What are the major problems faced by the Secondary Education in India? Write down its possible solutions.

1) Different committees and commissions before and after independence have mentioned various aims of secondary education. But secondary educational institutions in practice do not try to materialise those aims. The so-called aims are practically paper-aims. During pre- independence days the only aim of secondary education was to secure white-collar jobs, this is no doubt a very narrow aim.

Even secondary education is not complete by itself. It is a stepping-stone for admis­sions in colleges and universities. Secondary education is thus re­garded as a passport for higher education. Hence the main defect of secondary education is its aimlessness. Secondary education must have definite aims related to practical life and the secondary schools should try to realise those aims in every possible manner.

2) Secondary education is theoretical, bookish, narrowly conceived and unpractical. It creates social misfits and does not fulfill the needs of life. It is not life-centred. It should not increase unemploy­ment and should help to produce able, self-dependent and patriotic citizens.

The current secondary education has aggravated the un­employment problem. Therefore we have to make our secondary ed­ucation so useful that the students having passed this stage do not run only for admission to universities and unemployment does not increase and they become economically independent by having acquired some vocational skills of productive nature acquired some vocational skills of productive nature.

3). The present secondary education is not related to productivity. In most of the western countries secondary education is highly related to productivity. But this is not so in our country. Secondary education in India does not help to augment national production both in agricultural as well as in industrial. Both the Mudaliar Commis­sion (1952-53) and the Kothari Commission (1964-66) strongly rec­ommended for making secondary education productive. But this has not been achieved at the desired level. The schemes of core peri­phery and work experience have failed miserably and the plus- two stage has not yet been vocationalised as propose.

4) The secondary education in our country is not helpful for economic development of the nation and rapid social transformation. No man-power training is possible in the present set-up of secondary education in India. Secondary education must prepare an adolescent for India’s technical and industrial growth though proper utiliza­tion of the natural resources.

5) In the present system of secondary education there is little scope for total development of personality or individuality which is the avowed aim of education in all ages and in all countries. Adoles­cent stage which covers secondary education is the proper stage for such development. India now requires men of glorified and sublime personalities and not men of timid characters. Secondary education has a role to play in this regard.

6) There is little scope for character training in the present system of secondary education. Character is the crown of life. Value educa­tion is essential for character training but our secondary education does not attach much importance to education for values such as toleration, cooperation, fellow-feeling, truthfulness, modesty, re­spect to teachers or elders, spirit of self-respect, faith in national cultural tradition, secularism etc. Since independence our society is confronted with crisis of character and rapid erosion of eternal val­ues.

The secondary school stage is the suitable stage for the cultiva­tion of those values. Our main purpose is to produce youths of char­acter. Our education has not only to impart bookish knowledge but to give such a knowledge which may contribute to personal, social and national prosperity. We want all-round development of our children-physical, mental, moral, spiritual etc.

7) Secondary education also does not provide opportunities for leader­ship training. Students are the future leaders in different walks of our national life and as such their traits of leadership should be cultivated when they are young and sensitive enough. Secondary stage can be regarded as the breeding ground for leadership train­ing. Organisation of and participation in co-curricular activities can help in this regard to a great extent.

8) The present secondary education in our country is not congenial to effective, democratic and productive citizenship which is the need of the hour. We need able, dutiful and self-dedicated citizens for making our infant democracy a success, who are imbued with the spirit of intelligent patriotism contributing to the rapid prosperity of the country. Our secondary education does not help to develop ci­vic sense in children and to shoulder gallantly multifarious civic duties and responsibilities. Independent India requires citizens trained in democratic values of life and citizenship.

9) Development of social efficiency is not possible in the present set­up of secondary education in our country. Every individual has a so­cial self. For an integrated personality development of this social self is essential which is neglected by our secondary education. There is also close relationship between education and society. If social aspect of education is neglected no society can prosper and at­tain the desired growth.

10) Man cannot live by bread alone. He wants something more which is nothing but culture. But education and culture are not synonymous. Culture is more than education. Still education forms the basis of culture and develops the cultural potentiality of an individual. National cultural regeneration is not possible without cultural re­generation of the individual. Secondary education should enrich our traditional culture-pattern and imbibe new cultural ingredients from other countries.

11) Secondary education today neglects co-curricular activities. Mere curricular activities cannot help to develop all round personality of an individual. Here lies the need of organisation of a co- curricular activities.

12) Physical education is not emphasised by the present system of sec­ondary education in our country. Today we need Spartan outlook. Human beings are essentially psycho-physical in nature. National security depends to a large extent on its able bodied citizens. Sound mind is not possible without sound body. Swami Vivekananda greatly emphasised physical education. “We can reach God even through football”, Swamiji remarked. Most of the secondary schools of our country possess minimum facilities for physical edu­cation. Many of them have no play-grounds. This is particularly true in cities where the students play in the streets. 60% of secon­dary students suffer from malnutrition. However, new Education Policy (1986) has emphasised physical education.

13) Many secondary schools still suffer from the inadequate number of able and trained teachers. Training is a pre-requisite condition for successful teaching and professional growth. Able and suitable teachers are also not available everywhere particularly in rural Areas.

Our secondary teachers’ training programme is also faulty and has made the problem crucial. Teachers should be trained in basic and vocational curriculum also. Teachers are like the spinal chord of the school. The school cannot function well if the teachers are inefficient and inadequate in number. Today the schools have few able teachers. Now we need urgently vocationally trained teachers to make the scheme of vocationalization of secondary ed­ucation a success.

Still many secondary teachers are untrained. Dearth of efficient and properly trained teachers is a peculiar fea­ture of present-day secondary schools. The teaching profession do not attract talented students. Conditions of work and service of teachers should be improved. Private tuition by teachers should also be discouraged.

14) The curriculum poses a great problem in the field of secondary education. It is difficult to have an universally accepted curriculum because the needs of one state differ from the others. Our country is a multi-lingual and multi-religious country. The NCERT and the All India Council for Secondary Education are trying to forge out a universally accepted curriculum.

In recent years the Secondary School Curriculum is almost uniform with some variations according to local needs. Inspite of this there are some inherent defects in the curriculum. Both the Mudaliar and Kothan Commissions made some fruitful suggestions to make the secondary- school curriculum up-to-date and useful.

But these have not produced the desired results. Many defects still persist in the curriculum and new defects have appeared. It does not properly reflect the needs of the individual as well as the society. It is narrowly conceived and is largely of unilateral character. There is not sufficient variety and elasticity.

It is theoretical bookish unpractical and not life-centred. “The education imparted in most secondary schools is, generally speaking, of the academic type leading at the end of the school course to university admission rather than entry into a vocation”. The curriculum is heavy and overloaded particularly at the plus-two stage.

The curriculum still lays great emphasis on the acquisition of the knowledge and comparatively little on the building up of those skills, aptitudes, values and interests which are essential for the full development of the student personality”. There is little scope for vocational training which is essential for rapid economic development, proper utilization of natural and human resources of the country.

15) The curriculum has intimate connection with the method of teach­ing. The method followed by most of the secondary teachers is ste­reotyped, obsolete and un-psychological. Modern activity-centred methods are not applied by the teachers. Many of them are not fa­miliar with these methods and as such they fail to attract the at­tention tension of the students.

As a result the lessons become unproductive and the effects are far from satisfactory. There are practical diffi­culties also in way of applying modem methods of teaching in our school situations. Many schools are not properly equipped with la­boratory and library facilities, necessary teaching aids and appli­ances.

Most of the secondary schools are over-crowded, ill-staffed and suffer from inadequate number of teachers and accommodation. The average teacher-pupil ratio is 1: 50. But for effective arid creative teaching it should be 1: 30. There is little scope for tutori­al work. No fruitful teaching is possible without personal contact between the teacher and the taught.

16) Next comes the problem of text-books which is also intimately connected with the problem of curriculum and methodology of teaching. Many students suffer from want of text-books which are very costly. Text-books are often changed. This has added fuel to the fire. 45% of the population in our country lives below the subsistence level. It is not possible for them to purchase text-books for their children and to supply necessary stationery needed for educational purposes.

They cannot bear other educational expenses of their wards. It might have been better if text-books could be supplied free of cost. In many socialistic as well as capitalistic countries text books are supplied free of cost upto secondary level. But our educational system has not yet been nationalised and the budgetary provision for education is very scanty. It is only 2½ %. Under the circumstances, the Govt. should give financial assistance to the private publishers so that the prices of text-books may be kept at reasonable level. Due to competition the private publishers also will be forced to maintain the reasonable quality or standard.

17) The entire system of education is vitiated by examination. The educational achievements of students are measured by the single measuring rod known as examination. The prevailing essay-type examination dominates the educational arena. But it has developed a large number of defects and as such it is no longer regarded as the only measuring rod for determining the academic achievements of students.

The main charge against the essay-type examination is that it is vitiated by subjectivity. For this reason, along with essay-type examination which has its own intrinsic merits objective type tests and short-answer type tests have been introduced. But the latter two are not entirely free from defects.

It is true that these have improved the examination process and made the system more scientific and reliable. We cannot reject the essay type examination altogether. But it should be reformed in the desired channels. Some reforms are needed after careful thinking and a good deal of research.

The Radhakrishna Commission, the Hartog Committee, the Mudaliar Commission and the Kothari Commission all have made important recommendations and observations in respect to examination reform. Many of these have been put into operation and still many are under consideration. External examination alone should not be accepted as a tool for measuring the academic achievements of students.

Internal evaluation throughout the year by the internal teachers should also be used for examining the students. Bi-weekly or monthly tests of the students should also be considered for assessing their academic achievements. Instead of percentile marks abilities of students should be measured in grades. For this purpose a five point scale (A, B, C, D, E) may be used. Along with essay type questions at least 30 percent of the total marks should be assigned to objective tests.

18) Many secondary schools suffer from inadequate finance. Our educa­tional system has not yet been nationalised. But public and private sectors run side by side. Most of the secondary schools are under pri­vate sector. Government schools are very few. The schools run by private sector have always to face the problem of inadequate funds.

For running of the schools they have to look for the Govt. grants which are very meagre and paid irregularly. As a result pri­vate aided schools cannot maintain proper standard. Teachers are not paid regularly and disgruntled teachers cannot act properly. Neither have they had good school buildings nor good teachers and suitable teaching materials. Both the Govt. and the public should co-operate with each other for organising the necessary funds for the schools.

19) The teacher-training programmes in our country are inadequate and far from satisfactory. Teaching is a difficult task. It is an art. Only academic degrees cannot make one an able and ideal teacher. Teaching is not only a profession; it is also a mission. Dedicated teachers are now-a-days very few. Training is essential for every teacher. Still many secondary teachers are untrained.

Number of training institutions is limited. It is very difficult to get admission in training colleges. Existing institutions are overloaded. The peri­od of training is also too short. It is ten to eleven months. At the sec­ondary level it should be at least two years. The most objectionable part of the training programme is the conducting of the practice teaching.

Above all what the teachers learn during training period they can not apply it after going back to their respective schools. So training remains as paper-training. For professional growth and efficiency there should be adequate arrangements for in service training programmes during puja or summer vacations through the organisation of refresher course, short intensive course, workshop, seminar, conference etc.

20) The administration of the secondary schools does not appear to be efficient. Education administration in India is a three-tier process – Central, Slate and district. Secondary education is for all practical purposes under the control of the State Govts. though the Central Govt. formulates general policy and guidelines applicable all over the country uniformly. But there is a dual administration over secondary schools in each state – the Department of Education and the State Board of Secondary Education.

The Board determines the nature of the curriculum, text books and conducts examinations. The Department formulates general policies, allocates funds and takes measures for professional efficiency and training of teachers. Because of this dual control the secondary schools are not achiev­ing their purposes, because of lack of harmony and co-ordination between the officers of these two controlling units.

In fact, there should be a mutual cooperation between the two for achieving the objectives of secondary education. Unusual delay takes place in taking important decisions and in disposing files. Red-tapism is the order of the day. Due to ill decisions or delay in decisions schools and their teachers had to suffer tremendous financial hardships.

At least 25,000 litigations are pending in West Bengal. These cases should be disposed of at an early date in the interest of education irrespective of political affiliation of teachers. Supervi­sion is a part of administration. Secondary schools are not properly supervised by school inspectors. Inspection is almost a far cry in the field of secondary education. There are different graded Govt. In­spectors, but the number of inspectors is not sufficient.

The inspec­tors are so busy with their files in their offices that they get little time for supervision and inspection of schools under their charge. Moreover, the attitude of the inspectors in respect of teachers is be­low the norm. Their attitude appears to be that of a master. But they should know that they are co-partners of teachers. Their at­titude should be democratic and they should try to solve the diffi­culties of the teachers and problems of the schools.

21) Many schools suffer from an atmosphere of indiscipline and non- academic activities. This is mainly due to the influence of politi­cal parties. Almost every political party has a student wing and it very often interferes with the day to day administration of schools. This is not desirable in the interest of smooth running of school administration and maintaining academic atmosphere in schools.

It is true that sometimes school management takes wrong decisions and makes delay in taking decisions which aggravate the situation. All litigations and problems should be solved through discussions round the table. Probably for maintaining proper academic tone in educational institutions the National Edu­cation Policy, 1986 has proposed depoliticisation of education. The proposal is welcomed from academic point of view.

22) The education imparted in secondary schools is not psychologically sound as it does not provide ample opportunities to the students to receive education according to their abilities, interests and apti­tudes It is not based on the pedagogical concept of individual dif­ferences. It does not fulfill the needs and aspirations of adolescent children. The only remedy to this situation is the introduction of varied and diversified curriculum in secondary schools.

23) Since independence the growth of secondary education is tremen­dous. The demand for secondary education has increased to a large extent because it is now regarded as the minimum level of education for an individual. Still all the students between the age group 14 – 18 are not provided with opportunities for having secondary educa­tion.

All who have completed elementary education are not getting admissions because of dearth of accommodation. The only solution to this pressing problem is “open door policy” in respect of admis­sion in secondary schools. Admission should not be selective up to Class X. More schools should be set up. More expansion is needed but surely not at the cost of qualitative improvement.

24) Secondary education has not yet been nationalised. It is still a privilege in the hands of a certain sections of population. This is extremely regrettable. Secondary schools differ in their standards. There are thousands of sub-standard schools in the country. Due to financial difficulties many students are deprived of secondary edu­cation.

Secondary education is not even free throughout India. Boys enjoy more educational privileges than girls. Educational privileg­es are far better in cities than in villages. This situation should be ameliorated by providing equal opportunities of education to all children reading in secondary schools irrespective of caste, creed, sex, social and economic status. This is possible only through na­tionalisation of education.

25) Since independence quality of secondary education has suffered a set-back. This is caused by various reasons such as paucity of funds want of suitable equipment’s, ever increasing pressure on enrolment, dearth of able and dedicated teachers and faulty planning. There is large number of sub-standard secondary schools in the country.

A good number of superfluous schools also exist. Many schools are devoid of minimum infrastructural provision. Secondary education is still the weakest link in our educational chain. Wastage is mounting in secondary level also due to failures. Only qualitative improvement of secondary education can reduce this huge wastage. Quantity and quality should go hand in hand.
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