During the 7th convocation of Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar (IIT-Gn) more than 320 students graduated from the institute and 47 of them were given awards for excellence in various categories. The chief guest of the convocation was Anu Aga, chairperson of the non- profit organization Teach for India (TFI) and she stressed on the need to invest in the teacher’s training for improving the quality of education in India.
She said, “The RTE Act focuses on inputs — having buildings, toilets — which is essential but that is not education. Quality of education does not depend on infrastructure. You can have a good school under a tree and learn a lot. At the same time, the quality of the education at a very fancy school can be bad. Focussing only on good infrastructure will not improve the quality of education.”
“The enrollment, thanks to RTE, has gone up a lot but quality of education has not improved because our teachers’ training institutes churn out really bad teachers. Teaching is not an aspirational profession. The majority of teachers are those who can not do anything better,” she said.
She further said that once a teacher joins the school, the schools do not invest further in the teachers to improve their skills and knowledge. “We have programs like District Institute of Education and Training (DIETs) but they are defunct. There are some good teachers in the system but nobody is investing in them. Training them is equally important. We do not make learning fun. If you make learning fun, children would love to come to municipal schools, where at present, students only come for midday meals,” Aga said.
She also spoke about the majority of parents sending their children to the English medium schools. She said that this is happening due to the government’s ignorance. “Parents want their children to be taught English so they spend a lot of money in sending their children to horrible private schools. These schools teach them neither Marathi, Hindi or English properly.”
She also urged the graduating students not to settle for the mediocrity in their education and careers.