A report released by the Human Resource Development Minister on the education imparted to children above the age of six years to fourteen years in rural areas is not only disappointing but also raises serious concerns about the education system in the country. The report stated that the basic reading levels showed a decline in many states across north India. More appalling is that the students of Class are unable to solve simple mathematical equations. This clearly indicates that the state governments are not serious towards their basic responsibilities. The increase in the percentage of admission of students in rural areas to 96 percent is marred by their low level of attendance and poor standard of education. There is no concerted effort on the part of the government to improve the education system. A befitting example is parents giving preference to private schools. It is nothing less than a mockery if children below fourteen years of age are depending on tuitions. In a country where primary education is in shambles and students are forced to take tuitions, we cannot be confident about its future. With private schools mushrooming in rural areas and students rushing to get admitted proves that the state governments have failed to realise that quality education is the first step towards building a strong nation.
The state governments have been complaining about their rights and pinning blame on the Centre but today their seriousness on strengthening the education system is under cloud. There is nothing wrong in Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal’s statement asking the state governments to realise their responsibilities towards providing better education. There are numerous examples to indicate lack of seriousness of the state governments in improving education. There is scarcity of teachers in many states due to which they are hiring them on contract basis. Inspite of the fact that the Right to Education for students between six to fourteen years has become a law, many states are yet to issue notification in this regard. It is not surprising that the standard of education in South India is far better as compared to the northern states. If the state governments hold a similar attitude with regards to elementary education, this shows they are not willing to understand the injustice being done to the young generation of the country. The Centre cannot wash its hand off the matter just by pinning blame on the state governments. If it is serious in improving the education system of the country, concrete steps need to be taken urgently.