Latasinha's Weblog

Social and political Values and Systems in India.

Secondary school education system and Teenagers in India

“There is no requirement of atom bombs or long range missiles. Lowering the quality of educational system, is enough to destroy any nation.”

Education for All – In India, according to Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 instruct government schools to give admission to all children above six years of age. According to described in DRTE Rules 2011, “It is to be ensured that the student gets admission in a school within 14 working days from the date of the submission of application as per neighborhood criteria.”

Middle class and upper class people can afford financially to sent their wards in good private schools. But what about large number of children belonging to poor families? To educate their children, poor people solely depend on government schools, which are being blamed for the the quality of education, they impart.

More than quantity, success and effectiveness of Education system depends on the quality of education. At present, one of the root causes of increasing number of juvenile crimes is inability of the Government schools to give admission to all adolescent children in schools.

Most important period in student life – The most important time in student career is that of adolescents As far as education is concerned, Government of any nation needs to pay maximum attention to education of its teenagers/adolescents.

Adolescence is the time, when the minds of growing up children are in a formative stage. It is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development, that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood (age of majority}. It is the most creative, energetic and impressive age in human life also.

The government should pay the maximum attention to its Secondary education system. It is the most important period in students life when growing up children need the help and guidance to acquire knowledge and skills, increase understanding and develop positive attitude towards life.  The responsibility falls on secondary schools to facilitate the teenagers to learn, to develop power of observation and thought-process, mental and moral faculties, to acquire and apply their knowledge and skills and face the world of realities .

Secondary school the weakest link of Indian education system – However, Secondary school education is the weakest link of Indian education system, which allows a large number of teenagers/adolescent boys and girls out of school. It is not good for their personality development of in right direction.

Empty mind is devil’s workshop – There is a large number teenagers, who could not join schools, There can be any reason for it, bad company, poverty, lure for money, charm of consumerist world or peer pressure etc.  Such adolescents are very likely to develop negative mindset and fall in such a  company, that pushes them towards wrong path. Earning money without much effort to survive and create their own comfort zone becomes most important thing in life.  They spend all their energy to earn quick and easy money by hook or crook.

Migration from backward areas – There is many teenagers, who migrate from rural or backward areas in the hope of getting good education or an employment in cities. It is easier and more thrilling for them to join the  world of crimes and spend earn money by indulging in acts of extortion, stealing, snatching etc, which can make them rich overnight.

Without education, skill or essential qualification to get an employment, it is very difficult to earn enough money to survive in cities. They see day in and day out that through hard work and honest means, they won’t be able to get anything worthwhile. They realize after some time that they are destined to remain poor or unemployable throughout their life. Most of them work as unskilled daily-wagers and depend on small mercies of powerful persons in their surroundings.

Age criteria at the time of Admission denies ‘Right to education’ for all – Education department issues circulars from time to time to improve the quality and quantity of education in their respective areas. One such circular issued sets age criteria for admissions in government schools. It is about admissions under planned and unplanned admissions in government’s Primary and secondary schools in Delhi.

Admissions are usually done under planned and non-planned schemes. Under ‘Planned Scheme’, there is no problem of admission for students coming from primary feeder schools, whatever may be their age or eligibility knowledge-wise. However, under ‘Non-Planned Scheme’, one circular has been issued by GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL CAPITAL TERRITORY OF DELHI, Directorate of Education; School Branch, Old Secretariat: Delhi-110054, No. DE.23 (363)/Sch.Br./2016/1553, Dt. 19.09.2018. It fixes upper age limit criteria for admissions in government schools under non-plan admission. It denies ‘right to education’ to many teenagers. Many children are being denied admissions in government’s Primary and Secondary schools because of their being overage at the time admission as per the circular mentioned above.

Upper age criteria according to the circular – According to the above mentioned circular, appropriate age should be at the time of school admissions in primary and secondary schools on 31st March of the year 2018 is as follows –
Class 1  – Age 4+, but less than 5 years.
”      II –  Age 5+, but less than 6 years and so on and so forth.
For admissions in Secondary schools –
Class  VI –  10+, But less than 12 years,
,   ”      VII – 11+, But less than 13 years,
”       VIII – 12+, But Less than 14 Years.

According to this circular, only 6 months age relaxation can be given to an overage candidate seeking admission in a government’s secondary school. But Government does not mind giving age relaxation up to 10 years at the time of recruitment in Government jobs to backward sections of society (OBC, SC & ST candidates).

Is there any rationality in giving age-relaxation of only 6 months in education and when it comes to giving government-jobs and empowering weaker sections of society, the government can give the age relaxation up to 10 years?

The creamy layer of the Scheduled castes, Scheduled tribes  and Other Backward Castes take advantage of such circulars/government schemes in the name thousands of poor masses belonging to these sections of society. It neither improves the quality of education nor is good for the sustainable development of society and the nation as a whole.Government Circulars like this issued from time to time denies admission to poor, SC, & ST children in govt. schools. 

Upper-age limit criteria or such circulars or notifications are not beneficial for the sustainable development of continuously increasing large number of teenagers of the poor, rural and deprived sections of society, who start their education rather late, nor for the submerged sections of society, still remaining far away from the mainstream of the nation.

Open School system is not a viable alternative for the growing up children, who are still in their formative period of life. Initially Open School system was started for the illiterate or semi-literate working youth (who do not have enough time to join regular schools) to enhance their knowledge and skills and not for the over-age adolescent children belonging to poor, ST/ST or OBC sections of society.

Teenagers of all sections of society should be admitted in regular schools for their proper education and training. In regular schools, children remain busy throughout the day. They hardly get spare time to get trapped in bad company. Keeping them out of school does not serve the purpose.

Many social evils/burning problems are linked with Age -criteria – The system that allows  a large number of adolescent children remaining out of school throughout the day, like –

Quality of education –  Along with many other measure to be taken for providing quality of education to all its future citizens, the first step is to give admissions to students in different grades or classes should be on the basis of child’s ability to understand and grasp, what is being taught and level of knowledge one’s about ‘3 R’s’.
Increasing in the number of juvenile crimes – Mostly adolescent boys, and girls, who are not mature enough to take to take right decisions, get trapped in criminal or terrorists activities. Therefore, it is very necessary to keep them busy throughout the day in creative activities.
Reservations – Providing more than 50% reservations in government jobs thus instead of making youth self-dependent, government makes a large number people dependent on crutches forever.
Brain-drain – A large number of talented youth are either joining private sector helping rich to become richer or shift every year to foreign lands, in search of better working atmosphere, better career prospects and fatter salaries. 

Conclusion – Amongst all the challenges, the most crucial one is about improving the education system. Children of present day need to learn  independent thinking. Education system should not focus only on giving information and knowledge. Children of present day need to learn  independent thinking , but it also give importance to creativity, wisdom and experience as well.  To nip The negative feelings and criminal mindset needs in the bud, sound system of education and training is very necessary, which could keep the minds of the growing up children occupied throughout the day.
Weaknesses of secondary school system are neither good for the sustainable development of adolescent boys and girls of the poor and deprived sections of society, who start their education late, nor for society or the nation. To improve the quality of education, first thing to do is that eligibility criteria of for giving admissions in secondary schools in different grades or classes should be on the basis of child’s ability to understand and grasp, what is being taught and level of knowledge one’s about ‘3 R’s’ rather than his/her age.

Lata Sinha (A Research Scholar)

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