One of the fundamental rights of every Indian is the Right to Education. Government bodies of our country have worked towards making this right accessible to everyone.
As more Government schools opened across the country, students got an opportunity to attend schools and get educated. However, the big issue affecting the system was the quality of education and general students’ literacy. This issue is so apparent that parents are rejecting Government schools and opting for Affordable Private Schools.
So, what is different about the education system in these institutions?
The Current Landscape of Affordable Private Schools in Rural India
With the current state of government schools, the only hope for quality education and learning important life lessons is private schooling. That is for a good reason too.
Many private schools are taking proactive steps to introduce better practices in education and a student’s upbringing. School owners and trustees in rural areas show exceptional passion and desire to do something valuable for their communities and towns. The only problem is a lack of sufficient guidance.
Moreover, that isn’t the only challenge holding these schools back. Here are a few more:
Challenges Faced by Affordable Private School
A Lack of Well-Trained Teachers
Almost all highly qualified teachers opt for bigger cities for better pay and choose the city lifestyle. This pattern leaves teachers who are either underqualified or lack the motivation to teach.
In some unfortunate cases, there is a complete shortage of teachers. To cope with that, a single teacher teaches multiple subjects that are usually not in their domain of expertise.
Maintaining the affordability of these schools results in low funding for developing the schools. These institutions don’t really have the option to increase their fees, as the parents can’t afford it.
These private schools don’t have opportunities to attract investors either, as there aren’t many opportunities for profit. The only thing these schools rely on are charities and financial aid programs.
Poor Resources & Out-Dated Facilities
Circling back to the last point, a lack of decent funding will obviously result in poor resources like digital infrastructure, study labs, learning materials, etc., putting them back several years as technology advances fast, and staying behind will only make them more distant.
Even the basic facilities like classrooms are not adequate for the students. This hampers the overall learning experience and leads to incomplete development of the child.
No Efforts Towards Digital Literacy
In today’s day and age, digital literacy is just as crucial as learning regular subjects. Most fields of work revolve around technology or have a significant part of it. Also, digital literacy isn’t just about knowing how to operate a smartphone or a computer. It’s about knowing the intricacies of technology and its pros and cons.
The biggest differentiator between urban students and tier-2, tier-3 students is a lack of understanding of how to properly use technology and the internet.
Textbook Theoretical Teaching instead of Practical Hands-on Approach
Just having textbook knowledge and theoretical mugging is a problem that all students could face, regardless of whether they’re from rural or urban schools. Affordable Private Schools need to understand that just getting the students to memorize things and getting good marks on a test is not the right way to educate them.
Instead, they need to implement teaching methods like practical learning, design thinking, and other hands-on methods where the student can actually grasp all concepts.
Lesser Importance on Moral Values and Emotional Intelligence
Most modern educators and experts believe that students learn moral values and build their emotional intelligence from their schooling experience.
However, a majority of schools throw a blind eye towards it and ignore its importance by thinking that it is a parent’s responsibility. Which in reality, is only half the truth as the environment that a school creates shapes the student’s mentality, and socializing with others increases their EQ.
Is it Still Possible to Bridge the Gap Between Tier-2, Tier-3 Schools, and Urban Schools?
To see if it’s possible to bridge the gap between tier-2, tier-3 students, and urban students, we need to see exactly how much of a difference there is. If we take a look at the current environment that the urban students study in, we can see that they have far better resources and qualified teachers helping them. The general emphasis on the use of technology and blended learning is far greater than what you would find in a tier-2 or lower school. Urban students also have the added aspect of English speaking in classes and at home, improving their language comprehension. As the resources are lesser in the Affordable Private Schools of rural India, the teachers find it harder to explain the concepts and impart sufficient knowledge to their students. The constant face of failure and difficulty in teaching demotivates the teachers and they give up.
Now, the situation appears to be grim but in reality, there are specific actionable steps that schools can take to change the picture drastically. So yes, it is still possible to bridge the gap between these two contrasting student scenarios. Let’s see how exactly the schools can do so.
Solutions to Empower Affordable Private Schools from Rural India
1. Adding Affordable Digital Infrastructure
Buying and adding digital infrastructure like smart boards, projectors, and computers is an easy way to start the development. However, the lack of funding is not easily fixable. So, schools need to invest in cheaper digital infrastructure with modern education technology solutions.
This could include things like digital learning systems, ERP portals, etc. These things don’t need any dedicated computers or smartphones. Students can use their parents’ phones to access these apps and websites using the internet. This can be an easy win in terms of quality education delivery and administrative processes.
2. Improve Communication with Parents and Increase their Involvement in Schools
Parents taking an interest and participating in schools has a positive impact on a child’s mentality towards schooling. Affordable Private Schools can organize activities and programs where parents can volunteer or participate along with their children. A collaborative environment for the student’s learning will improve their academic growth and boost their morale.
Parental involvement in schools will also enable the student to feel a lot more comfortable in communicating their needs to parents as well as their teachers. They will also have an open mind about a lot of things like socializing with classmates, having better classroom behavior, etc.
3. Training Teachers to Increase their Competency
As the teachers are not qualified enough, they can’t teach the concepts with 100% effectiveness. Affordable Private Schools also can’t find new teachers who are skilled and willing to work in small villages and towns. So, the only option remaining here is improving the quality of teachers that are currently teaching at these schools.
For that, the school can work with organizations like Teach for India. The idea isn’t to teach them how to operate computers or how to use smart boards. Instead, the teachers must learn how to effectively communicate with the students and teach the concepts in a personalized way.
4. Using the Internet to Research New and Updated Study Materials
The textbooks and materials that some Affordable Private Schools use are outdated and need modern revamping. With the help of the internet, schools can search for better study materials like videos and animations to teach difficult concepts.
Along with the latest edition of textbooks, these internet-sourced materials can add another dimension to learning. Affordable Private Schools can even import modern quizzes and tests to aid in testing the knowledge of the student concerning specific topics. This is not just great for the students but also benefits the teachers by reducing their burden and making it easier for them to teach the concepts.
5. Implementing Practical Hands-On Learning
The traditional method of textbook teaching and mugging up the definitions is not an ideal way to learn for the students. It only leads to forgotten concepts and good grades with no knowledge of implementing the things they learn in real life.
A Hands-on approach can allow the students to understand the why behind each definition they learn. It also boosts their confidence when they easily grasp everything and feel motivated and enthusiastic while learning new things. This approach also benefits them later in life when they start working, as they’ll already have an understanding of the practical implications of the theory.
6. Co-Curricular and Social-Emotional Learning
It is important to learn all of the traditional subjects properly. But, there’s more to education than just academics. There are plenty of co-curricular things that a student can learn to build a career from their hobbies. An early focus on these things along with other subjects is important to give them a decent head start.
Apart from the co-curricular activities, the students also need social-emotional learning. Most of the social interactions that children have been in their schools. So, it’s a necessity for them to learn how to socialize properly. Even emotional intelligence development is important for the students to understand their emotions, manage them, and keep their emotional health in the best possible state.
What’s On the Horizon for Affordable Private Schools in Rural India?
As the times are changing, so are the people of rural India. With each passing day, every parent, teacher, and affordable private schools are understanding the importance of holistic development of every child.
After over 2 years since COVID struck India, the institutions are rebuilding their systems and bringing a new air of change. With government aid and other organizations working towards a better education system, the future of Affordable Private Schools in rural India looks safe and prosperous.