although the average pupil-teacher ratio seems to be close to what the Right to Education Act stipulates, many rural schools have adverse ratios. We have empirical evidence to show that such schools have little chance of achieving any kind of learning. To move teachers against their will to remote rural locations, the state leadership can institute a good strategy of supportive incentives. And finally, it is necessary to ensure the active participation of parents and community representatives in monitoring and publicly declaring the attendance and punctuality of teachers, so that it is the community that enforces accountability. These steps will actually get the graph off the floor; the long-term investment in teacher education and head teacher leadership will ensure that our schools not only do better, but that we have a system that can deliver sustained quality.
All these are not really alternatives, but imperatives if we want to build the society that we have promised ourselves through our Constitution and provide the education to our young people that we have committed to through several policy documents. At times of war, a nation finds the character and courage to gather itself and do things that make us feel proud of ourselves. The current scenario in education is such that we have no choice but to respond to it as a national emergency.
The writer is registrar and chief operating officer of Azim Premji University, Bangalore