State of the Education Report (SOER) for India: UNESCO

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    Context 

    • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched its 2021 State of the Education Report (SOER) for India: “No Teachers, No Class”.  

    About State of the Education Report (SOER) for India

    • It is the annual flagship report of UNESCO and it is based on extensive research. 
    • This third edition focused on the theme of teachers, teaching and teacher education, underscores that the work of teaching is complex. 
    • It is largely based on analysis of Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) and the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) data.
    • It attempts to provide an understanding of key aspects of the teaching profession, provides a profile of the 9.6 million teaching workforce, as well the challenges of their intricate teaching routine and their professional development. 
    • The report aims to serve as a reference for enhancing the implementation of the NEP and towards the realization of the SDG.4 target 4c on teachers.

    Key Highlights of the report

    • Single-teacher schools in the country: There are nearly 1.2 lakh single-teacher schools in the country, of which an overwhelming 89 per cent are in rural areas
      • States with a high percentage of single-teacher schools include Arunachal Pradesh (18.22 per cent), Goa (16.08 per cent), Telangana (15.71 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (14.4 per cent), Jharkhand (13.81 per cent), Uttarakhand (13.64 per cent),
    • The gender ratio in professions is “overall balanced”, with women teachers accounting for 50 per cent of the total. 
      • However, there are inter-state, urban-rural imbalances.
      • The proportion of women teachers in rural locations is less than that in urban locations. 
        • In rural areas, 28 per cent of primary school teachers are women versus 63 per cent in urban areas. 
        • However, early childhood education teachers are predominantly women, and 88 per cent of them are in rural areas. At the secondary school level, 24 per cent of teachers in rural areas are women, versus 53 per cent in urban locations.”
    • Average salary: Based on PLFS data, the researchers also calculated that the average salary of private school teachers in the country (primary and secondary) is Rs 13,564, with rural private school teachers earning less at Rs 11,584. Women teachers in rural private schools earn an average of Rs 8212 per month.
    • Pandemic impact: The ongoing pandemic has drawn attention to the centrality of the profession and the importance of the quality of teaching. 
      • During this unprecedented health crisis, most teachers were found to have positive attitudes and beliefs about integrating technology in education, even though they perceived a lack of professional skills.  

    Recommendations

    • Improve the terms of employment of teachers in both public and private schools
    • Increase the number of teachers and improve working conditions in North-Eastern states, rural areas and ‘aspirational districts 
    • Recognize teachers as frontline workers 
    • Increase the number of physical education, music, art, vocational education, early childhood and special education teachers. 
    • Value the professional autonomy of teachers
    • Build teachers’ career pathways
    • Restructure pre-service professional development and strengthen curricular and pedagogical reform
    • Provide teachers with meaningful ICT training
    • Develop teaching governance through consultative processes, based on mutual accountability

    Conclusion 

    • The report concludes with a set of ten action-oriented recommendations to address the challenges facing the teaching profession in India, and thus help achieve the NEP 2020 vision and objective – “Ensuring a quality education for all in the country”. 

    United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

    • It was formed in 1945, is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris.
    • It works for achieving peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
    • It has 195 member states and ten associate members. India is a founding member of the organisation.

    Source: IE