Big Ideas for India Contest: Question 10: How do we change the functioning of the education sector?

No social sector has been harmed by the government’s action as much as education. Near complete control of the sector coupled with a disregard for the quality of education has set India back substantially in the development process. Manufacturing needs an educated workforce. Neither is India getting education, and nor are people getting the right kind of jobs.

One could argue that literacy in India is now reaching 74%. That is only happening because the bar for considering a person literate has been lowered substantially through the years. In reality, a large percentage of fifth grade kids don’t even have the skills that an educated second standard kid should have. This early deficiency ends up continuing through life.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have so-called graduates who are unable to get jobs because the skills needed by employers are missing. And yet, a parallel coaching class industry sucks away tens of thousands of crores as parents spend to get their children into the limited number of seats in engineering and medical colleges.

If there is one sector that needs a complete transformation, it is education. The question is: where do we begin? What are the set of changes that are needed to radically overhaul India’s education sector to ensure the demographic dividend?

Contest Overview.