June 07, 2018
1 year

Repair can never substitute for prepare. In this context, fixing our school (learning) crisis is more important than fixing our skill crisis. Comment. (200 words)

Refer – Business Standard

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IAS Parliament 1 year


School education is very important for India, because,  

·        In the new world of work of automation and machine learning, the most important vocational skills are the basic ones (3Rs of reading, writing and arithmetic) or the very advanced ones (relationships, creativity, influencing, planning etc).

·        Repair can never substitute for prepare: It is difficult to teach people in six months what they should have learnt in 12 years.

·        Unlike China’s farm to non-farm transition which happened to factories, India’s transition is happening to service roles like sales, customer service and logistics where small differences in literacy and numeracy can lead to substantial wage premiums.

·        It is not possible to take jobs to people but possible to take people to jobs.

·        Migration outcomes are better if we take a solid school education to people before they migrate.

Problems of our school education

·        Most Class 8 students can’t do stuff of many grades below.

·        Our regulation is input focused (teacher salaries, teacher qualification, and class sizes) and confuses school buildings with building schools.

·        Our curriculum targets knowing rather than learning.


·        Recent World Bank report on learning offers a good template to think about the problem and solutions. It suggests three strategies –  

a)     assess learning and use the results to guide action

b)     act on evidence by using it to guide innovation and practice

c)      align actors to make the system work by tackling the political barriers to learning at scale

·        The Right to Education Act must be replaced with a Right to Learning Act that focuses on outcomes.

·        Our board exams need a curriculum that strikes the right balance between soft and hard skills.

·        We shouldn’t give up on government schools but give them governance that holds teachers to performance and outcomes.

·        Fixing skills will not happen without fixing our education system.