Mains Topic – GS Paper III – Economy & Planning – Educational Policies
School Infrastructure in India
Recently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development (HRD) identified shortfalls in budgetary funding and utilisation, resulting in critical infrastructure gaps of Indian schools.
What is the issue?
- According to the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) 2017-18 survey cited by the parliamentary panel schools infrastructure in India has critical gaps.
- As per the report, only 56% of schools have electricity, with the lowest rates in Manipur and Madhya Pradesh, where less than 20% have access to power. Less than 57% of schools have playgrounds, including less than 30% of schools in Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir.
- Almost 40% of schools did not have a boundary wall, endangering the safety of students and school property.
- The parliamentary panel also slammed the government for its “dismal” rate of progress in building classrooms, labs and libraries to strengthen government higher secondary schools. Out of 2,613 sanctioned projects for 2019-20, only three had been completed in the first nine months of the financial year, said the panel, warning that such delays would alienate students from government schools.
- For the core Samagra Shiksha Scheme, the department had only spent 71% of revised estimates by December 31, 2019.
Why is Schools infrastructure important?
- Infrastructure has significant implications on learning outcomes and overall development of school children.
- Lack of access to power will have negate impacts on learning processes, including govt plans to implement digital tools for learning. It will also have impacts on comfortable environment for learning.
- Absence of playgrounds will leave no options for students to practice physical activities or any sort of extra-curricular activities.
- Absence of boundary wall affect safety of students and existing infrastructure of schools.
Suggestions made by the Panel
- The panel recommended that the HRD Ministry collaborate with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to construct boundary walls.
- It also recommended that HRD Ministry work with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to provide solar energy and other renewable energy sources so that schools have access to power.
Mains Topic – GS Paper II – Climate change
Recently, climate activist Ms. Licypriya Kangujam from Manipur lamented that Leaders do not believe climate change is real.
What is Climate Change?
Climate change is long term shift in weather patter which is largely caused by anthropogenic actions. Alternatively it is also termed as global warming as the current climate change is caused by a long term rise in average temperature of the earth’s climate system which is caused by emission of greenhouse gases such as Carbon dioxide and methane.
Why is it a concern?
- The effects of climate change is visible across the world in form of increased negative weather events such as cyclones, drought and floods.
- Climate change has drastic impacts on vital economic activities such as agriculture which can affect food security of the world.
- Other social impacts such as climate migration. Increase in world’s ocean level might result in flooding of human settlements in small islands of world’s oceans. Also agricultural communities across the world will be forced to migrate to other locations for alternate livelihood options.
Climate Mitigation Measures
- Paris Climate deal is one of the major initiatives with large participation of nations across the globe. Through this pact, nations make voluntary commitments to employ strategies such as reducing emission, shifting to renewable sources and increasing green cover to fight climate change.
- Faster shift to renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind. Conventional sources of energy are major causes of GHG emissions.
- Increasing green cover will create carbon sinks which can reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
Challenges to Climate Change Mitigation
- Climate sceptics such as political leaders.US president Donald trump has backed out of the Paris climate pact recently and has increased the capacity of coal-based power plants.
- Forest fires across the globe. Major fire events such as Amazon fires and Australian bush fires. They contribute to faster carbon emission as well as reducing green cover.
- Climate financing is a huge challenge as developed countries are reluctant to extend financial help to rest of the world to fight climate change.
- Increased climate awareness which will help in popular support on climate change policies.
- Participation of local governments to carry out activities such as green cover increase.
- Faster adoption of renewable energy sources.
Mains Topic – GS Paper III – Economy & Planning
Skill development in India
Recently Google India launched a Skill development Programme for Women in India.
Skill Development in India – Significance
- The economy is now diversifying from being largely agro-based to a manufacturing and service based economy.
- This has resulted in an increased demand for skilled labour.
- Much of India’s workforce is already hampered with outdated and irrelevant skills.
- As technology continues to surge forward, both blue- and white-collar jobs will become increasingly sparse.
- The government’s analysis says that by 2022, 24 sectors will need an additional 109 million skilled workers.
- Market-relevant skills are needed in today’s highly competitive job market.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data depicts skills shortage in India.
- India’s young and aspirational population has been regarded as the saviour and driver of future economic growth.
- The government launched the Skill India mission which aims to train over 400 million people in India in different skills by 2022.
- Various schemes have been launched to further the aim of skill development.
- The objective is to enable a large number of Indian youth to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
Concerns / Challenges
- The challenges faced by the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship (MSDE) are complex and varied.
- Herculean challenge of skilling 400 million young Indians by 2022.
- National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has been tasked with managing the financing processes while also implementing the skilling programmes.
- Though skill training has improved in recent years, the absence of job linkages is aggravating the problem of unemployment.
- Recent data shows that of the 30.67 lakh trained candidates in June 2017, only 2.9 lakh had received placement offers.
- With technological advancement, conventional jobs are squeezed.
- The bureaucratic red-tapism is hindering the interaction between the industry and the skilling institutions.
- Skilling programmes are the end point of employability creation. The education system is the primary incubator which is lacking in India.
- Ministry of finance must manage the financial aspects so that NSDC can focus on its core competencies.
- Multi-skilling programme is required. As job markets evolve at unprecedented rates, it is important to provide trainees with more than one way to earn a living.
- Skill training should be viewed as a complementary part of mainstream education