished and feel prepared for.

The NCF also encourages greater flexibility in subject selection, allowing students to combine sciences and arts, as well as vocational education, fostering interdisciplinary skills that are highly sought after.

These suggestions will address the stressful competitive exam-driven mode of school education.

What is the problem with the tertiary education system?

Access to prestigious universities and institutes in India, particularly the IITs and IIMs depends on passing competitive exams. This has led to the proliferation of expensive coaching institutes.

The introduction of the Common University Entrance Test for undergraduate admission is expected to exacerbate this situation.

There is a significant gap between the number of students and the availability of quality institutions.

For example, in 2022, approximately 900,000 students took the JEE, but only 250,000 qualified, and the 23 IITs could only admit about 17,385 students, leaving many to enroll in various engineering colleges with varying reputations.

The intense peer and parental pressure is driving more students to suicide. In 2020, the National Crime Records Bureau reported that 8.2 percent of student deaths in India were due to suicide, with over 34 student suicides occurring daily.

Way forward

There is a pressing need for a creative solution to address the socio-economic crisis in higher education.

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