Pune: The Central government needs to provide more funds for education, said Ved Prakash, former chairman of University Grants Commission (UGC), on the last day of the second National Teachers Congress (NTC) at the MIT World Peace University (MIT WPU) on Friday.
Several sessions on the last day of the meet were dedicated to understanding the education system and loopholes in it, where experts from their respective fields expressed their views.
“India spends 4.13 per cent of the GDP on education, of this only 0.8 per cent is spent on higher education. The planning commission report recommends at least 6 per cent of the GDP on education. In fact, going by the large number of institutions, students and teachers, 6 per cent is also not sufficient,” said Prakash.
He said, “Many students do not have access to higher education in India. There are many reasons for that. It may be norm-based funding or performance-based funding. Education is not just about going to school and getting a degree. It's about widening your knowledge.”
Satyapal Singh, Minister of State for Human Resource Development (Higher Education) said the country cannot progress without good teachers. “Over 75 per cent students in India cannot afford higher education. We need to create a system where education is affordable and accountable. We need to analyse learning outcomes and performance,” said Singh.
“Our contribution to knowledge in the world is not even one per cent. That’s worrisome. This is why teachers have to shoulder great responsibility and become good teachers by imbibing good thoughts in students to transform their mental attitude,” he said.
Bharat Ratna and eminent scientist CNR Rao, emphasised on empowering students from rural areas. He said, “There are many one-teacher schools in villages in India, which have scores of students taking education who are excited and motivated to learn. It is a teacher’s job to find a Newton or an Einstein among them.”
“India is facing a huge challenge of teaching students to be creative. Teachers must engage with students in a manner that they think creatively and teach them what is not there in the book,” said Rao.
Speaking about a lack of understanding among teachers with respect to subjects they teach, Rao said, “Ninety per cent of teachers in India do not understand what they teach. A majority of the teachers do not know enough. There is a dire need to change this and educate them to improve their quality of teaching. The most outstanding country in teaching today is Finland, followed by South Korea at No 2 while India does not even feature in the top 20.”