Even though India’s literacy rate has been growing, are we truly imparting the kind of education modern times demand, and to every Indian? The answer is ‘no’. There are a number of issues Indian education system is facing, and one is rural-urban gap. It appears little attention is being paid to the education system in rural India. According to ASER, about 50% students in 5th standard attending rural schools are not capable of reading a text meant for junior classes.
Lack of ample schools: Local transportation is a problem in rural India, and this assumes greater significance when it comes to education. At many places, good schools are outside the villages, and this can deter parents from sending their kids to such schools. Lack of affordable schools: As compared to urban areas, government schools are not as spread out in rural areas, and this can discourage parents to spend on their kids’ education.
Poor infrastructure: Most rural schools lack good infrastructure, including well-trained teachers. This leads to poor quality of education being imparted. Various studies have demonstrated a wide gap between rural and urban education. In urban areas, the number of schools per person is higher, as is the quality of education delivery—due to relative lack of infrastructure, including reliable electricity. Also, it has been seen that schools in rural India have numerous non-academic issues to deal with, including staff and infrastructure, and thus are not fully capable of focusing on student development.
We need new learning techniques for the betterment of rural education, and here technology can help—for example, electricity shortage can be met by, say, solar power. Also, we need to rethink education delivery in the face of existing challenges—there has to be more focus on conceptual learning and practical knowledge (going beyond the classroom).
The author is founder of Ritesh Rawal Foundation. Views are personal.