Competitive politics with promise of investment in critical areas is certain to benefit the nation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that 14,500 schools across the country will be developed and upgraded under the Pradhan Mantri Schools for Rising India (PM-SHRI) Yojana is a welcome move on the face of it but also raises some questions.
There will be focus on modern infrastructure, including the latest technology, smart classrooms, sports and more. As per the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) survey, 14 per cent schools in the country are yet to get an electricity connection; there are gaps to be filled in other segments, too. The government spending more money on education, especially in school education, is a big step towards prosperity. Kerala is one state which has invested heavily in school infrastructure: it has built more than 45,000 smart classrooms in 4,600-odd schools in the last five years. The result is that enrolment of students in government schools has gone up from previous years. The number the Prime Minister has talked of could be less compared with that of one state, but it may be taken as a first step.
Mr Modi talks of schools with a modern, transformational and holistic method of imparting education with an emphasis on a discovery-oriented, learning-centric way of teaching. The Prime Minister has reiterated that the spirit of the New Education Policy will guide the new schools. In the normal course, the basic approach to education follows the same pattern all over the nation, irrespective of infrastructure. It is important that the benefits of nuanced thought in education percolate to all students across streams.
Education and health seem to gain some focus in the national political arena, thanks to the inroads the Aam Aadmi Party has made in some states with its focus on the two sectors. Competitive politics with promise of investment in critical areas is certain to benefit the nation. Now, we shall wait if the government walks the talk.