5.1 Challenges of education from preschool to senior secondary

In this context when we talk about education and its contemporary issues. We should first discuss that what challenges and issues do we have in contemporary world and before this we should discuss that what are the aim and objectives of our education and then we should search the reason of it. The first aim of our education was all round development of a child , but it is quite apparent that all round development is like a day dream because the current system is not developing even a single ability in the child.

Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi once said, “By education I mean all round drawing out of the best in child and man body, mind and spirit.”

Our national poet, great philosopher and follower of naturalistic approach of education somewhere wrote that, the highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.”


·        Pre-primary Education: Nursery, LKG & UKG

·        Primary Education: Class 1 to 5

·        Secondary Education: Class 6 to 10

·        Senior Secondary Education: Class 11 & 12


Quality: Maintaining standard of education in more than a million schools nationwide, offering training programs to teachers, and keeping good balance with education system worldwide is a big challenge. Schools vary in size and resources and are forced compromise in the all round development opportunities they must provide to students.

Access: Having infrastructural constraints and social issues, it becomes harder to make education accessible to all segments of the society (women, minorities, poor).

Cost: The cost of education is very high even for the people and places where it is accessible. E.g. the competitive pressure on students & parents forces them to opt for private tuitions & trainings to supplement the school education.

Social & cultural: The ethnic diversity in India poses challenges to implement consistent education nationwide. There are more than 300 languages spoken in the country and makes it difficult to offer education tailored to specific social segment. Educating women in some societies is a big issue. Children of poor families are forced to work and miss out the learning opportunities. Illiterate adults have very limited opportunities to get educated at later age in their lives.

Unawareness: Most of the parents in India are not willing to send their children to schools to attain basic education, as they are illiterate so they don’t know the value of education.

Infrastructure facilities: One of the factors why the capacity utilization is low in upcoming/new institutions/schools (both in private and government sectors) is their inability to provide necessary physical infrastructure to run the institutions. The infrastructure facilities desirable to rank the institutions of better quality include real estate, state of the art class rooms, library, hostels, furniture, sports facilities, transport, commercial buildings, etc. We need to ensure apolitical private sector participation in the establishment of schools for providing quality physical infrastructure.

Student-teacher ratio: Another challenge for improving the Indian education system is to improve the student teacher ratio. In India, this ratio is very high as compared to certain comparable countries in the world.

Lack of funds: Lack of funds, the colleges in India lack funds, they don’t have enough funds to enhance the quality of education and hence lacks in the infrastructure facility, teaching environment and quality teachers. Infrastructure facilities at schools and colleges across rural areas dispense very poor quality of education. The teachers are not paid adequately, as they are not much qualified so they are not willing to work hard. 

Attitude of teacher: Our teacher’s attitude is going downwards. A teacher is the only person who can change the direction of the society. He is the person who is the center point of any education system. This influences much our society than any other part of the society. This effects much our education than all the above points. 




No practical knowledge: In schools and colleges, lots of attention is given to theory and books and practical knowledge is completely ignored. When these students pass the exam, they forget all the things they have studied due of lack of practical experience.  In India, parents and teachers expect their students to score high in the exam (rather than acquiring the quality knowledge) and thus the education becomes a rat race.  Practical knowledge and skill based education is still far away from the reach of students studying in schools, colleges and universities.

Lack of research or critical analysis: Problems solving skills are one of the most important things that are required when students complete their studies and look for jobs to earn money and build up their career.  This can be learned by participating in problem solving projects with the use of creative and critical thinking.  In India, despite the fact that we have the highest number of engineering graduates, still we lack technological innovation.  Students must have capability to solve the problems and difficulties that the country is facing today.  Most of the students don’t have their own approach towards any problem and they do so only on the instruction of their parents, teachers, neighbors and friends.  Schools and colleges must pay attention to case studies, research based assignment and problem solving project so that students can get the fresh ideas about their surroundings and can easily solve the problem they face.

Cast reservation and paid seat: In Indian education system, seats are reserved for reserved cast and rich students. The education system should give equal chance to all students irrespective of their cast and creed.  In India, the child of good a rich family gets good education just because of ample money whereas the child of a poor family hardly gets the primary education.  The government data discloses the better reality that only one child out of 7(that takes birth in India) goes to school. This problem should be taken into notice as soon as possible and do some serious work to change the situation as soon as possible.

 Outdated syllabus: There is an urgent need to change the present system of higher education in the country. We need to ensure quality in education as well as quantity. Students are getting the knowledge from outdated syllabus. Lots of technological and scientific improvements are taking place in India and therefore the courses are Graduate and post graduates must be updated as per the industrial and technological development.




Lack of skill development opportunities: Despite various concentrated efforts, there is still a long way to bring the skill development mission to completion due to the presence of certain serious key challenges in the path of the mission. India a small portion of labour force is actually undergoing for formal training. It has been observed that there are more people than the available jobs at the low skills level, while there are more jobs at the high skills level than those available for such jobs. This demand and supply mismatch indicates that there is a serious mismatch between the education and skills that the youth attain and what the labor market demands.

Absence of personality development program: Schools and in India demand student’s performance in terms of marks and they are not well exposed to the external world. Companies want to hire those individuals that are aware of the course of the action. It is highly essential to start personality development program is schools and colleges to improve the education standards.

Privatization of education is great issue. Some learned people say that government officials take higher salaries but not work according to that. But in private institutes teachers remains in very critical conditions which is not good for the education system.

Absenteeism: The relationship between learning and absenteeism is not verified empirically, it is reasonable to expect that those who attend school regularly have better learning outcomes than their peers who do not.

High dropout: It results in loss in productivity of the education system as a high dropout rate increases per unit cost of school education, and reduces human resource development. Dropouts are likely to be engaged in semi-skilled and unskilled employment, according to a 2011 study by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration .



Faulty policy of government: The constitutional directive is that states shall endeavour to provide free and compulsory education to all children until they complete the age of 14 years. But it is a matter of regret that the prescribed goal has not been reached as yet. The main cause for this is that the policy of Government was based on idealism.

Basic education was accepted as the form of national education. Being inspired with this aim, work started to convert the existing primary schools into basic schools. India is a vast country with a very large population. Money was too much in shortage for implementation of so expensive a scheme of conversion of a large number of Elementary Schools.

Government has also admitted this. In such a situation, the best policy would have been to make separate treatment for the basic schools along with the general primary and middle schools.

Political difficulties: Education is the basis of democracy. It is necessary to educate the citizens in order to make democracy a success. But so far the Government of India has not been able to devote their full attention towards education.

Main reason is that since the attainment of Independence, Government had to face the problems of food, of inimical neighbours, the problem of Kashmir, the problem of linguistic states etc. Those problems still exist and these problems have all along forced to allocate so much money that Government has not been able to devote their due attention for elementary education.

The Government is responsible to solve the political problems; the Government is also duty-bound for smooth progress of public education. On no account, this indifference of Government towards universal primary education could be justified.

Faulty administration of education: In most of the states the responsibility of universal primary education is on the authorities of Blocks, Municipalities and Educational Districts. The progress of expansion of primary education gets slow because of the indifference and incapability of these institutions.

In fact, it is the responsibility of the nation to educate its citizens. It is necessary that the Government of India should take upon itself the sacred work of universal enrolment and universal retention at the Elementary stage. In fact it is the responsibility of the action to educate its citizens.

Dearth of money: Inadequacy of money is a serious problem that confronts primary schools. Income of the local institutions responsible for primary education is so much limited that they are totally incapable of meeting the expenditure of compulsory education.

To meet the requirements of compulsory basis education it was estimated that an annual expenditure of Rs.269.5 crores will be required. But in the First Five Year Plan the allocation was Rs. 93 crores and this allocation was reduced to Rs.89 crores in the Second Plan. So sincere and honest efforts should be made to educate as many children as possible so as to banish illiteracy to the maximum extent possible. Only after abolition of illiteracy, quality of education as a matter of importance should come.

Dearth of trained teachers: There is shortage of trained teachers to make Elementary Education Universal and compulsory. Nowadays, the young teachers do not wish to work in rural areas. But the fact remains that majority of Primary Schools are in rural areas. The chief reason of non-availability of suitable teachers is that teaching work is not attractive for many persons, since the salary of primary teachers is hopelessly low.

The condition of Scheduled areas is still more miserable. The hilly and impassable jungle areas with very poor communication and transport facilities fail to attract the present day luxury-loving young men. Teachers should be provided with proper residence in the villages of their work. The question of Women teachers is very much special.

So the question of teacher's quarters, residential schools, especially residential Ashram Schools in the Scheduled areas should be provided. The quality of teachers can be improved by executing a training programme for the untrained teachers in service on basis of study-leave basis.

Establishment and school buildings: Even the Third and Fourth All India Educational Surveys indicate that even now there are lakhs of villages and habitations without schools. There are nearly 4 lakhs school less villages in India which are to be given schools. It is not that easy to provide necessary funds for setting up such a large number of schools with buildings and other equipments.

Unsuitable curriculum: The curriculum for primary schools is narrow and unsuitable to the local needs. The curriculum should be interesting for the children for its continuance. Learning by work should replace the emphasis on monotonous bookish knowledge. Education of craft should be given in the primary schools in accordance with the local needs and requirements. But the schemes of craft education in the primary schools should not of highly expensive ones.

Wastage and stagnation: It is another major problem and great obstacle for universalization of Elementary Education. This is due to the lack of educational atmosphere, undesirable environment, lack of devoted teachers, poor economic condition of parents, absence of proper equipment etc.

Natural obstacles: are the great obstacles in the way of expansion of compulsory education. The village and small habitations in areas of Himalayan regions, Kashmir, Garhwal, Almora with less population are situated in distances apart. These are very difficult areas with lack of communication and of Education and School Organization absence of transport. It is desirable to make provision, for schooling facilities even in small habitations without leaving much for mobility of small children in the severe cold, heat or heavy rains

Social evils: Social evils like superstition, illiteracy faith in ancient conventions and customs, child marriages, untouchability, pardah system etc. create innumerable obstacle in the expansion of compulsory primary education. Still man; persons get their sons and daughters married at a very minor age against the Child Marriage Prohibition Act and deprive these school-going children of the fruits of education.

Because of illiteracy and ignorance these social evils grow. The educated young men and women should volunteer themselves to remove these evils of society in their neighbourhood. Against these social evils, the work of expansion of universal enrolment should not be slackened, since social evils flourish because of illiteracy and ignorance.

Language problem: 1961 Census reports about 826 languages and 1652 dialects in the country. The Constitution of India, 1950 mentions 14 languages, which can be made medium of education. Compulsory education has not been fully introduced among the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and denotified tribes in the country. This is due to the hindrances of languages as medium of education.

Challenges that are being faced by the education system in India and provides suitable solutions to overcome these challenges:

§  Computer aided adaptive device

§  Encourage collaboration among students, teachers, parents, alumni, activists & institutions

§  A consistent grading system to measure and rank Students, Teachers, Schools & Universities

§  Reward all round development of students

§  Promote alternate education & ideas

§  Continuous improvement by statistical feedback


5.2 Inclusive education as a rights based model

The democratic and human-rights based intent of Inclusive Education is defined in the Salamanca Statement, and represented in the “recognition of the need to work towards ‘schools for all’ – institutions which include everybody, celebrate differences, support learning, and respond to individual needs”.

UNESCO defines inclusive education as ‘a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion within and from education. It involves changes and modifications in content, approaches, structures and strategies, with a common vision which covers all children of the appropriate age range and a conviction that it is the responsibility of the state to educate all children’. Inclusive education is not a marginal issue, but is central to the achievement of high-quality education for all learners and the development of more inclusive societies.

A rights based approach to education requires more than ‘business as usual’, and a commitment to inclusive education would embrace a three-dimensional approach.

It requires an understanding of inclusion as an approach to education for all children that includes:

·        Education policies and strategies to promote the right to access education;

·        The right to quality education; and

·        Respect for rights within the learning environment.

In addition, this approach needs to be underpinned by a broad strategic commitment across government to create the necessary environment for ensuring the rights of children with disabilities.

1.        Government-wide measures

·        Political will and good governance: Measures to promote accountability, transparency, access to justice and the rule of law.

·        Government structures: Responsibility for education of children with disabilities to rest within education ministries to bring an end to the segregation of provision.

·        Ending Institutionalization: Commitment to ending the placement of children in long term residential institutions through planned process of transition to community based care

·        Financing: Commitment to initial investment of expenditure to achieve system reform, while recognising that in the long term, inclusive education is a cost effective approach to achieving education for all.

·        Guarantee the right to non-discrimination: Introduction of legislation prohibiting discrimination on grounds of disability

·        Partnerships and participation: Commitment to investment in partnerships with families, children, NGOs and DPOs and all other all key stakeholders in all stages of the development of inclusive education.

2.       The right to quality education

Although there is no single definition of ‘quality education’, it is broadly understood to incorporate the opportunity for both effective cognitive learning, together with opportunities for creative and emotional development. In order to achieve these goals, education for children with disabilities must encompass positive learning opportunities providing appropriate support for all children, investment in and support for teachers to enable them to teach within inclusive environments, rights based learning and assessment, and child friendly, safe and healthy environments.

·        Securing the appropriate individualised support for children with disabilities

·        Developing inclusive curricula, teaching and learning methods

·        Introduction of rights based and inclusive student assessment

·        Investment in teacher training

·        Support within schools for teachers

·        Establishing resources to provide specialist support

·        A child centred, safe and healthy environment

Lack of resources is often cited as a barrier to change. Of course, there will always be limits to the resources available, but the emerging evidence indicates that the provision of inclusive education is cost-effective. Not only is it no more expensive to provide than a segregated system, but the educational and social outcomes for children both with and without disabilities have been found to be positive. And, in the long term, providing quality inclusive education for children with disabilities reduces dependency on the state and promotes their potential economic capacity.

5.3 Complementarity of inclusive and special schools

Over the years, the term ‘inclusive education’ has come to replace the term ‘integrated education’. Many people working in the field of education in our country consider these two terms to be meaning the same thing. They understand it as only a change in terminology and nothing else. In their words inclusive education means “including children with disability in regular classrooms that have been designed for children without disability”.

It refers to an education system that accommodates all children regardless of their physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistic or other conditions. The range of challenges confronting the school system while including children with diverse abilities and from diverse backgrounds have to be met by creating a child-centred pedagogy capable of successfully educating all children.

Inclusive Education

·        acknowledges that all children can learn;

·        acknowledges and respects differences in children: age, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, HIV and TB status etc.;

·        enables education structures, systems and methodologies to meet the needs of all children;

·        is part of a wider strategy to promote an inclusive society; and

·        is a dynamic process that is constantly evolving

Benefits of inclusive education are as following:

·        can help break the cycle of poverty and exclusion;

·        enables disabled children to stay with their families and communities;

·        can improve the quality of education for all;

·        can help overcome discrimination; and

·        promotes wider inclusion.

Children with disability study either in a special school or in a regular mainstream school. It is possible for these children to cross over from a special to a regular mainstream school if and when they want to. Special Education as a separate system of education for disabled children outside the mainstream education evolved way back in the 1880s in India. It was based on the assumption that children with disability had some special needs that could not be met in mainstream schools and therefore, they need to study in a separate school with other children having similar needs. Special schools exists all over the world in the form of day or residential schools, and also special classes are attached to the mainstream schools.

The special schools are generally organised according to different disability categories. We have schools for children with visual impairments, for the intellectually challenged and for those with hearing impairments. The major disadvantages of separate education in separate environment are that, the children staying away from families may find it hard to readjust to their families, peers and communities, and children usually have to leave their families and communities to stay in a residential setting because these schools are usually not available in their immediate environment. In some cases, especially in the case of girls with disability, many times they are left on their own without seeing their parents ever again.

The special schools however, have some advantages like they can play an active role in giving resource support for the mainstream schools by providing specialised services. Also since the children are taught by a specialist having expertise on specific impairments, their needs may sometimes be understood better. In a special schools children grow up with their disability peers and develop a common culture.

Inspite of the benefits of inclusive education, if a child with disability is not getting the required resource support in the mainstream school and is not developing upto her/his potential a special school remains a viable option.

5.4 Language issues in education

Language is a system of symbols that we use to communicate feelings, thoughts, desires, and actions. Language is the message contained in speech. Students who have language problems have trouble with either or both of two key parts of language: receptive language and expressive language. Receptive language involves understanding what people mean when they speak to you. Expressive language concerns speaking in such a way that others understand you. Receptive language problems occur when students are unable to understand what their teachers and peers are saying. Students with expressive language problems are unable to communicate clearly; their spoken language may include incorrect grammar, a limited use of vocabulary, and frequent hesitations.

The Language issues in India are the result of multi-lingual polity. Language problem is a very hot political question in India. India is divided into distinct linguistic regions.

Battle between English and Hindi language

1.     During the freedom movement, there was a consensus among, national leaders that English should be replaced by an Indian Language as the national language of the country. But there could not any unanimity as to what language should be national language.

2.     The Constituent Assembly, after a protracted debate resolved that Hindi in Devanagari script should be the official language of India. It should be noted that the Constituent Assembly was exactly equally divided into supporters and opponents of Hindi. Indeed it was only with the casting vote of the President of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, that Hindi was adopted as the official language of the country.

3.     But it is one thing to declare Hindi as the official language of the Union. It is a totally different proposition to make Hindi acceptable to the Indian people at large.

4.     Undoubtedly Hindi is spoken by the single largest group of Indians. But Hindi is certainly not the language of the majority Indians nor can it claim to be the richest among the Indian languages. There was wide spread resistance to the adoption of Hindi as the official language.

English language and southern region of India

1.     The resistance was particularly sharp in the southern region. The South looked upon imposition of Hindi, as the imperialism of the North. The constitutional provision that English shall continue side by side with Hindi, somewhat pacified the south.

2.     Hindi is the spoken language for North Indian people. But, most people residing in South Indian states do not speak or understand Hindi. This gives rise to communication problem. A South-Indian and a North-Indian person finds it very hard to talk and communicate with each other because they don’t understand each other’s language of communication.

3.     Educated people who can speak and understand English breaks the barrier of language problem and able to talk freely with each other. English language has been helpful in bridging the gap between the Hindi and non-Hindi speaking people.

4.     The constitution originally recognized 13 other languages besides Hindi as the national languages of India. Since the adoption of the constitution several other languages have come to be used as official languages in the states. Thus Nepali and Santali are used in West Bengal besides Bengali. In Bihar Urdu is also used besides Hindi.

5.     But as medium of instruction and as medium of inter-state communication between non-Hindi speaking states or between non- Hindi-speaking states and the centre, English still continues to be the predominant language. Even in courts particularly the higher courts such as the High Courts and the Supreme Court, English and not Hindi is used.

6.     Considering these circumstances, one may conclude that there is no possibility of English being abolished as official language, as medium of instruction for higher education as medium of inter-state communication and as language of the courts, is deem indeed.

Regional languages as medium of instruction

            Arguments in favour

1.     Regional languages—the languages of the majority in the respective regions'. As the regional languages are the languages of an overwhelming majority of the people in the respective regions, they will constitute the best medium of instruction.

2.     Regional language is the most natural medium of instruction.

3.     If regional languages are used as medium of instruction, a lot of 'wastage' involved in learning a foreign language can be avoided and the period of education can be curtailed without an adverse effect upon the standard.

4.     The masses can afford to get enough liberal education and the curse of illiteracy and ignorance would be wiped.

Arguments against regional language


1.     Regional languages—the languages of the majority in the respective regions'. As the regional languages are the languages of an overwhelming majority of the people in the respective regions, they will constitute the best medium of instruction.

2.     Regional language is the most natural medium of instruction.

3.     If regional languages are used as medium of instruction, a lot of 'wastage' involved in learning a foreign language can be avoided and the period of education can be curtailed without an adverse effect upon the standard.

4.     The masses can afford to get enough liberal education and the curse of illiteracy and ignorance would be wiped.

5.5 Community participation and community based education

Today’s society needs to embrace the ideal of attaining and maintaining community-based relationships. Simple values like caring about the quality of life and striving for unconditional love of the human race must be manifested. Community cohesiveness is a natural human goal for which we should all strive. To do this, local communities must embrace their schools, schools in which students learn and grow into productive citizens. Community-based education fosters interdependence and leads toward educational and community practices that have the potential to impact people on a global scale.

Community-based education goes beyond cognitive capacities and encompasses the social and emotional aspects of learning. The relationships that children create with caring adults are the overarching premise of community-based education. James Comer asserts that the emotional and social development of students comes from the collaborative efforts of parents, schools, and communities.

Community-based education is centered on the student’s ability to recognize and support the needs of the surrounding community. In this way, students become accountable for providing values which stem from their freedom to express, develop, and solve the inherent problems or concerns they have for their community. Over the long-term use of this ideal model, the entire community will become involved in the process, thereby making the educational process cyclical and continuously propelled. Reciprocal relationships based on these ideals will be promoted and fostered by all. Students and teachers are the fuel that generate community-based education. Parents, community leaders, administrators, school board members, and citizens are an integral part in the development, production, implementation, and assessment of community-based education. This cohesive interplay is designed to foster trust and belief in fellow human beings. It also creates collaborative efforts between school and community to solve various problems.

The key to achieving these goals is the student’s ability to accomplish a high level of quality in their work. If everyone is focused on establishing this, the educational process occurs effectively. However, establishing the necessary cognitive level is often contingent upon self-esteem. A student who is given the opportunity to establish and maintain self-esteem may become more attentive to his or her learning environment. Fostering students’ growth by implementing tasks requiring critical thinking skills, long-term planning, and group efforts enhances students’ self-esteem. Students’ self-esteem is of paramount importance if teachers are to provide quality education. Additionally, a teacher’s self-esteem needs to be bolstered by the school community. In promoting the teachers’ self-esteem, the teacher brings his or her own sense of self into the classroom. This creates a circular process from teacher to student and student to teacher so that healthy self-esteem is continually promoted. Improved self-esteem occurs when worthwhile opportunities are provided for and internalized by all.

An appreciation for community stems from a person’s desire to seek out and to value the company of others. Children need to have meaningful relationships with adults who are important to them; they must connect with the community in which they live. According to Apple and Bean (1985), the establishment of parental involvement, an emphasis on community, a child-centered curriculum, and parent-centered decision-making will be a necessary construct for the schools of tomorrow. Unequivocally, the global sense of community has been tattered and broken for the past several decades. Furthermore, this breakdown affects students and student learning. The way to restore the relationship that needs to exist between learners and their community is to provide bonding opportunities through the educational process. Giving students the ability to solve actual problems within their community is a fundamental approach for establishing vital bonds. Problem solving, coupled with traditional instruction, will lead to high levels of student achievement and self-esteem. The development of the whole child will be facilitated through the restoration of communities and community-based education.