PM rues state of primary education

PM rues state of primary education

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of education in schools and blamed “not up to the mark” teaching for  learning outcomes being far below expected standards.

He, however, noted that access to primary education was now “almost universal” across the country and the Centre’s flagship programme, Mid-day meal, had contributed to improved retention in schools.

“But, the standard of teachers and teaching is not up to the mark, and learning outcomes are far below what we want them to be. Drop-out rates in schools remain high after the elementary level. Some major concerns relating to equity also remain to be addressed,” he said in his address at the golden jubilee of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) here.

The Prime Minister’s concern regarding primary education comes a day after he made similar remarks about higher educational institutions, saying they were “simply” not up to the mark.

“Too many of them have simply not kept abreast with the rapid changes that have taken place in the world around us in recent years, still producing graduates in subjects that the job market no longer requires,” Singh had said while addressing a conference of central universities’ vice chancellors here on Tuesday.

Singh, however, appreciated the performance of the Kendriya Vidyalayas.  “They impart education to about 11 lakh children and employ more than 46,000 people. The organisation has discharged its responsibility of providing quality education to the children of transferable Central government employees with great distinction. Its journey of 50 years has indeed been a very rewarding one,” he said.

Beginning with 20 regimental schools at the time of its establishment in 1963, KVS now administers about 1,100 Kendriya Vidyalayas, spread all over the country.

The Prime Minister said that there was tremendous demand for additional Kendriya Vidyalayas in different parts of the country. “And admission into the existing schools is extremely competitive. This is a pointer to the high standards of teaching that the KVS system has maintained,” he said.

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