- On 15th August 2022, independent India will turn 75. In the lifespan of nations, India is still young. The best is surely yet to come. India’s youthful and aspirational population deserves a rapid transformation of the economy, which can deliver double-digit growth, jobs and prosperity to all.
- The purpose of this, ‘Strategy for New India @ 75’, is to define clear objectives for 2022-23 in a diverse range of 41 areas that recognize the progress already made; and challenges that remain; identify binding constraints in specific sectors; and suggest the way forward for achieving the stated objectives.
- The Strategy document has disaggregated the 41 sectors under four sections: drivers, infrastructure, inclusion, and governance.
- The first section on drivers focuses on the engines of economic performance – in macroeconomic terms with chapters on growth and employment.
- The section also discusses strategies for the doubling of farmers’ incomes; boosting Make in India; upgrading the science, technology and innovation ecosystem; and promoting sunrise sectors like fintech and tourism.
- An annual rate of growth of 9 per cent by 2022-23 is essential for generating sufficient jobs and achieving prosperity for all. Four key steps, among others, have been spelled out for achieving this GDP growth rate. These are:
a. Increase the investment rate as measured by gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) from present 29 per cent to 36 per cent of GDP by 2022. About half of this increase must come from public investment which is slated to increase from 4 per cent to 7 per cent of GDP. Government savings have to move into positive territory. This sharp increase in the investment-to-GDP ratio will require significantly higher resource mobilization efforts as elaborated in the chapter on Growth.
b. In agriculture, emphasis must shift to converting farmers to ‘agripreneurs’ by further expanding e-National Agriculture Markets (e-NAMs) and replacing the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act with the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (APLM) Act. The creation of a unified national market, a freer export regime and the abolition of the Essential Commodities Act are essential for boosting agricultural growth.
c. A strong push would be given to ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) techniques that reduce costs, improve land quality and increase farmers’ incomes. This is a tested method for putting environmental carbon back into the land. Therefore, ZBNF allows India to significantly contribute to reducing the global carbon footprint.
d. To ensure maximum employment creation, codification of labour laws must be completed and a massive effort must be made to upscale apprenticeships.
- The second section on infrastructure deals with the physical foundations of growth. A lot of progress has been made across all infrastructure sectors. This is crucial to enhancing the competitiveness of Indian business as also ensuring the citizens’ ease of living. Three key steps, among others, are:
a. Expediting the establishment of the Rail Development Authority (RDA), which is already approved. RDA will advise or make informed decisions on an integrated, transparent and dynamic pricing mechanism for the railways. Investment in railways will be ramped up, including by monetising existing railway assets.
b. The share of freight transported by coastal shipping and inland waterways will be doubled. Initially, viability gap funding will be provided until the infrastructure is fully developed. An IT-enabled platform would be developed for integrating different modes of transport and promoting multi-modal and digitised mobility.
c. With the completion of the Bharat Net programme in 2019, all 2.5 lakh gram panchayats will be digitally connected. In the next phase the last mile connectivity to the individual villages will be completed. The aim will be to deliver all government services at the state, district, and gram panchayat level digitally by 2022-23, thereby eliminating the digital divide.
- The section on inclusion deals with the urgent task of investing in the capabilities of all of India’s citizens. The three themes in this section revolve around the various dimensions of health, education and mainstreaming of traditionally marginalized sections of the population. While there are multiple dimensions and pathways contained in the chapters in this section, four key steps, among others, are:
a. Successfully implementing the Ayushman Bharat programme including the establishment of 150,000 health and wellness centres across the country, and rolling out the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan.
b. Upgrading the quality of the school education system and skills, including the creation of a new innovation ecosystem at the ground level by establishing at least 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs by 2020.
c. As already done in rural areas, affordable housing in urban areas will be given a huge push to improve workers’ living conditions and ensure equity while providing a strong impetus to economic growth.
d. Implementing strategies to achieve regional equity by focusing on the North-East region and successfully rolling out the Aspirational Districts Programme.
- The final section on governance delves deep into how the tasks/business of government can be streamlined and reformed to achieve better outcomes. It involves a sharp focus on ensuring accountability and a shift to performance-based evaluation.
- The government will revamp its data systems and analysis so that all policy interventions and decision-making are based on evidence and real-time data. This will yield efficient and
targeted delivery of services and justice to those who need them the most.
- Three key steps, among others, are:
a. Implementing the recommendations of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission as a prelude to appointing a successor for designing reforms in the changing context of emerging technologies and the growing complexity of the economy.
b. A new autonomous body, viz., the Arbitration Council of India, may be set up to grade arbitral institutions and accredit arbitrators to make the arbitration process cost-effective and speedy, and to pre-empt the need for court intervention.
c. The scope of the Swachh Bharat Mission may be expanded to cover initiatives for landfills, plastic waste and municipal waste and generating wealth from waste.
- To achieve the goals of New India in 2022-23, it is important for the private sector, civil society and even individuals to draw up their own strategies to complement and supplement the steps the government intends to take. With the available tools of 21st-century technology, it should be possible to truly create a mass movement for development. With the Sankalp of all Indians, India will have Siddhi.
Check out our previous blogs on the Strategy for New India at 75:
- Infrastructure- Water Resources
- Infrastructure- Sustainable Environment
- Inclusion- School Education
- Inclusion- Higher Education
There cannot be a quality education system without quality teachers. Therefore, a thorough revamp of the entire ecosystem of teacher education both at the school and college level is necessary. In this context, the objectives for 2022-23 include:
- Enforcing minimum teacher standards through rigorous teacher eligibility tests and criteria for the induction of teachers.
- Improving in-service teacher training system.
- Increasing teacher accountability for learning outcomes of students.
- Addressing the problem of teacher vacancies and teacher absenteeism.
The current institutional framework for teachers training consists of the following:
- The National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) is the regulator for teacher education in the country.
- NCTE has recognized 23,219 teacher-training institutes in the country. Around 90 per cent of these are privately run, of which 1,011 institutions are for training teacher-educators (M Ed). The intake of these teacher-training institutes was 17.58 lakh in 2016.
- The in-service training framework includes 592 District Institutes of Educational Training (DIETs), 112 Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs), 35 Institutes of Advanced Studies (IASEs) and 17 Block Institutes of Teacher Education (BITEs).
- The block resource centres (BRCs) and cluster resource centres (CRCs) form the lowest rung of institutions providing in-service training to schoolteachers.
- As per the Right to Education (RTE) Act, a teacher appointed in schools should have passed the teacher eligibility test (TET) conducted by the relevant government body. In institutions of higher education, passing the National Eligibility Test (NET)/State Level Eligibility test (SLET) has been the minimum eligibility criterion for teaching. While teacher education institutes churn out a large number of candidates with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in education, the quality of teacher education has not been assured. In 2015, only 13.53 per cent of candidates who sat for the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET) qualified.
- A primary reason for this is the inadequate accreditation and grading process followed by NCTE in the past. In 2017, NCTE initiated the process of collecting information from the institutes and grading them based on their learning outcomes. At the higher educational level, the pass percentage in the UGC-NET exams is also low, where only 6 per cent of candidates qualify. Besides, the quality of PhDs in several institutions does not rise to the required standard.
- In-service teacher training needs upgradation. While only about 20 per cent of school teachers are still professionally untrained, only 14.9 per cent of teachers received in-service training for elementary education in 2015-16 even though the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has a provision of 20 days of in-service training for all teachers.
- The BRCs and CRCs are primarily involved in administrative work and provide very little resource support to schools.
- In 2017, Section 23(2) of the RTE Act was amended to ensure that all teachers acquire minimum qualifications prescribed under the Act by March 31, 2019.
- To assess the performance and progress of teachers, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) had developed performance indicators (PINDICS) in 2013. Fourteen states have adopted or adapted the PINDICS and two more have initiated its implementation thus far. Teacher vacancies are also affecting the quality of education. Out of the total sanctioned posts of 51.03 lakhs, the number of working teachers is 42.03 lakhs, leading to vacancies of 9 lakh teachers in schools, of which 4.2 lakh teacher vacancies are in SSA schools. Thirty-three per cent of schools do not meet the pupil-teacher ratio. Ironically, despite the overall shortage of teachers, there are also 2.91 lakh surplus teachers across the country because of an imbalance in regional demand supply.
- Teacher attendance at schools is another issue of concern. A study shows that 25 percent of teachers were absent from school, and only half were teaching during an unannounced visit as part of a national representative sample survey of government primary schools in India.
- There is insufficient regulatory monitoring of teacher education institutions.
- Teacher eligibility tests in some states may not be adequately robust.
- There are inadequate in-service training programmes as well as a lack of public funding support.
- There is no robust system for balancing the demand for and supply of teachers at the regional or state level.
- There are limited accountability systems for teachers.
Strengthening the regulatory framework
- A committee should be set up to develop transparent/objective and rigorous criteria to recognize institutions. NCTE may assess institutions on these criteria and take steps to enforce them.
- In addition, the accreditation system developed should ensure the closure of fraudulent or dysfunctional teacher education institutions.
- Five to six teacher training institutions of eminence with an annual intake of 2000 students each need to be established.
Robust in-service teacher development
- In-service teacher professional development programmes should be redesigned with continuous progressive development through different modes such as early tenure coaching, peer-learning, resource centres, demonstration classes, sabbaticals for research/advanced studies, seminars, and visits to other institutions.
- The Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission for Teachers & Teaching, which seeks to “build a strong professional cadre of teachers by setting performance standards and creating top class institutional facilities for the professional development of teachers”, should be taken up in mission mode.
Accountability of teachers
- A national electronic teacher registry should be set up as part of the National Education Registry that has been proposed in the section on school education. The entire educational profile of each teacher aspirant may be hosted in one section of this registry by all teacher-training institutions. This will be an electronic platform to bring together employers and job aspirants in this sector. All teachers should be listed on the National Educational Registry by 2020 while linking students to teachers.
- Performance Indicators (PINDICS), 2013, and the Quality Monitoring Tools of NCERT should be adopted or adapted by states/UTs. Universal monitoring of teachers’ competencies should be done using PINDICS or any such state-developed tool on an annual basis and uploaded on the National Electronic Teacher Registry. The salary increment of teachers should be linked to an assessment of their performance.
- States should test teachers tri-annually on the same test designed for the children they are teaching. It will ensure the competency of teachers in the subjects being taught by them.
- The Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) across states should be strengthened as per central TET: standardization of results, quality benchmarking of testing items and extending the TET for teachers at pre-school and classes 9-12 levels.
- The UGC-recognised NET/SLET should be continued as a minimum eligibility criterion for recruitment to Assistant Professor positions. States that currently do not conduct SLET should do so to enable the availability of a larger base of qualified candidates for faculty positions. Eligibility tests should ensure quality in selection.
Tackling teacher demand-supply imbalance
- Each state must develop a teacher-demand forecast model for all levels, starting from elementary to higher education. The surplus and deficiency can be aggregated at the national level and appropriate decisions taken on whether to set up new training institutions or provide leverage to existing ones to correct overall deficiencies.