Thursday 16 September 2021

Uniqueness of every child needs to be catered by teachers: Ms. Anita Karwal

With a view to strengthening foundational literacy and numeracy skills among learners, teachers need to have a mindset of a bit of change in order to cater to the uniqueness of every child, said Ms. Anita Karwal, Secretary (SE&L), Ministry of Education.

“Foundational literacy and numeracy are going to be driven only by teachers and the teachers will need to be having a mindset of a bit of change in their way they deliver education in the classroom and also the mindset of looking at the unique possibilities, the uniqueness of every child,” stated Ms. Karwal while chairing a webinar through virtual mode on 09th September 2021.


The webinar on “Foundational Literacy and Numeracy: A Pre-requisite to Learning and ECCE” is part of Shikshak Parv 2021 commencing from 5th September 2021 till 17th September 2021. The Shikshak Parv 2021 is being celebrated by the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education. The theme for this year’s Shishak Parv has been decided keeping in view the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations, as ‘Quality and Sustainable Schools: Learnings from the Schools in India’.  

Ms. Karwal opined that every child learns at its distinct place, and therefore different interventions are required to deal with them.  “In a classroom of 30-35-40-60 students, each and every child is different and the typical chalk and board pedagogy that we have is not going to be adequate,” she said, adding that in a very challenging pandemic situation where children may have devices or may not have devices. 

“It’s actually a very difficult situation which requires a lot of deliberations and that is the reason why today we have administrators, planners, and people who are experts at governance, speaking to us along with the experts who have developed the NIPUN Bharat developmental goals and learning outcomes,” she said. 

“We lay a lot of emphasis on the foundational aspects of learning what we have seen in the last National Achievement Survey 2017. There is a long journey ahead of us,” Ms. Karwal said.  

“We need 100 % of our children to be proficient in their learning outcomes … and that is what we are working towards with the help of National Mission of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy that is NIPUN Bharat (launched on 5th July this year),” she said. 

The Secretary said that in a country with 36 states/UTs where very few of us has managed to open schools at the foundational level, adding that twenty (20) odd states have opened schools partially in the country, and only three (03) states (such as Lakshadweep and Ladakh) have opened schools from Class 1 onwards. “The need to continue education through various formats and modes is very essential,” she said.

Now delivering foundational learning to children who have never seen school particularly the new entrants in class 1 last year who have now gone to class 2, and the entrants in class 1 this year who have never seen schools. “It’s actually one of the most challenging exercises that the teacher will be required to deliver. In the center of all this is the teacher,” she said. 

While explaining the NIPUN Bharat intervention, Mr. Maneesh Garg, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Education, said that an enabling environment needs to be created to ensure universal acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy so that by 2026-27 every child achieves the desired learning competencies in reading, writing and numeracy at the end of Grade III and not later than Grade V.


Explaining the developmental goals at the foundational stage, Prof. Sridhar Srivastava, Director (I/C), NCERT, said the first goal is to provide experience for health and well-being, socio-emotional development, nutrition, hygienic practices, and safety. Key competencies of the first goal are awareness of self, development of positive self-concept, self-regulation, pro-social behavior, decision-making and problem solving, healthy habits, hygiene, sanitation and self-protection, fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, gross motor skills, and participation in individual and team games and sports.

He stated that the second goal is to build the foundations of language and literacy, adding its key competencies are broadly categorized into—talking and listening, reading with comprehension, and writing with purpose.


Prof. Srivastava said the third goal is to build foundations of numeracy, and provide direct experience and interactions with the physical, social and natural environment. Key competencies of the third goal are sensory development, cognitive skills, concepts related to environment, concept formation, number sense, number operations, measurement, shape, and data handling.

Prof. Suniti Sanwal, Head, Department of Elementary Education, NCERT, said for holistic development of children, developmental goals at the foundational stage (1st, 2nd, and 3rd) is to develop competency among children that would ultimately bring learning outcomes.


Prof. Sanwal further explained that competency mainly consists of three components—knowledge, skills, and attitude. Development in all these three components of competency will bring learning outcomes (observable and measurable in nature) among children. These learning outcomes among children will enable transfer of knowledge in real life situations.

Speaking at the webinar, Dr. T S Joshi, Director, Gujarat Council of Educational Research and Training (GCERT) quoted “Gijubhai Badheka” (1885-1939.) He was an educator who had helped to introduce Montessori education methods to India. He is referred to as "Moochhali Maa". 


Dr. Joshi connected the New Education Policy 2020 with the efforts and contributions of Gijubhai Badheka in the field of education.

Wednesday 8 September 2021

Technology a reality; teachers need to be prepared accordingly: Prof. Ramesh Babu

Bhopal, 05 September 2021: With increasing use of technology that has almost replaced face to face learning, there is a dire need to prepare teachers accordingly, leading educationist Prof. B Ramesh Babu said on Sunday.

“You cannot set aside technology which has almost replaced face to face learning. Therefore, how to integrate technology in teaching-learning process is extremely important. The New Education Policy 2020 has given a big space for promotion of technology integration,” NCERT RIE-Bhopal Prof. Babu said while delivering an expert talk on Technology in Teaching & Learning.

The expert talk (online), which was organized by MANUU College of Teacher Education-Bhopal on the auspicious occasion of Teacher’s Day, witnessed participations of students, research scholars, and faculty from across the country.

Prof. Babu opined that teacher must understand the difference between tool and weapon prior to using technology during teaching-learning process. “For example, computer is a tool as well as weapon. Teacher must understand the difference between tool and weapon in classroom,” he said.

Stating that a tool is used for productive work whereas weapon used for destruction, Prof. Babu emphasized that teacher must know and use the right kind of technology or most appropriate one as per the need of diverse classroom.

Explaining the nature of technology, Prof. Babu stated, “technology simply amplifies ‘what is’ (referring to society)”. Whatever is prevalent in society be it inequality, inaccessibility or digital divide is amplified by technology, he opined.

He suggested a model of affordability, accessibility, and sustainability for technology integration. He said special attention should be given on cognitive accessibility as conceptual knowledge is not easily accessible; and here the role of teachers plays a crucial role.

“Technology is going to redefine teaching, learning and education that would bring in radical change. Relationship between teacher and student will undergo a change,” he stated.

According to Prof. Babu, there are four kinds/layers of teachers: preacher, teacher, transmitter, and facilitator. In the light of growing use of technology replacing offline teaching learning process, he said even transmitter has become facilitator. He also stated that students must be critical because education is always a critical process. 

The presidential address was given by Prof. Noushad Husain, Principal of MAUU College of Teacher Education-Bhopal. Prof. Husain, also the Chairman of the Expert Talk, thanked Prof. Babu for the excellent lecture on technology in teaching and learning.

The programme was convened by Dr. Neeti Dutta, Assistant Professor, MANUU College of Teacher Education, Bhopal and programme coordinators were Dr Naheed Siddiqui and Mr. Saifuddin Ansari.

Monday 9 August 2021

Higher Education needs Quality enhancement: Prof. Mohd. Muzzamil

Bhopal, 09 August 2021:  Despite having one of the largest systems of higher education in India, there is a need to scale up the quality of higher education, renowned educationist and former Vice Chancellor of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University Prof. Mohd. Muzzamil said on Monday.

Prof. Muzzamil, a visiting fellow at the Oxford University, stated this while delivering an online lecture on “Quality Education, Accreditation and Teacher Development” to mark the successful completion of one year of New Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

The online lecture was organized here today by the College of Teacher Education, Bhopal (a Constituent College of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad).

Prof. Muzzamil opined that the country has one of the largest systems of higher education in the world with 1043 universities, 42,000 colleges and a total enrollment of over 3.85 crore. He, however, expressed concern over the quality of higher education, saying “there is a lack of quality in higher education. Hence, there is a lot of scope for improvement.”

Highlighting the factors quality of higher education is dependent upon, Prof. Muzzamil opined as many as four things—students, teachers, infrastructure/facilities, and management—play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of higher education.

“Teachers need to be oriented, refreshed and trained,” he said, adding the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 talks about quality of education and rightly states that teachers should be motivated and energized.

He also stressed on developing the required infrastructure/facilities in order to keep pace with the current demands and improve the quality of higher education. He added that management refers to the effective and efficient utilization of resources of institutions wherein the role of the leader (who is heading the organization) matters the most.

Besides, he also highlighted the role of government policy, public and private sector educational institutions, civil society, parents, bureaucracy, judiciary, etc. in enhancing the quality of higher education across the country. Referring to the World Development Report (2018), Prof. Muzzamil stated that “quality learning” is extremely important in realizing the fruits of education.

At last, he also emphasized on the “equity and inclusive” form of higher education (as it has rightly been stated in the NEP 2020) wherein how to bring up the underprivileged and downtrodden section of society to the desired level of higher education should be taken care of.

“At present, we are living in a VUCA (volatile, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) world. Still we are trying to maintain the quality of higher education,” stated Prof. Muzzamil who also held the position of vice chancellor of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand University, Bareilly.

Last but not least, vote of thanks to the chief guest was given by Professor Noushad Husain, convenor cum Principal of MANUU College of Teacher Education- Bhopal. The online lecture was smoothly hosted by Associate Professor Dr. Talmeez Fatima Naqvi. Dr. Khan Shahnaz Bano briefed the lecture to the audience who represented various universities of the country.


Saturday 7 August 2021

MANUU CTE Bhopal to organize Online Lecture on ‘Quality Education, Accreditation and Teacher Development’ on Monday

Bhopal, 07 August 2021 :  MANUU College of Teacher Education, a premier institute of teacher education program in the city, will organize on August 09, 2021 an online lecture to mark the successful completion of one year of New Education Policy (NEP) 2020.


The lecture on “Quality Education, Accreditation and Teacher Development” will be delivered by Professor Mohd. Muzzamil, an eminent educationist who is a former vice chancellor of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Agra.


Prof. Muzzamil, the chief guest of the program, also held the position of vice chancellor of Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Rohilkhand University, Bareilly. 


The program will be presided over by Maulana Azad National Urdu University Vice Chancellor Professor Syed Ainul Hasan.


The convenor of the program is Professor Noushad Husain, Principal, MANUU College of Teacher Education, Bhopal. The program will be hosted by Associate Professor Dr. Talmeez Fatima Naqvi.


Source: Press Release 

Tuesday 21 April 2020

MHRD Minister chairs review meeting on SWAYAM and SWAYAM Prabha

New Delhi (21 April 2020): Union Minister for Human Resource Development (MHRD) Ramesh Pokhriyal held a detailed review of the National online education platform SWAYAM and the 32 DTH Television Education Channels SWAYAM PRABHA in New Delhi today.  
A brief presentation of the progress of these schemes was made. In the lockdown condition there has been a tremendous increase in demand and the usage of SWAYAM Courses and SWAYAM PRABHA videos.

1902 courses are available currently in SWAYAM, which have been offered to 1.56 cr. students since launch. Currently, over 26 lakh students are taking 574 courses on offer. In all, 1509 courses are available for self-learning. SWAYAM 2.0 also supports launch of Online degree programmes. Mapping of SWAYAM courses to AICTE model curriculum has been done, gaps identified. A similar exercise for non-technical courses is underway by a committee of UGC. 
 It was decided that all the 1900 SWAYAM Courses and 60000 SWAYAM PRABHA videos would be translated into ten regional languages and made available to the students so that more benefit can be derived from the same. The more popular content, and for engineering courses taught in first year shall, however, be prioritized for translation.
It was decided to decentralize the task of translation to the National Coordinators, who may be allowed to use all possible services like students, government or private agencies, available technology to undertake translation of content.
The whole project will be started immediately and completed in a time bound manner.  The popular courses and videos would be done first.  In order to complete this exercise  in the shortest possible time a number of educational institutions across the country would be asked to contribute.   Each NC shall submit an action plan to MHRD (E-mail: by 23rd April.
An advisory shall be issued to all Directors of IITs to provide all help to the NCs in the task of translation of content, creation of new content in gap areas, and acceptance of credit transfer.
            It was also decided that UGC and AICTE will follow up with Universities and institutions to accept SWAYAM credits. This will enable students to do part of their course though MOOC and part in various colleges. 
            Also, to encourage faculty to provide more courses under SWAYAM, appropriate incentives for their career will be provided.
             Further, UGC has been asked to prepare guidelines regarding online and Distance learning guidelines to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio.

The SWAYAM PRABHA is a group of 32 DTH channels devoted to telecasting of high-quality educational programmes on 24X7 basis using the GSAT-15 satellite. Every day, there will be new content for at least (4) hours which would be repeated 5 more times in a day, allowing the students to choose the time of their convenience.
The following decisions were taken:
  • Possibility of redistribution of channels to match available content, and viewership shall be explored.
  • It was also decided to enrich the content in SWAYAM PRABHA by collecting content from who so ever willing to contribute the same under Vidya Daan Programme.  Subject expert committees shall be formed by each NC to approve the content received, before getting it uploaded on SWAYAM Prabha
  • The broadcast over DTH will be popularized through all available channels, including radio, social media.
  • The video content on SWAYAM Prabha shall be mapped to curriculum, and the academic calendar
  • For the translation of content of four IIT-PAL channels, CBSE, NIOS shall provide all assistance to IIT-Delhi. This matter shall be followed up by JS(IEC) in MHRD.

The decisions of the meeting will be reviewed by the Ministry for implementation.


Saturday 18 April 2020

Guidelines issued for safety and academic welfare of students: AICTE

New Delhi: Amid nationwide lockdown, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has issued instructions to colleges / institutions and has directed them that ensuring safety precautions during the threat posted by COVID-19 would be fundamental responsibility of all citizens of India, during this hour of crisis.  

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the country is currently observing a lockdown till 3rd May 2020.
In view of the pandemic, the following guidelines are issued for strict compliance by all colleges / institutions:
1) Payment of fees:  
It has come to knowledge of AICTE that certain stand-alone Institutions are insisting that students should pay the fees including admission fees, during the lockdown. It is clarified that colleges/ Institutions should not insist on payment of fees till the ongoing lockdown is lifted and normalcy is restored. 
Further, guidelines in this regard communicating the revised timelines will be issued by AICTE in due course. Accordingly, all colleges/ Institutions are directed to display the information on their websites and also communicate the same to the students through email.

2) Payment of salary to faculty members:  
It has been learnt that various institutions have not paid salary to their faculty and staff members for the duration of the lockdown. Also certain institutions have terminated the services of certain faculty/ staff members. It is clarified that salary and other dues to the faculty/staff members will be released for the duration of lockdown and also Terminations, if any, made during the lockdown will be withdrawn. 
Hence, the same may be strictly complied with. A letter in this regard has also been issued to the Respective Chief Secretaries of the States / UTs including reimbursement of fees to colleges/institutions.
3) Discouraging fake news: 
Various interest groups / individuals are circulating fake news on social media platforms thereby creating misinformation and rumours. Discouraging any such fake news and reporting the matter to concerned authorities would be prime responsibility of all stakeholders. 
It is also advised that any information published on the official website of MHRD/ UGC / AICTE only may be relied upon. Hence, these websites maybe regularly perused for any updates. Similarly for other government circular, official websites of the concerned Ministries / Departments may be referred to .
4) Prime Minister's Special Scholarship Scheme: 
Due to ongoing lockdown and restricted access to internet , activities pertaining to PMSSS for the academic year 2020-2021 have been delayed. However, it is clarified that the scheme will be continued as in the past once the lockdown is lifted. A calendar of events, laying down fresh timelines will be published in AICTE website in due course.
5) Online classes and semester examination: 
It is clarified that online classes for the current semester will be continued during the extended lockdown. A revised academic calendar will be issued by UGC/ AICTE subsequently. 
Regarding the conduct of semester examinations, it is clarified that UGC has constituted a committee for recommending the modalities of conduct of examinations, award of marks and passing criteria in examinations. Directions in this regard will be issued separately. Websites of UGC/ AICTE may be perused regularly.
6) Internships:  
It is clarified that some students would not be able to pursue their Summer Internship due to the ongoing lockdown. Hence, they are advised to pursue internship from home. In case the same is not feasible, this requirement may be fulfilled in December 2020.
7) Sharing of internet bandwidth with other colleges/institutions: 
Due to inability of certain students to access internet services, college/Institutions are advised to allow students of other colleges/institutions in their vicinity to access the internet facility at their colleges/institutions and colleges/ Institutions may accordingly permit students of other colleges/ Institutions to share their campus internet facility. Attendance rule may be relaxed in the light of lockdown and unavailability of good bandwidth in certain rural areas.
Source: Press Information Bureau

India's MHRD releases Alternative Academic Calendar of NCERT for schools

New Delhi: In order to engage students meaningfully during their stay at home due to COVID-19 through educational activities at home with the help of their parents and teachers, the Alternative Academic Calendar has been developed by the NCERT under the guidance of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). 
All the classes from I-XII and subject areas will be covered under this calendar. This calendar will cater to the need of all children including "Divyangchildren" (children with special needs)- link for Audio books, Radio programmes, Video programme will be included.
This Alternative Academic Calendar was released by  Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal in New Delhi on 16 April 2020. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Mr Pokhriyal said this calendar provides guidelines to teachers on the use of various technological tools and social media tools available for imparting education in fun-filled, interesting ways, which can be used by learner to learn even while at home. 
However, it has taken into account, the varying levels of access to such tools-Mobile, Radio, Television, SMS and various social media. 
The fact that many of us may not have internet facility in the mobile, or may not be able to use different social media tools- such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc., the calendar guides teachers to further guide parents and students through SMS on mobile phones or mobile call. Parents are expected to help elementary stage students to implement this Calendar.
Mr Pokhriyal further said the calendar contains week-wise plan consisting of interesting and challenging activities, with reference to theme/chapter taken from syllabus or textbook. Most importantly, it maps the themes with the learning outcomes.The purpose of mapping of themes with learning outcomes is to facilitate teachers/parents to assess the progress in the learning of children and also to go beyond textbooks.
The Minister highlighted that the calendar also covers experiential learning activities such as Arts Education, Physical Exercises, yoga, pre-vocational skills, etc.
This Calendar contains class-wise and subject-wise activities in tabular forms, and also includes activities related to four languages as subject areas, i.e., Hindi English, Urdu and Sanskrit.
This calendar also gives space to the strategies of reducing stress and anxiety among teachers, students and parents.Calendar includes link for Chapter wise e-content available on the e-pathshala, NROER and DIKSHA portal of the Government of India. 
The Minister also said all the given activities are suggestive in nature, not prescriptive, nor is the sequence mandatory. Teachers and parents may opt to contexualise the activities and do those activities that the student shows interest in, irrespective of the sequence.
This calendar would be disseminated through DTH Channels and also conducting video conferencing with SCERTs, Directorates of Education, SCERTs, KendriyaVidyalaySangathan, NavodayaVidyalayaSamiti, CBSE, State School Education Boards, etc.
This will empower our students, teachers, school principals and parents to find out positive ways to deal with Covid-19 using on-line teaching-learning resources and also improving their learning outcomes getting school education at home.
Source: Press Information Bureau

Monday 4 February 2019

What is Human Resource Development (HRD)?

In the present article, our team of experts have explained the concept of human resource development (HRD), role of human resource development, why do we need human resource development, what are the aims/objectives of human resource development, historical perspective/evolution of human resource development, what are the benefits of human resource development, and what is the difference between human resource development (HRD) and human resource management (HRM). Let's start and enjoy the reading.

What is the Definition of Human Resource Development (HRD)?

Before going into the depth of the subject, it is extremely important to comprehend the term “HRD” clearly. The term “HRD” consists of two words i.e. ‘Human Resource’ and ‘Development’. Human resources, who are considered to be the lifeblood of any organization, are the people and their characteristics at work either at the national level or organizational level, and ‘Development’ is the acquisition of capabilities that are needed to perform the present job or the future expected job. Thus, human resource development is the process of developing the human resource working in an organization by modernizing their knowledge and upgrading their skills, attitudes and perceptions in order to meet out the changing trends of the globalized economy and also to utilize those developments for the attainment of the organizational goals.

Components of Human Resource Development
Components of Human Resource Development

In other words, human resource development encompasses activities and processes which are intended to have impact on organizational and individual learning. HRD as an activity is extremely significant in achieving organizational excellence i.e. to excel with people, process and performance. Human resource development is a process which is needed to make the people grow continuously and growth of people will ultimately lead to the growth and development of the organization.

Thursday 13 December 2018

What are the key challenges in education sector in India?

“What are the key challenges in education sector in India?” is being elaborated by me in the present article. In this piece of writing, I have discussed in details various issues such as “Access and Participation”, “Quality Issues”, “Skills and Employability”, “Curriculum and Assessment”, “Information and Communication Technology (ICT)”, “Teacher Development and Management”, “Equity Issues”, “System Efficiency”, “Governance and Management”, “Research and Development”, “Budgetary constraints”, and "Global Commitment”.  

What are the Key Challenges in Education Sector in India:

The earlier policies on education have laid out clear objectives and goals; however, many of these have not been realized fully. Though India has made significant progress in terms of enhancing access to and participation in all levels of education, the overall picture of education development in the country is mixed and there are many persisting concerns and challenges relating to access to and participation in education, quality of the education imparted, equity in education, system efficiency, governance and management, research and development, and financial commitment to education development.

Access and Participation:

Research from around the world highlights the importance of early childhood education. However, participation in pre-school education remains low. Expanding access to early childhood education to provide equal opportunity to all children to prepare them better for formal schooling emerges to be a high priority task.

Nationally the percentage of out-of-school children aged 6-13 years has declined significantly since 2000. However, the absolute number of out-of-school children remains high. The relatively lower enrollment rates in upper primary and secondary education as compared to primary education are also a matter of concern. Ensuring upward transition/mobility of students from elementary to secondary to achieve universal secondary education and from secondary to higher secondary and tertiary education continues to be a challenge.

India has the second largest higher education system in the world. Although the Indian higher education has already entered a stage of massification, the Gross Enrollment Ratio in higher education remains low at 23.6 percent in 2014-15. The current target is to increase GER to 25.2 per cent in 2017-18 and further to 30 per cent in 2020-21.

The relatively slow progress in reducing the number of non-literates continues be a concern. India currently has the largest non-literate population in the world with the absolute number of non-literates among population aged 7 and above being 282.6 million in 2011. India also hosts the largest number of youth and adult illiterates in the world with the youth literacy rate (15-24 years) and adult literacy rate (15 years and above) in India in 2011 being 86.1 percent and 69.3 percent respectively.

Quality Issues:

Poor quality of education resulting in unsatisfactory learning outcomes is a matter of great concern. Quality-related deficiencies such as inappropriate curriculum, the lack of trained educators and ineffective pedagogy remain a major challenge relating to pre-school education. A significant proportion of children who complete pre-school education do not have school readiness competencies in cognitive and language domains when they join primary school. The majority of pre-school educators are inadequately trained/prepared. The curricula for pre-school education in many cases continue to be a downward extension of the primary education curriculum.

The biggest challenge facing school education relates to the unsatisfactory level of student learning. The findings of the National Achievement Surveys (NAS) covering Grades III, V, VIII and X suggest that learning levels of a significant proportion of students do not measure up to the expected learning levels. Poor quality of learning at the primary and upper primary stages affects student learning at the secondary stage. Poor quality of learning at the secondary stage spills over to the college/university years, leading to poor learning outcomes in the higher education sector.

Several factors have contributed to unsatisfactory quality of school education. Some of these include: existence of a large proportion of schools that are not compliant to the prescribed norms and standards for a school; student and teacher absenteeism; serious gaps in teacher motivation and training resulting in deficiencies relating to teacher quality and performance; slow progress in regard to use of information and communication technologies in education; sub-optimal personnel management, inadequate attention to monitoring and supervision of performance etc. The perceived failure of the schools in the government system to provide education of good quality has triggered entry of a large number of private schools, many of which lack required infrastructure, learning environment, and competent teachers.

The quality of education provided in a large number of higher education institutions is a matter of great concern. Accreditation agencies were established in India in 1994 as a measure of quality assurance in order to enhance standards of higher education. Of the 140 universities accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), only 32 percent are rated as A grade. Among the 2,780 colleges accredited by the NAAC, only 9 percent are rated as A grade. Among the accredited institutions, 68 percent of the universities and 91 percent of the colleges are rated average or below average in terms of the quality parameters specified by the NAAC. There has been mushroom growth of private colleges and universities, many of them of indifferent quality. The higher education sub-sector is constrained by shortage of well-qualified faculty due to vacant faculty positions; poor infrastructure in many private as well as a significant proportion of public higher education institutions; slow progress in the renewal of higher education curriculum to align it more closely with the skills demanded in a diversified economy; and inadequate funding for research and development.

Skills and Employability:

India is one of the youngest nations in the world with more than 54 percent of its total population below 25 years of age. This necessitates that the youth in the country are equipped with the skills and knowledge to enter the workforce through education and training. However, the institutional arrangements to support technical and vocational education programmes remain quite inadequate. Formally linking the development of skills in vocational fields, and bringing an academic equivalence to vocational accomplishments with avenues for horizontal and vertical mobility of students has been attempted only recently. Fostering dignity and social acceptability to high quality vocational training needs increased attention.

A large proportion of the products of the education system are found to lack employable skills. This has substantially lowered the credibility of the higher education system. The utility of higher education in assuring employment remains questionable. Many graduate and post-graduate students do not get jobs in their respective fields. The task of enhancing the employability of the products of the education system ought to be accorded high priority.

Curriculum and Assessment:

There is a growing realisation that there exist serious disconnects between the existing school and higher education curricula and the curricular thrusts that are needed for promoting the acquisition by students of relevant skills required for decent work and a better life in a rapidly changing world. A key challenge in this context is expanding opportunities for acquiring relevant skills, including skills needed for work and entrepreneurship; skills and competencies that allow learners to be more creative and innovative, to think critically, to communicate effectively, to solve problems independently; and life skills that enable individuals to grow as responsible citizens and embrace cultural diversity, live and work together harmoniously, etc. The overall assessment practices at the school and college/university level remain unsatisfactory. In most cases the assessment of learning achievement continues to focus on rote learning and testing the students’ ability to reproduce content knowledge. The whole assessment system needs to be revamped to ensure comprehensive assessment of the students, including learning outcomes relating to both scholastic and co-scholastic domains.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT):

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have made rapid strides in the past couple of decades. Many experiments have taken place in the country, and a large body of knowledge has accumulated in regard to the use of ICT in education. However, the potential of ICT in education has not been fully harnessed. The use of ICT in education remains limited and there is a need to accelerate efforts to use ICT for fostering quality education.

Teacher Development and Management:

In spite of the continued efforts for improving teacher quality and performance, the system for initial professional preparation and continuing professional development of school teachers continue to be characterized by several deficiencies. The current teacher education and training programmes are considered inappropriate in terms of equipping the teachers with the competencies required to cope with the new profile and roles expected of teachers and to enable them to carry out their duties in diverse social, economic, cultural and technological environments. The exists a continued mismatch between institutional capacity and required teacher supply resulting in shortage of teachers. The problem is acute in the eastern part of the country where there is a huge backlog of untrained teachers. The capacity to train teachers is also very limited in these States. Research, experimentation and innovations in teacher education remain very limited. These deficiencies have brought about an erosion in the professional identity of teachers and the status of teaching as a profession. The issues relating to the capacity, motivation and accountability of teachers to achieve improvements in learning outcomes of students need to be urgently addressed.

Equity Issues:

Though substantial progress has been achieved in increasing enrollment in pre-school education, children from disadvantaged population groups still lack access to pre-school education. Children from economically disadvantaged groups are more likely to receive less opportunity to participate in pre-primary education.

Despite considerable progress, enrollment rates in upper primary and secondary education in some states remain well below the national average. While there has been a rise in the demand for secondary education and increase in the number of secondary schools, the spread of secondary education throughout the country remains uneven. Regional disparities continue, as do differences in access depending on the socio-economic background of students.
Though the number of out-of-school children (OOSC) has declined significantly since 2000, the number and proportion of out-of-school children remain much higher than the national average in some states. The proportion of OOSC has been higher than the national average for SC children, ST children and Muslim children. This indicates that these children need greater and focused attention.

Regional disparities in Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education are large. In 2011- 12 GER in higher education ranged between 8.4 percent in Jharkhand and 53 percent in Chandigarh. Similarly, the variations among the social groups too are considerable the Gross Enrollment Ratio in higher education remains low at 23.6 percent (24.5% for boys, 22.7% for girls; 18.5% for SCs and 13.3% for STs) in 2014-15. One of the challenges faced by the higher education sector in India is to harmonize the expansion requirements with equity considerations.

Most states have successfully integrated inclusive strategies to facilitate enrollment and retention of disadvantaged population groups in primary education. Despite these efforts, children from certain sections of the population, such as children with disabilities, children in remote locations, children belonging to nomadic families, migrant children, and other vulnerable/disadvantaged groups have not been able to take full benefit of the educational opportunities. Urban poor children constitute another group of children whose participation in education remains low. Ensuring access to education for the hardest-to reach section of population remains one of the key priorities in the context of efforts to achieve universal elementary and secondary education.

The findings of the National Learning Achievement Surveys reveal significant differences in the average achievement levels of students between States/Union Territories (UTs). They also indicate that urban students are performing significantly better than rural students; students in private unaided schools performed marginally better than government schools; students from the general category and OBC category performed better than the SC and ST students. These findings suggest a serious challenge to the goal of ‘equity in learning’. Children from historically disadvantaged and economically weaker sections of society and first generation learners exhibit significantly lower learning outcomes.

Children with disabilities and children with special needs constitute a significant proportion of out-of-school children. This situation highlights the needs to equip schools to address the challenging needs of children with disabilities who are both socially and educationally disadvantaged.

Though the dropout rate is a matter of concern in the case of all categories of students, drop-out rates among socially and economically disadvantaged groups, especially for girls from these groups, remain higher than the national average. This brings into focus the need to undertake measures to improve retention in schools of children from socially and economically disadvantaged communities.

Most states/UTs have made impressive progress in terms of reduction in gender disparities in participation, with most of them either having reached or surpassed gender parity, particularly at the primary and upper primary stages of education. However, large disparities remain at the senior secondary level. Many girls are not sent to schools; and many who complete secondary education are not able to pursue their studies at the higher secondary level and in colleges. Once in school, especially at the secondary stage, there are several barriers that prevent a significant proportion of girls from continuing their education. The interventions which are currently being made to bridge the gender and social category gaps need to be stepped up, and more focused strategies need to be worked out to facilitate effective inclusion and participation of girls and other special category children.

The relatively higher gender gaps in youth and adult literacy rates remain a principal challenge. India continues to be characterized by higher level of gender gap (8.2 percentage points) in youth literacy rate, with the youth literacy rates for male and female population (age 15-24 years) in 2011 being 90 per cent and 81.8 percent respectively. India also continues to be the country with higher level of gender gap (19.5 percentage points) in adult literacy, with adult literacy rates for male and female population (age 15 years and over) in 2011 being 78.8 percent and 59.3 percent respectively. It is clear that major efforts are needed to raise the literacy levels of girls and women.

System Efficiency:

Even though the drop-out rates at elementary and secondary stages of education have been declining, large numbers of children continue to leave the school before completing elementary education. In 2014-15, the retention rate at primary level was 83.7 percent and it was as low as 67.4 percent at the elementary level. This indicates that roughly, four in every 10 children enrolled in grade I leave the school before completing grade VIII. Dropout rates in secondary education continue to be high, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged groups of learners. Though the dropout rate is a matter of concern in the case of all categories of students, drop-out rates among socially and economically disadvantaged groups, especially for girls from these groups, remain higher than the national average. This brings into focus the need to undertake measures to improve retention in schools of children from socially and economically disadvantaged communities. Ensuring completion of elementary, secondary and higher secondary education by all enrolled pupils emerges to be high priority task.

Governance and Management:
Several studies have reported the challenges in education governance exemplified by teacher absence, delayed fund flows to schools/colleges/universities and administrative capabilities. Capacity constraints relating to effective programme planning and implementation continue to be a key issue. Consequently, the progress of implementation of planned programmes remains uneven. The governance and management of education system and institutions, especially at the tertiary education stage, has assumed complexity with the advent of a multiplicity of providers, programmes and modes of financing. While it is true that some states have displayed encouraging initiatives and innovative management, the overall picture in the country is mixed. A renewed look at governance and management policies both at the system as well as the institutional level has become imperatively urgent.

Commercialisation is rampant both in school and higher education sub-sectors as reflected in the charges levied for admissions in private educational institutions. The proliferation of sub-standard educational institutions has contributed to the diminished credibility of the education system.

Research and Development:

Research and development initiatives in universities in India remain weak. There has been only a limited initiative for upgrading the skills of existing faculty; build synergies between teaching and research to promote excellence in both; promoting internationalization by encouraging and supporting higher education institutions and their faculty to engage more deeply with institutions and faculty around the world to improve quality of research; creating and facilitating alliances for research, and linking university departments with research institutions and industry to accelerate the process of knowledge development.

Budgetary constraints:

Insufficient financing of education continues to constrain efforts to expand access to education and foster quality education. Several studies have reported the challenges in education governance exemplified by the delayed fund flows to schools/ colleges/universities. The earlier education policies had endorsed a norm of 6 percent of GDP as the minimum expenditure on education. However, this target has never been met. Shortfall in the funding has been a major constraint to the complete implementation of some of the programmes designed to further expand school, higher and adult education programmes and to maintain a reasonable level of quality in education. There have also been pervasive and persistent failures in timely programme implementation leading to sub-optimal utilization of the resources provided.

Global Commitment:
The global Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) within the Agenda 2030 seeks to ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. The EFA agenda initiated in 2000 remains unfinished, particularly those relating to youth and adult illiterates, out-of-school children, low access to Early Childhood Care and Education, inadequate opportunities for skill development and unsatisfactory quality of education and student learning levels. The NEP will, therefore, pursue both the unfinished EFA agenda and the targets associated with SDG4.

The challenges being faced by the education sector call for innovative approaches and sustained efforts to foster education development in general, and quality education, in particular without compromising on access and equity. The main thrust will be to devise effective strategies to address the divergent challenges for the growth of education in India and realizing the potential of the country’s ‘demographic dividend’.